OPINION: Arrow Up/Arrow Down: Falcons at Bills

The Bills clinch playoff berth after the 29-15 win in Orchard Park

The Buffalo Bills won their third game in a row on Sunday with a 29-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. With the win, Buffalo clinched a playoff berth for the fourth time in five seasons.

Here are my Arrows Up and Down from the game:

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Devin Singletary
Photo credit Kevin Hoffman - Getty Images


Devin Singletary

Singletary continued to build upon his strong finish to the regular season, rushing for a career-high 110 yards on 23 carries, averaging 4.8 yards per-carry He also found the end zone twice on the day.

It was only the second 100-yard rushing performance of his three-year NFL career.

Josh Allen - runner

The league-leader in yards per-carry was at it again, running 15 times for 81 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per-carry and scoring two touchdowns. Allen made good decisions on when to run, and made the most of those runs.

Greg Rousseau

The rookie defensive end came up with three total tackles, a quarterback hurry, and a huge sack where he stripped the ball from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, which eventually lead to a Bills recovery.

Harrison Phillips

Phillips continued his outstanding play, finishing with four total tackles, a sack, three quarterback hurries, and the fumble recovery of Rousseau’s sack.

Ed Oliver

Oliver was consistent all day long at the point of attack, and contributed four tackles, a sack, and a quarterback hurry.

Defensive stand

The turning point of the game may have come after Allen threw his third interception in the third quarter. The Falcons were set up on the Bills' 25-yard line with a great chance to extend their one-point lead.

However, the Bills defense came up with two-straight tackles for loss, knocking them back seven yards. After a forced incompletion by the Bills on third down, Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith elected to punt from the Bills' 32-yard line (then the 37-yard line after a delay of game penalty) instead of attempting a 50-yard field goal.

The Bills scored on the ensuing drive and never gave the lead back.

Gabriel Davis' catch

Facing a 3rd-and-10 from the Falcons’ 18-yard line, Davis made one of the better catches of the season when he was able to corral the ball with one hand, then get the other on it with control, still with one foot on the ground. Then he got his other foot down, as well. This all came right at the first down marker, too.

It was originally called incomplete, which would have made it fourth down. However, head coach Sean McDemott’s challenge overruled it and the Bills had a first down.

Offensive line

For the second week in a row, the Bills' offensive line did not give up a sack on Allen. The Falcons were credited with one sack on wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who was looking to throw the ball but eventually was tackled.

However, they kept Allen completely clean all game, and paved the way for a 233-yard rushing performance.

Run game

As just mentioned, the Bills ran for a whopping 233 yards on 44 carries, averaging 5.3 yards per-run.

Maybe more important than the actual stats were how they were able to lean on the run game even when Allen and the passing game did not have their best day.

Third down defense

The Bills held the Falcons to just one conversion on seven third down attempts (14.3%).

Red zone defense

Atlanta was just 1-for-4 in the Bills' red zone, scoring touchdowns once inside Buffalo's 20-yard line.

Red zone offense

The Bills entered the Falcons' red zone five different times and scored four touchdowns. The only exception was when Allen threw an interception.

Third down offense

Buffalo went 7-for-12 on third down conversions for an impressive 58.3% conversion rate.

Long drives that ended in touchdowns

The Bills scored four touchdowns on the day. One was on a short field after a turnover. The other three covered: 15 plays, 72 yards; 11 plays, 80 yards; and 12 plays, 70 yards.

No punts, again!

The Bills became the first team in 17 years to have consecutive games without punting. They did punt the ball after a safety, but that’s considered a free kick.

Photo credit Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports


Josh Allen - passer

Statistically, it was one of the worst performances of Allen’s career.

The fourth-year quarterback finished 11-for-26 on the afternoon for only 120 yards, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns.

The first pick was a horrible decision to force the ball on a third down into the red zone instead of just throwing it away and kicking a field goal. The second was an overthrown pass into no-man’s land.

Allen started the game accurate, but considering the slick conditions, he needed a bit more touch and a bit less mustard on a few of the passes, which made it tough for receivers to handle.

Marquez Stevenson

The rookie return man coughed up the football in his first attempt of the day on a punt. The decision to field it and run with it was already questionable, considering he was at the 12-yard line, but then did not secure it when he took a big hit.

Stevenson also also muffed another punt later in the game, which he got back right away.

End of first half

The Bills were up 14-5 and had a great opportunity to extend the lead with just over three minutes remaining before halftime, sitting at the Falcons' 10-yard line. However, Allen threw his first interception.

From there, Atlanta marched 80 yards in just five plays to make it 14-12.

Two offensive plays later for the Bills, Allen threw another pick.

Atlanta then went 45 yards in seven plays and kicked a field goal in the final play of the half to take a 15-14 lead into the locker room.

That, roughly, three-minute sequence could have cost the Bills the game.

Second quarter

It wasn’t just the end of the half that hurt the Bills. The Falcons dominated the entire second quarter, outscoring the Bills, 13-0. Atlanta outgained Buffalo, 161-79, and had 10 first downs compared to the Bills' five.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman - Getty Images