Another sterling effort from quarterback Josh Allen, and a timely forced turnover by a former All-Pro, helped the Bills remain undefeated after defeating the Raiders in Las Vegas, 30-23. Allen, who suffered an injury scare near the ned of the first half, threw a pair of first-half touchdowns as Buffalo took a 17-13 halftime lead. With the Bills ahead 23-16 in the fourth quarter, Josh Norman’s forced fumble of Raiders tight end Darren Waller set up Devin Singletary’s touchdown run. The score was also set up by Allen’s 49-yard bomb to Stefon Diggs, who caught six passes for 115 yards.
The Raiders, 2-2 after winning their first two games, relied on three Daniel Carlson field goals that included a 54-yarder in the first quarter. Las Vegas finally hit pay dirt when David Carr found Jason Witten for a three-yard touchdown just before halftime. The score, Witten’s first as a Raider, was the 150th career touchdown pass for Carr, which tied him with Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Stabler for the franchise record. Carr eventually broke Stabler’s record when he hit Nelson Agholor for a seven-yard score with 1:23 left.
Buffalo’s defense came up with two turnovers and a turnover on downs on the Raiders’ next three possessions. The biggest play came when Norman stripped Waller, who led the Raiders with 88 yards on nine receptions. Las Vegas did make things somewhat interesting after Carr hit Agholor for his second touchdown pass of the game. The Bills iced the game, however, after receiving the ensuing onside kick.
Here’s a deeper look at how the Bills were able to remain atop the AFC East division.
Why the Bills won
Buffalo’s defense got three key defensive stops during the second half. And while it allowed the Raiders to put together several lengthy drives, the defense forced three Daniel Carlson field goals while holding the Raiders to just 2-of-4 red zone efficiency. The Bills also received big plays from Diggs, John Brown, Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley. Davis and Beasley each caught first-half touchdown passes, while Brown’s incredible 14-yard catch set up the Bills’ first score of the second half.
Why the Raiders lost
The Raiders, as they did a week ago in New England, lost the turnover ratio to the Bills, 2-0. The Raiders also struggled to get their running game going, as Josh Jacobs rushed for just 48 yards on 15 carries. Carr also had several misfires, including an overthrow of Zay Jones that would have extended a second-half drive. Defensively, Las Vegas allowed the Bills to convert on over 50% of their third down opportunities. They also failed to force a turnover after forcing just one during last week’s loss to the Patriots.
Norman’s forced fumble occurred with the Raiders down just six points with the ball inside the Bills’ 40-yard-line with 12:39 left. Three plays after Norman’s created turnover, the Bills were ahead by two touchdowns, as Allen and the Bills’ offense took full advantage.
Play of the game
While it didn’t receive as much attention as some other offseason acquisitions, the Bills’ trade for Diggs has paid major dividends over the first four weeks. Diggs, a two-time 1,000-yard receiver in Minnesota, made the game’s biggest play on Sunday, as his 49-yard catch set up the game-clinching score.
“I bided my time, and I was able to see [Waller] in the flat again … I know he always likes to get extra yardage, so when I went to knock the ball out, I struck it … Coach was saying, ‘Somebody make a play.’ I said, ‘I’ll make a play!’ Like having an old [Terrell Owens] mindset.” — Josh Norman on his forced fumble of Waller
Norman said Waller actually got the better of him on an earlier play, but the cornerback more than made up for it with his forced fumble.
Buffalo is scheduled to head to Tennessee to take on the also-undefeated Titans, who had their Week 4 game against Pittsburgh postponed due to the team’s COVID-19 outbreak. The Raiders will head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs, who are slated to host the Patriots on Monday night.
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