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Cole Beasley escapes injury, comes back to put up big numbers in Bills' win over Broncos

There’s never a good time for an injury.

For Cole Beasley, though, there could not have been a worse time than Sunday. The Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver was down on the New Era Field turf with 4:19 remaining in the second quarter, surrounded by athletic trainers.

Beasley looked to be in a good deal of pain, but was able to bounce up and walk off the field under his own power. That was good news for both player and team.

Beasley was the Bills’ best offensive player in a 20-3 win over the Denver Broncos. He finished with six catches for 76 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter that extended the Buffalo lead to 13-0 after Stephen Hauschka’s extra point.

Beasley has been handling some pain in his left ankle, and aggravated it against the Broncos.

“When I was on the ground, I kind of knew it just needed to calm down a little bit,” he said. “It's the ankle I've been dealing with, so it's kind of the same issue. It wasn't anything I was too worried about, I was just more (ticked) off that it happened.”

Beasley was back for the Bills’ next offensive series. That’s a good sign he should be good to go for a game he’s had circled on his calendar all year. The Bills head to Texas in a few days for a Thanksgiving game against the Dallas Cowboys, the team Beasley started his NFL career with.

After Sunday’s win, Beasley did his best to downplay the significance of that.

“This is the next one,” he said. “Just trying to get that ninth win. I'm excited to see my buds that I played with. Other than that, I just hope we win, just like any other week.”

Beasley wasn’t prepared to ruffle any feathers after Sunday’s win, but he’s made it clear in the past he wasn’t happy with his role with the Cowboys. He signed with Buffalo in the offseason eager for more opportunities after seven seasons with Dallas. Those came Sunday. Beasley was targeted a team-leading nine times.

“This is definitely what I envisioned, what I was hoping for, so happy I got to help our team get a win today,” Beasley said. “I think we're starting to hit our stride at the right time. We've just got to keep it rolling. We still had some missed opportunities and left a lot out there. We know that. We're not perfect. It's hard to be perfect, but we're striving for that. I think each week we're going to get better and better.”

Beasley and fellow receiver John Brown came to the Bills minutes apart at the start of free agency. They’ve been critical additions to the passing game.

With Brown slow to get going Sunday, the Bills needed Beasley to elevate the passing game. He did just that.

“Cole's my boy, so I was happy to see him back out there,” Brown said. “He's patient. When times do come his way, he makes the play. I'm just happy for him. He executed like he always does.”

2. Tre’Davious White continues to state his case for a spot in the Pro Bowl. After giving up an early 27-yard completion to emerging Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton, White was locked down after that.

Sutton finished the game with that lone reception despite being targeted eight times.

“They played well,” the Broncos’ second-year receiver said when asked how that happened.

He would have been correct in saying “White played well” -- which has become the norm this season.

The Bills’ top cornerback completely took Sutton out of the game. That included coming away with his team-leading fourth interception of the year in the second quarter, when he capitalized on miscommunication between Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen and Sutton. The interception was made at the Bills’ 8-yard line, preventing the Broncos from possibly taking the lead.

“They had a drive going, and we just pride ourselves on taking the ball away,” White said. “Any time you can take the ball away ... in the red zone, that's a big deal for our team.”

“He's not being considered as one of the top corners in the league. It's ridiculous,” Bills safety Micah Hyde said. “I don't know what else he needs to do. He's matching guys. That guy over there is nobody to sleep on – Sutton. That guy's making plays all over the field. You see him on field. He's taking the top off the defense, he's making big plays no matter who's guarding him.

“Tre'Davious went out there, and I don't know how (Sutton) did on him exactly yardage wise and receptions wise, but he was making plays. Ended up getting a pick. If Tre'Davious White is not All-Pro this year, first team, then I don't know who else deserves it. He's literally doing everything he needs to do to be considered one of the best corners in the league."

In addition to the interception, White finished with four passes defensed in the win. He leads the Bills with 13 passes defensed on the year.

“This is my third season, so I just feel like if I continue to work hard, continue to take my craft seriously and continue to do the things that get me ready for Sundays, I'll be fine,” White said.

For Bills' defense, challenges only escalate from here

3. Two Bills running backs hit milestones Sunday. The first, of course, was Frank Gore, who passed Barry Sanders for third on the NFL's all-time rushing list.

The second was rookie Devin Singletary, who recorded his first career 100-yard game. The rookie from Florida Atlantic finished with 106 yards on 21 carries.

"I was definitely going hard this week at practice," Singletary said. "I kept telling myself, 'I'm trying to get to 100.' We were able to do that today. Before the game, I told Frank, 'Let's get it.' ... With the guys up front being physical, we were able to do that."

More than a few of Singletary's yards came the hard way, as he dragged tacklers. He showed an ability to be more than just a running back who thrives in space.

"He's like a little brother, man. Ever since he got drafted, I've had him in my hip pocket," Gore said. "He listens to everything I say. He's a great kid. Great natural (talent). He has a chance to be big in this league."

4. The Bills let the Broncos hang around in a game they were statistically dominating at halftime, largely because of failures in the red zone. Buffalo had to settle for field goals on their first two possessions. The first of those went 17 plays before Stephen Hauschka kicked a 39-yard field goal. The second drive went 12 plays and 87 yards before the Bills had to settle for a 23-yard Hauschka field goal.

A holding penalty against Jon Feliciano proved costly inside the red zone. Instead of having second-and-goal at the 1-yard line after a 6-yard run by Gore, the Bills had first-and-goal from the Denver 14-yard line after Feliciano was flagged.

The Bills entered the game ranked third in the NFL in red-zone touchdown percentage, at 67.86.

"We're moving the ball, obviously, and we came away with six points there and we want six or seven," quarterback Josh Allen said. "So we didn't do a good enough job there."

The Bills led 6-0 at halftime despite outgaining Denver, 222-94. Buffalo was penalized eight times for 50 yards in the first half.

5. One Allen streak ended, but another one continued. The Bills’ quarterback saw his NFL-best streak of 171 consecutive pass attempts without an interception come to an end in the second quarter when he sailed a pass attempt over Brown into the arms of Broncos safety Justin Simmons.

"I thought they were in quarters and their safety was committing to the run," Allen said. "My eyes were on him. I didn't see the back side safety moving post high. They disguised it well. They made a play."

Allen, though, bounced back to throw two touchdown passes in the second half. He has at least two touchdown passes in seven consecutive games, which is the longest streak in the NFL and ties a Bills record set by Jim Kelly in 1991. Allen's 56 rushing yards pushed his career total over 1,018 in 23 games. The only other quarterbacks to do that in league history are Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Michael Vick and Cam Newton.

Bills' offensive line flexes muscle, depth in manhandling Broncos

6. Feliciano was at center when he was penalized because the Bills lost Mitch Morse in the first quarter. Morse was unable to return after suffering a finger injury but said he expects to play Thursday against Dallas. After Morse went out, Feliciano moved over to center and Spencer Long came off the bench to fill in at right guard.

7. Robert Foster’s coming-out party got cut short. The Bills’ receiver has played sparingly all year, but made a big play in the first half when he gained 16 yards on a rushing attempt.

In the third quarter, Foster exploded up the right sideline for a gain of 24 yards, but suffered a hamstring injury that took him out for the rest of the game. It was unfortunate timing for a player who has endured a difficult second season, and had seemingly just caught his stride.

8. Sean McDermott is on a hot streak. After losing 11 consecutive coaches’ challenges, McDermott won his second straight Sunday, correctly throwing the red flag after Brown hauled in a 34-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Officials, for some reason, originally ruled the play incomplete, but replays clearly showed Brown secured the ball before hitting the turf and sliding out of bounds. McDermott is now 3 of 14 for his career on challenges.

“I already knew it was a touchdown,” Brown said. “Refs are known for making calls like that, so I knew what it was.”

9. Duke Williams still has to wait his turn. The Bills' wide receiver headlined the list of inactives for Sunday’s game. Given that the Bills scored a season-high 37 points last week against Miami, it's not a big surprise they decided to keep the offensive lineup the same, which meant Williams sat for a fourth straight game.

Also inactive for the Bills were right tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle), cornerback Siran Neal (concussion), running back T.J. Yeldon, guard Ike Boettger, tight end Tommy Sweeney and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor.

Bills' monster ground game leads to strong rushing grade against Broncos

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