(Joshua Bessex, AP Photo)
The Buffalo Bills have punched their ticket to their fourth postseason appearance in the last five years under the Sean McDermott/Josh Allen regime. The Bills are one more win away from clinching the AFC East for the second straight year, following a three game win streak against the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and Atlanta Falcons.
If you read my last few articles concerning the Bills, you'd know that I am very critical of the Bills rushing game. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss haven't been able to make much noise this season, but for the Buffalo Bills, Week 17 belonged to running back Devin Singletary. Singletary ran for an impressive 110 yards, scoring 2 touchdowns on 23 carries.
The Buffalo defense has been the Bills saving grace so far this season. In a year where the Bills don't seem to be nearly as dominant as we thought they'd be, the defense has been what's kept it together for them. Week 17's game against Atlanta was a lot closer of a contest than the final score reflects. If not for the defense making clutch stops at pivotal moments, I'm not so sure the Bills come away with the victory in this one.
Taron Johnson, Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, Greg Rousseau, and Mario Addison all accounted for one sack each. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was under siege for what seemed like the whole game.
My biggest concern in Week 17 was Josh Allen's performance in the first half and early in the second half. Allen threw two interceptions in the first half, and one interception early in the third quarter. Credit to the Atlanta defensive line, as two of the three interceptions thrown by Allen were tipped passes that happened to find the arms of the Atlanta defense.
Where Allen failed in the passing game, he more than made up for with his legs. Allen rushed for 81 yards, scoring two touchdowns along the way. Josh wasn't able to find a rhythm to which he's used to all game through the air, which might be due in large part to that wonderful Western New York weather. As the game went on, the snow kept falling, making the ball extremely slippery.
We saw the effects of this weather game very early on, when Buffalo rookie Marquez Stevenson fumbled a kickoff return in his own end zone, resulting in a recovery by Atlanta, giving them two points on the safety in Buffalo's opening drive of the game.
These two teams combined for four total fumbles in Week 17.
The Bills will face the New York Jets in the Week 18 regular season finale. A victory would secure the 2021 AFC East Championship for the Buffalo Bills, who have the division rival New England Patriots breathing down their neck for the division lead. It all comes down to Week 18 in the AFC East.