This meaningless game between teams below .500 was ugly, beyond ugly at times Sunday. But the Buffalo Bills did manage to grind out a sorely needed 16-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Player of the Game: Let's go with players here: the entire Bills offensive line. Former Bills GM Bill Polian might've called this group "aging" and "unathletic" last week in his analysis of the team to The News but they were anything but on Sunday, shredding Dallas for 236 rushing yards on 40 attempts. Karlos Williams (76 yards), Tyrod Taylor (67 yards) and Mike Gillislee (93 yards) all found room on the ground behind Buffalo's front five.
Deep into the fourth quarter, Gillislee busted loose for the clinching 50-yard touchdown. The loss of LeSean McCoy wasn't felt at all, a sign of just how good this line is. Richie Incognito and Eric Wood, Pro Bowl alternates, both had strong games. And the right side of the line was solid, too, where Buffalo was down to Jordan Mills and Kraig Urbik.
Re-hauling the line seems like the least of Buffalo's concerns right now.
Play of the Game: Not many quarterbacks can do this. On third and 6 from his own 19-yard line with 5:35 to play, Taylor ran left, spun, somehow made both Greg Hardy and Tyrone Crawford miss and then beat cornerback Terrance Mitchell to the corner to gain seven yards. Taylor broke Doug Flutie's QB franchise rushing record on Sunday. He creates where no other quarterback can. Really, the Bills should've even let Taylor run more than he has this season. His 4.4 speed translates to the field.
This play deep in his own end preserved a win... as ugly as that win was.
Brutal tackling: It was another game of miserable tackling for the Buffalo Bills' defense. On an unfathomable third and 19 conversion, both A.J. Tarpley and Corey Graham had point-blank shots at Terrance Williams and missed. Safety Bacarri Rambo missed often --- once on a 34-yarder to Brice Butler and again on a third-down receiver screen to Williams. He can hit but he struggles to finish as a tackler. It's also Week 16. Something must be done in August about Buffalo's sloppy, slipshod tackling.
Carpenter misses again: Yep, Dan Carpenter missed his fifth extra point this season. Buffalo will need to re-evaluate special teams in just about every way this off-season.
Stat of the Game: Zero sacks and one QB hit on Kellen Moore's 31 dropbacks. Rex Ryan has spent plenty of time blaming injuries and a quarterback's quick release for the lack of sacks this season. And, yes, Dallas has one of the best lines in the NFL. But the Bills' pass rush again was mostly invisible. Mario Williams dropped into coverage twice on third downs Dallas' first drive. Other times, he did get one-on-one opportunities to rush and did nothing. Next week will probably be Williams' final one as a Bill.
Up Next: Rex Bowl II in Buffalo and a chance to go .500 on the season.