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NFL Sunday takeaways: Bills ought not panic after listless loss to the Jets

But to see how disconsolate QB Josh Allen looked and spoke afterward, you might have thought the Bills had just been eliminated from the playoffs

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Presuming Josh Allen’s throwing elbow isn’t seriously injured, it’s no time for the Buffalo Bills to be panic.

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Or even be overly concerned about their listless loss on Sunday at the New York Jets, even if it dropped the Bills’ in-division record to 0-2 in ’22.

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Indeed, instead of improving to 7-1 with a win, Buffalo fell to 6-2 with the 20-17 loss. That’s still winning at a .750 clip, and projects to a 12-5 or 13-4 record by regular season’s end.

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Look, most years the best teams in the NFL typically lose anywhere from two to four games. Probably, this was just one of those two, three or four losses this Bills team will have by season’s end.

And know, too, that Buffalo entered Sunday’s game without several injured impact performers.

But to see how disconsolate Allen looked and spoke afterward, you might have thought the Bills had just been eliminated from the playoffs. He put a large chunk of the responsibility for the defeat on himself.

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“It’s tough to win in this league when you’re playing a good team and your quarterback plays like s**t,” Allen said. “I made some bad decisions tonight that really cost our team. Lots to learn from, lots to grow from. That’s not the standard we hold ourselves to, that’s not the ball that we play … They wanted it a bit more than us tonight.”

True, though he did run in both of Buffalo’s touchdowns, Allen did throw two fairly gruesome interceptions.

The first came on the third scrimmage play of the game, at the Jets 13, when he didn’t see safety Jordan Whitehead at all, who jumped in front of intended target Dawson Knox, Allen’s trusty tight end.

The second came on Buffalo’s second play of the second half, which was returned to the Bills’ 19-yard line. Four plays later second-year Jets QB Zach Wilson hit newly acquired running back James Robinson for a touchdown, giving New York its first lead, 17-14.

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Buffalo never led again. So, yeah, the picks were impactful.

Greg Zuerlein’s 28-yard field goal with 1:43 remaining won it for the Jets. On that 13-play, 86-yard drive the injury-depleted Bills defence was done, unable to stop the run or pass.

Allen and the Bills went backward on their attempt to tie, or win it, over the final 1:43.

After a holding penalty and an 18-yard completion, Allen cocked to throw but Jets pass rusher Bryce Huff swatted the ball hard at the height of Allen’s follow-through, knocking the ball out. The swat put great stress on Allen’s arm.

Buffalo recovered the loose ball for a 14-yard loss with 40 seconds left, but before the next snap Allen kept flexing his right arm, and grabbed at his elbow a couple of times.

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He then fired two deep incomplete passes, the last of which travelled a half-mile, so whatever the injury to that elbow or arm might be, it didn’t appear serious.

Asked about it afterward, Allen allowed that there’s “slight pain” but insisted “I’ll get through it.”

It was New York’s first win over Buffalo since 2019.


Each week we all think, “Man, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers never have struggled like this.”

Only to see them both then struggle all the more the next week.

On Sunday, Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers probably expected to treat the Detroit Lions as Biff and his bullying buddies tormented George McFly before Marty went back in time in Back to the Future.

Nope. The Packers kept ramming into the same old manure truck on Sunday at Ford Field.

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Detroit won 15-9 to drop the Packers to 3-6, tied with Chicago, half a game up on 2-6 Detroit — and all three of them a three-day drive behind 7-1 Minnesota in the NFC North.

Rodgers looked as miffed as ever throughout. Timing’s off with all his unfamiliar or under-talented receivers, don’tcha know.

“Can’t lose a game like this, against that team,” Biff said afterward. Er, Rodgers. “I had some s**t throws, for sure.”

Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meantime, had looked like a good bet to defeat the offensively inept Los Angeles Rams, going in. And even though the Rams again were mostly offensively inept again, Brady and the Bucs remained even more so — that is, until the last 43 seconds of the game.

Over the game’s first 59 minutes, Brady threw and completed a bunch of passes, but nearly all of his completions yet again came in the middle of the field, or back in Tampa Bay territory. The Bucs seemed incapable of stringing together good gains. Like Rodgers and the Packers, Brady and the Bucs looked like they’d practised most of their pass plays once or twice — ever.

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Ah, but when the Bucs got the ball back at their own 40, after another late Rams three-and-out, with 43 seconds left, Brady and his receivers functioned at high efficiency — on six straight plays to win the game, 16-13.

In succession, Brady hit tight end Cade Otton for 28 yards to the L.A. 32 deep up the left side, before spiking the ball with 28 seconds left; he hit running back Leonard Fournette on a short crosser for four, before he went out of bounds; he hit wideout Scotty Miller on consecutive short passes both at the left sideline for 14 and seven yards, both of which stopped the clock; he threw incomplete in the end zone to receiver Mike Evans but Evans was interfered with; and, finally, with 13 seconds left, from the one, Brady hit Otton on a short out route to the right, for the winner.

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“We made some good plays,” Brady told CBS of the last drive. “It’s just a great win. We needed it. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Not as long as Biff and his buddies, who … hate … manure.


There are a few surprise teams this year, in a good way. But none as surprising as the Seattle Seahawks, who improved to 6-3 with a 31-21 win at fast-eroding Arizona.

There’s now no mystery to the Seahawks’ victory method.

First and foremost, Geno Smith — for a livin’ fact the NFL’s comeback player of the year — is highly accurate and clutch with his passes. Secondly, the Seahawks running game has come alive, mostly behind offensive rookie-of-the-year candidate Kenneth Walker III, who rambled for 109 yards and two touchdowns against the Cards.

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All of that offensive efficiency has protected a young defence that now is able to do enough to keep Seattle in every game.

That’s four wins in a row for the Seahawks, and five victories in their last six after an ugly 1-2 start.

Los Angeles Chargers placekicker Cameron Dicker is lifted by his teammates after kicking the game winning field goal against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Chargers placekicker Cameron Dicker is lifted by his teammates after kicking the game winning field goal against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)


Don’t snicker, but thanks to Dicker the kicker, Chargers fans for once had no need to reach for the clicker in a flicker with their ticker beating quicker than usual.

In anger, that is.

Because the Chargers’ latest temp placekicker, Cameron Dicker, drilled a 37-yard field goal at game’s end to lift Los Angeles to a 20-17 win at Atlanta.

Probably no franchise in modern league history has come up smaller in late opportunities to win tight games than the Chargers, as all their fans painfully know.

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Dicker joined the Chargers practice squad only about 72 hours earlier, on Thursday, and was elevated for the first time to L.A.’s active roster on Saturday.

Regular Chargers placekicker Dustin Hopkins has been out since Week 6 with a nasty hamstring pull. His replacement, Taylor Bertolet, injured a quad on Wednesday — necessitating an emergency replacement.

Dicker is a 22-year-old rookie. This was his second NFL game.

In his first, just four weeks ago, while temping for injured Jake Elliott with the Philadelphia Eagles, he did the same flippin’ thing — making both of his field-goal attempts. First, a 42-yarder to put Philly ahead 17-10 early in the third quarter. Then a game-winning 23-yard chip shot to break a 17-17 tie with 1:45 left.

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The Eagles dropped Dicker from their practice squad a week ago Saturday. The Chargers picked him up Thursday.

On Sunday, with 5:27 remaining against the Falcons, Dicker made his first field-goal attempt, a 31-yarder, to tie the score, 17-17.

Earlier, Dicker made both of his extra-point attempts.

He made his game-winner look easy, as it split the uprights and splashed high into the netting.

Dicker’s new teammates hoisted him up and carried him off the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“His leg strength is one of his assets,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said of Dicker. “He’s got good lift on the ball. We felt good at 35 (yards out). The guys were putting some pressure on him (in practice) on Thursday, so I thought he kind of earned his stripes … Really happy for him, and proud of our team for supporting him.”

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Los Angeles improved to 5-3, in playoff position in the AFC. Atlanta dropped to 4-5, tied for first place now in the lowly NFC South with Tampa Bay, and maybe with New Orleans too after Monday night.

Oh, and one other thing — don’t go bringing up past Chargers meltdowns with Staley.

“There’s far too much focus on the past with this club, and there’s not enough focus on the present,” he said. “Since I’ve been head coach we’ve played in a bunch of close ones. And we’re comfortable in this space.”

Especially Dicker the Kicker.

QB Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears runs the ball during the second half in the game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field on November 06, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
QB Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears runs the ball during the second half in the game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field on November 06, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Quinn Harris /Getty Images


Miami might have won in Chicago as expected, 35-32, but the real winner might have been the Bears, and especially suddenly fast-improving second-year QB Justin Fields.

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Yeah, he threw for only 123 yards, but three of his 17 completions went for touchdowns. And he rushed for a whopping 178 yards and a score. Perhaps most importantly, throughout the game Fields kept willing the Bears back into the game with big plays. That’s the mark of a gutsy QB.

Kid’s getting it together, after a dreadful first six weeks.


Six days after getting blown right out of Cleveland on Monday night, the Cincinnati Bengals proved as much as any team this year has, that when players are focused and motivated, they can play well. Even great.

Otherwise, forget it.

The Bengals on Sunday looked like they were motivated to make amends for their embarrassingly bad performance against the Browns, and took it out on the hapless Carolina Panthers.

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Running back Joe Mixon had 211 scrimmage yards and scored five touchdowns — four on the ground, one on a pass reception — as the Bengals won 42-21.

The Panthers were so all-around awful in trailing 35-0 at halftime that they trailed in first downs, 21-1, and in total yards, 311-32.

The PJ Walker experiment at quarterback that had worked so well for 2-3 weeks hit a resounding wall in Cincinnati. He was pulled for Baker Mayfield at halftime after going 3-of-10 for nine yards and two picks.

“We came out firing, and it was physical,” Mixon said of the Bengals. “We were trying to be as physical as possible.”

After having been the anti-thesis of that in Cleveland.

Effort and motivation go a long way in sports, folks.


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The Las Vegas Raiders are just dogs. In falling 27-20 in Jacksonville they fell to 2-6 on the season, which surely is over now. Already. The Jags improved to 3-6 … Minnesota once again somehow won, 20-17 on a last-minute field goal at Washington, to improve to 7-1 … Sam Ehlinger vs. Mac Jones was all that bad a QB battle. Yeah, 250 combined pass yards, as New England smoked Indy 26-3.

John Kryk writes a weekly newsletter on NFL matters. That’s where you can first see his straight-up picks each week. You can have the newsletter automatically dropped into your email inbox on Wednesdays simply by signing up — for free — at https://torontosun.com/newsletters/



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NFL Sunday takeaways: Bills ought not panic after listless loss to the Jets Source link NFL Sunday takeaways: Bills ought not panic after listless loss to the Jets

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