1. The Buffalo Bills’ defense is starting to look ordinary, but it made an extraordinary play when needed. A week after Andy Dalton threw for 328 yards against the Bills, Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston shredded Buffalo for 382 passing yards, but the Bills made the defensive play they needed when rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White stripped Bucs receiver Adam Humphries in the fourth quarter, then recovered the fumble. That set the Bills’ offense up for the go-ahead, 30-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka, giving them a 30-27 victory at New Era Field.
2. It might be overlooked because the Bills won, but it shouldn’t be. The sequence at the end of the first half was the worst clock management imaginable. Place the blame on whoever you want. Head coach Sean McDermott, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison or quarterback Tyrod Taylor can share it. All of them should be questioned as to why the Bills went with a throw to the flat, which was completed to Jordan Matthews for 2-yard gain, but saw the clock run out after he was tackled inbounds. That erased the opportunity for what would have been a short field goal attempt before halftime. Just an unimaginably bad sequence.
3. Taiwan Jones? Taiwan Jones! The Bills’ little-used running back caught his first pass of the season at the perfect time, gaining 11 yards on a third-and-9 play with 1:50 remaining, allowing the Bills to run the clock down to just 14 seconds remaining when Hauschka hit his field goal.
4. It says something that Deonte Thompson became the Bills’ first 100-yard receiver of the season less than a week after signing with the team. A couple things, actually. No. 1, it was a good move to bring him in. No. 2, it’s a sorry state of affairs for the Bills’ receivers when a street free agent can immediately become such an important part of the offense.
5. Finally, Taylor started to run the ball again. After having just one rushing attempt in a Week Five loss at Cincinnati, Taylor used his legs early to pick up a first down on the Bills’ first drive. Taylor’s 26-yard scramble on third down was a reminder of just how good he is when he runs.
6. Hauschka redeemed himself. After missing from 41 yards out in the first half, the Bills’ kicker drilled a 52-yarder early in the fourth quarter. The kick was Hauschka’s 12th straight conversion from 50-plus yards, which ties the NFL record.
7. The Bills didn’t get penalized until the third quarter, but it was a big one. A late hit along the sideline by cornerback Leonard Johnson gave Tampa Bay a first down when it would have been third and 4. The Bucs marched to their first touchdown of the game after the penalty.
8. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Jordan Poyer is one of the best free-agent signings the Bills have had in a long time. Poyer broke up a pass intended for Bucs tight end Cameron Brate in the end zone late in the first quarter on a third-down play, leading to a 25-yard field goal. For a defense that was giving up huge chunks of yardage early, Poyer’s play kept a big three points off the board.
9. Would the Bills consider trading John Miller? That’s a fair question now that the former starter has been inactive for two straight games. It appears that the competition at right guard is over, and Vlad Ducasse has won. The Bills have Ryan Groy as their top interior offensive line backup. Miller, who was drafted by the previous front office, could have value to a team that runs a different offensive scheme.
10. The Bills’ decision to carry five offensive tackles remains odd. The team made Seantrel Henderson and Conor McDermott inactive Sunday. One of their roster spots would be better used on more depth in the secondary, which has just eight members. The Bills were down to three healthy cornerbacks after E.J. Gaines was knocked out with a hamstring.