Bills give NFL's best all they could handle

December 08, 2019 - 6:48 pm

That was quite the fight. The Bills moved up into the heavyweight class in their game with Baltimore and while they did not get the result they wanted, they went toe to toe with the number one contender right now. In a nutshell, the Bills defense played great against the most explosive offense in the league. But the Bills offense couldn't make enough plays against a stout Ravens defense. Some of that was due to Baltimore but some of it were self inflicted wounds. In some ways this game might have reminded you of the October loss to New England. The Bills were playing perhaps the best team in the league(at least we thought that at the time) and the defense was more than up to the challenge. But the offense wasn't able to make enough plays, (lost quarterback Josh Allen in the second half) and the Bills lost by six points.

Despite the loss I think this game should leave with you a couple of thoughts. One, the Bills won't have any trouble winning at least one more game which should be enough to get them in the playoffs. This Bills team is good enough to go on the road in the wild card round and win a game.

Allen ended the day 17-39 for just 146 yards. He was sacked six times and lost one fumble. Baltimore's secondary, one of the best in the league, was outstanding in coverage with all of those blitzes. John Brown didn't have any receiving yards in the first half and was limited for 26 on three catches for the day. Beasley had 29 yards on four grabs. Bills receivers were targeted 24 times and combined for 10 catches and 80 yards. The Bills has just 209 total yards and were just 4-17 on third down. They faced third and eight or longer on nine occasions and did not convert a single time.

His teammates also left plays on the field. Rookie tight end Dawson Knox dropped a third and eight pass from Allen that would have given the Bills a first down inside the Baltimore 20 yard line early in the third quarter. The Bills had to kick a field goal after that which pulled them within eight points. On the Bills next possession, a third and five pass went through the hands of Cole Beasley. A catch would have given the Bills a first down near midfield.

As for the Bills offense, it did next to nothing in the first half, came alive in the second half but left too many plays on the field. In a one possession game, that made a big difference. The Bills knew the Ravens love to blitz but their protection was shaky leaving Allen under pressure and running for his life way too much. Allen has to take some of the blame as well because he couldn't make enough throws to make them pay for all of the blitzes. Allen's biggest problem of his second season was very evident again as he repeatedly missed on deep throws when receivers had gotten separation. In fact, Allen missed an open target once on each of the first three drives. On the Bills first possession an accurate pass to John Brown might have produced a touchdown.

* Baltimore scored 24 points(they average 33)
* 257 total yards(average 420)
* 118 yards rushing(average 207)
* 3.6 yards per carry(average 5.6)
* 27% 3rd down conversions(average 48%)
* 7 punts(season high for punts in a game was 3)

The defense put together one of the best showings by any team against Lamar Jackson and company this season. They kept one of the favorites for the Most Valuable Player award in check. A busted coverage on a 61 yard touchdown pass in the third quarter was one of very few mistakes from Leslie Frazier's group. Jackson threw for just 145 yards and ran for only 40 on 11 carries. Here are some of the numbers that will show you just how impressive the defense was in this game:

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