The Buffalo Bills entered their Week 4 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens looking to rebound after a tough loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. They ran 90 plays and controlled the ball for over 40 minutes, yet lost 21-19 to their division rival. Now, they had to go on the road and face Lamar Jackson in a rainstorm. Remnants of Hurricane Ian were hitting Baltimore Sunday. You knew it was not going to be easy, but I don’t think many people thought the game would play out the way it did.
The Bills dug themselves into a huge deficit, trailing 20-3 late in the first half. The offense was struggling and the Bills had turned the ball over twice. It could very easily have gone sideways. Instead, Buffalo showed some character in the comeback victory. Josh Allen played extremely well once again and the Bills improved to 3-1.
Here are the Bills 3 Key Takeaways from their Week 4 win over the Ravens.
3. Bills defense is as advertised
A couple of weeks ago, the Bills were decimated by injury on defense. They lost Pro Bowl safety Micah Hyde for the season. They were down five defensive starters for the game vs. the Dolphins. Miami was held to just over 200 yards of offense. Then going into this game against the Ravens, both defensive tackles, Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips were ruled out.
Yet, the Bills held Jackson to just 144 yards passing. They did a great job limiting big plays, which is the marquis of the Ravens offense this year. Yes, Jackson rushed for a team-high 73 yards, but the Bills did a great job of keeping everything in front of them. The Ravens QB entered this game on a nearly historic pace scoring touchdowns. On Sunday, he doubled his interception total, throwing two.
In total, they held the vaunted Ravens offense to just 296 total yards. Even though they won’t get Hyde back this year, if they are healthy everywhere else, this defense will continue to dominate opposing offenses.
The battles between these teams in the future should continue to be a lot of fun.
“I’m looking forward to our battles for a long time. He’s a special player.”
Josh Allen had nothing but love for Lamar Jackson after Sunday's game.
🎤 @EvanWashburn pic.twitter.com/nMOEMHkHRl
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) October 2, 2022
2. Bills show they are capable of winning close game
The Buffalo Bills have been criticized for their inability to win close games. In fact, they were 0-6 last season on one score games and lost the only one this season to the Dolphins. One of the biggest reasons for this has been the Bills’ inability to run the ball in short-yardage situations.
Early on Sunday, it appeared like that was going to prove costly again. Both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss failed to convert on 3rd and short situations as the Ravens built their lead. However, as the game progressed, the Bills started running the ball better and better.
Singletary finished with 49 yards rushing on just 11 carries. But of course, the team’s most effective rusher was once again Josh Allen. Allen ran for a team-high 70 yards on 11 carries. Time after time in big-time situations, Allen made a big play with his legs.
After tying the game 20-20, the Ravens went on a very long drive in the fourth quarter. It ended though with a Jackson interception in the end zone. That set the stage for Allen and the Bills to finally win a close game. They drove down, killed all four minutes remaining on the clock, and kicker Tyler Bass nailed a 21-yard field goal as time expired.
It was perfect clock management and textbook how you close out a game. The Bills really needed that.
1. Josh Allen is the front runner for NFL MVP
This was a huge game for a number of reasons for Buffalo. For one, the Ravens could very well be a team that the Bills will face come the playoffs. Were that to happen, this result increases the likelihood that the game would be played in Orchard Park and not Baltimore. But more importantly, they proved to themselves they can win a close game. They did so in inclement weather also, which is significant.
If the Bills end up as the top seed in the AFC, home games in Buffalo in January will likely look like this one.
One of the reasons Josh Allen was taken as high as he was by Buffalo was his arm strength. In order to play well in inclement weather, you usually need a quarterback that can throw the ball in the wind, snow or rain. Allen played college football at Wyoming, so it’s certainly something he is used to.
On Sunday, Allen made a number of big plays both with his legs and his arm. He threw for a touchdown pass and 213 yards. But his third down conversions were crucial. Entering this game, he and Lamar Jackson were considered the NFL MVP front runners. After this game, only Allen is left standing. That can obviously change but through four weeks, Allen is the leader.