Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - Look man, there simply aren’t going to be many opportunities to stuff videos of The Band into Buffalo Bills game day stories, so judge me harshly, if you must.
With talk of Tropical Storm Ophelia potentially impacting the Bills' visit to play the Washington Commanders, this song has been living on a loop in my brain.
As it turned out, there was some rain early in the game, but Ophelia really wasn’t much of a factor overall.
As for what went wrong? Well, as it pertains to the Bills, not a whole lot.
I made the point all week that I thought Washington quarterback Sam Howell showed promise through his first three NFL starts. Howell has a strong arm and the confidence to try and fit balls into tight spots. I figured that could lead to a couple things:
1.) Howell is capable of exploiting the defense by making tight window throws.
2.) Perhaps the Bills defense could take advantage of Howell’s aggressiveness with turnovers.
At halftime, the Bills had picked Howell off twice, sacked him three times and hit him another five times.
Howell’s tendency to hold onto the ball a little bit longer was not a great idea against this Bills defense. The third quarter started with a nice looking Washington drive, but then the Bills' pass rush got to Howell again, helping force a third interception. This time, it came from cornerback Tre’Davious White in the end zone.
If there was any frustration with the Bills as this game went on, it would lie in their inability to just completely knock Washington out.
After the White interception, the Bills started at their one-yard line, but quickly made headway deep out of their own end until penalties short-circuited that drive.
Then, as the fourth quarter began, the Bills were faced with a 3rd-and-1 at the Washington 37-yard line. A Damien Harris run out of the shotgun came up a half-yard short. On fourth down, rather than use a quarterback sneak, the Bills went empty shotgun again, and Josh Allen’s pass got batted down and the line of scrimmage. That kept the score at 16-0, Buffalo.
When Washington turned it over yet again on the very next play, the Bills were finally able to put the hammer down, as they pushed their lead to 23-0 on a 10-yard Allen scramble to the end zone.
The finishing blow came on the next Washington possession when Howell, while rolling to his left, tried to get a pass over pass rusher A.J. Epenesa.
Uh, bad idea there Sam.
Epenesa tipped the ball to himself, stiff armed Howell aside, and rumbled to the end zone to make it 30-0, Bills.
We’ll see if Howell turning into a pumpkin against the Bills is just some early career adversity, or a troubling sign Washington maybe hasn’t found an answer at quarterback. That answer isn’t to be found in the aftermath of this game.
All we learned from Sunday is Howell looking good against the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos didn’t mean he’d be ready to handle the Bills. He clearly was not.
Nine sacks, four interceptions.
Linebacker Terrel Bernard recovered a fumble to go along with a spectacular interception and two of those nine sacks.
The Bills defense will have a much bigger challenge next week when they host the Miami Dolphins, but they have absolutely dominated the Las Vegas Raiders and Commanders in consecutive weeks.
Buffalo now sits with a 2-1 record after three games, and will await an early season showdown with the 3-0 Dolphins on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in Orchard Park.
In case you didn't know, the Dolphins just hung 70 points on Denver on Sunday. 70!
Let’s have ourselves a Miami week, everyone.