The Bills forced and recovered fumbles from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on each Minnesota's first two drives Sunday, helping spring the team to an early lead in what became a 27-6 victory that was as shocking as it was decisive.
The Bills looked terrible in their first two games and entered Minnesota as 16.5-point underdogs. Since 1980, teams that were underdogs of that much or more owned a dismal 3-56 record (though two of those wins came against the 1992 Bills). Yet the Bills managed to pull off the most lopsided win on record by a team facing odds that steep.
Josh Allen's offense moved the ball efficiently in the first half and was able to capitalize on good field position, taking leads of 17-0 after the first quarter and 27-0 at halftime. The Bills didn't do much in the second half as they played conservatively, leaving Allen with a final line of 15 of 22 for 196 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for two scores, including a QB sneak on fourth-and-goal from the 1 that effectively put the game out of reach at 24-0 – a good, aggressive play call. The Bills yielded just 90 yards of offense through three quarters before the Vikings added on in garbage time.
“You turn on the TV, you look at the paper, across the boards from every sports channel, no one’s picking the Bills,” said defensive end Jerry Hughes, who record one of the Bills' four sacks. “The NFL is not like college. It’s not where someone can write up wins on a blue board. You’ve got to come out here and play four quarters of football and let the chips fall, because anything can happen.”
Shady out: What made the Bills' offensive performance even more impressive was that it came without running back LeSean McCoy, the team's only established offensive weapon. A rib injury kept him out of the game, while Vikings running back Dalvin Cook also missed the game with an injury. Chris Ivory led the Bills in rushing and receiving yards.
Report Card: Jay Skurski handed out straight A's for the Bills. The Vikings got D's and F's. "Going back to the second half of Week 2 against the Chargers, the Bills have given up just 17 yards on the ground in six quarters. Wow," Skurski wrote.
Quarterly Report: What a difference it makes when you can actually get pressure on the opposing quarterback. The Bills' D-line won its matchups, Mark Gaughan wrote.
Jay Skurski's 10 observations: The Bills made a change at center this week, replacing Ryan Groy with Russell Bodine. Jason Croom also solidified himself as the No. 2 tight end, hauling in his first career touchdown.
Plays that shaped the game: Lorenzo Alexander's motor is still humming at 35. His bull rush help set up Trent Murphy's strip sack on the first possession that turned the tide in the Bills' direction. Linebacker Matt Milano also had a nice game, recording an interception, a sack and eight tackles.
Who saw this coming? Well, CBS News' Jeff Glor did, although this was more of a homer pick than an actual prediction.
AFC East rundown: The Patriots lost, 26-10, to their former defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, who is now the coach of the Lions. The Dolphins beat the Raiders, 28-20, to stay on top of the division at 3-0. The Jets played Thursday and lost to Baker Mayfield's Browns.
Next: The Bills (1-2) travel to Green Bay (1-1-1) in Week 4.
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