The Buffalo Bills came out of nowhere in Week 3, pulling off the biggest NFL upset in 23 years. The 17-point underdogs not only defeated but dominated the Minnesota Vikings, who entered 2018 as one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
As a matter of fact, the Bills didn’t even allow the Vikings to score until the 2:59 mark of the fourth quarter. Buffalo cruised to a 27-6 victory, picking up its first win of the season while handing Minnesota its first loss of the campaign.
So what was different about the Bills in Week 3? How were they able to beat the Vikings so emphatically, and on the road no less?
Most people are talking about the play of rookie quarterback Josh Allen, and for good reason. Allen made his second NFL start on Sunday and looked solid through the air, completing 15 of 22 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown.
But it was on the ground where Allen did his best work, amassing 39 yards and two TDs on 10 carries. He started Buffalo’s scoring with a 10-yard scamper less than two minutes into the contest and added a 1-yard keeper for a score in the second quarter.
As for Allen’s lone TD pass, it came on a 26-yard strike to rookie tight end Jason Croom with 5:09 left in the opening quarter. The pass was the No. 7 overall draft pick’s second career TD pass to go against the two interceptions he threw against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2.
After the game, Allen had the following to say via the Associated Press:
“This is a tough place to play. That’s a good Vikings defense. It just solidifies the trust that I have in my teammates.”
The question is, what can we expect for an encore when Allen and the Bills visit the Green Bay Packers in Week 4?
Another tough road game, for one. Green Bay’s Lambeau Field is one of the hardest places to play, not just in the NFL, but all of sports.
We can also expect the Packers to score more than six points. After all, Aaron Rodgers is Green Bay’s quarterback and for as good a player as Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins is, he’s no Aaron Rodgers.
Hobbled or not, Rodgers is a much more difficult player to defend against than Cousins. So don’t expect the Bills to hold him to a single score.
But that has to do with the Bills’ defense, and we’re focusing on what we can expect from Allen this week. To that, I would tell Buffalo fans not to get their hopes up.
Yes, Allen looked great against the Vikings. But he didn’t look so great in previous games, so one strong performance isn’t enough for me to say that he will duplicate it against the Packers.
No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield looked phenomenal in his Cleveland Browns debut, but even he has yet to prove that he can do it on a weekly basis. My belief is that he will continue to perform at a high level, but it’s honestly anybody’s guess. I mean, it was the New York Jets the Browns defeated, not the New England Patriots.
As for Allen, I’m not saying that the win over the Vikings wasn’t impressive. It absolutely was. Like he said, Minnesota’s defense is no joke. But upsets happen all the time in the NFL. Thus, the Bills could begin to turn the corner following this win, or they could fall back into obscurity.
I do think the Bills will win again in 2018, though. Based on what we’ve seen from them thus far, I definitely feel that there are some winnable games left on their schedule (including two matchups with the Jets, who have their own rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold).
All I’m saying is, the jury’s still out on the Bills and it’s definitely still out on Allen. He shows a lot of promise, but it is just one win, albeit over a tough Vikings squad. So let’s not anoint him the next Jim Kelly just yet.
But if Allen somehow manages to defeat the Packers, watch out. That could be a real eye-opener.