OPINION: Bills rule the AFC East

After 25 years of waiting, the Buffalo Bills are, once again, champions of the division

2020 will go down as a year we’d all like to forget.

Except for the Buffalo Bills portion.

The best Bills team in the last 25 years continued its magical season on Saturday, and gave Bills fans young and old a reason to party (in a socially distant kind of way) by cruising to an AFC East title clinching romp, 48-19, over the Denver Broncos.

What a great way to wrap up the first non-New England Patriots, AFC East division championship since 2008 with a stress free game.

Josh Allen and the Bills passing offense were just too much for a depleted Denver secondary to handle. Allen, who is playing at an MVP level, put on another show with wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, both of whom topped 100 yards receiving.

Allen’s giant leap from Year 2 to Year 3 is the main reason why he and his teammates were able to don the AFC East champion caps after the game, and why the Bills will soon have their first home playoff game since December of 1996.

Allen was, once again, accurate, as he completed 70% of his throws, and came through in the clutch, going 6-for-8 on third down passes. He threw for 359 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Allen became just the second Bills quarterback to reach 4,000 yards passing in a season on Saturday, joining Drew Bledsoe, who had 4,359 yards in 2002. He is also the second Bills quarterback to throw for at least 30 touchdowns. Jim Kelly had 33 in 1991. Allen’s seventh 300-yard passing game of the season (he had none of those in his first two seasons) tied Bledsoe for the most by a Bills quarterback in a single year.

Diggs continues to fly up the list of my most favorite Buffalo athletes to watch.

You can’t understate what his addition has meant for Allen and the offense. The guy is so hard to cover because he is a tremendous route runner. He has a great pair of hands too. Anything that is thrown Diggs’ way you expect him to catch.

Diggs set a new Bills record for most catches in a season. He now has 111. He’s also 54 yards away from the single season receiving record set by Eric Moulds. The sixth 100-yard game for Diggs leaves him one shy of that Bills' single-season record, which is shared by Moulds and Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

Beasley doesn’t have the star power of Diggs, but like Diggs he is constantly getting open and has some sick mitts. Beasley now has a career-best 950 yards receiving. It has been 18 years since the Bills last had a pair of 1,000-yard receivers. Moulds and Peerless Price did that in 2002.

I can keep going on-and-on with superlatives for the Bills offense. They’ve scored 30 or more points in seven games this season, the most by a Bills team since 1998 when they had eight 30-point games.

Since three straight sub 20-point games against the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets, they have averaged 33 points a game.

Did anyone say that is Chiefs-like?

Is this what it felt like watching Kelly and the Bills in 1988? I didn’t get here until 1989, and by then you already knew the Bills had built something special.

That is exactly what this season feels like to me. It feels like we are witnessing the beginning of a new golden era for Bills football. Maybe I’m a little too giddy, but who can blame me? This season, this team, this offense has been so much fun to watch.

Think about it. The Bills have an offense that other team’s fans will watch and wish their team had one just like it. Amazing.

I usually get right to my work once the Bills game ends, but I couldn’t do that after this one. I listened to the postgame show with Mike Schopp, so I could hear the joy in Bills fans voices as they called WGR.

I kept checking my notifications to see what fans were tweeting at me. I was down in the basement so I didn’t hear it, but my wife said fireworks were going off in our neighborhood once the game ended.

I had to explain to Jonathan, my 24-year-old son, that this is what it felt like 30 years ago. You went into games expecting the Bills to win, and home playoff games became an annual part of the Bills schedule.

I’m so happy for people around his age and younger, who had known nothing but mediocre Bills football. I’m also happy for the older crowd as well, who for too many years had to wonder whether or not the Bills would ever be that good again.

What a great game, what a great season, and the best is hopefully yet to come.

Soak it all in, Bills fans. You’ve certainly earned this.

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