Both of the Bills coordinators deserve game balls for beating the Vikings

September 23, 2018

(WGR 550) - I had it in my head the Bills would start 1-3, but I thought the win would have to come in the first two weeks of the season or it wasn’t coming. I never dreamed the first victory would come in Minnesota.

Last season, Buffalo got trounced by New Orleans and the Chargers only to go to Kansas City and beat the Chiefs to end the season 4-2.

For some reason, Sean McDermott and his staff lose their way for a couple of games and then are able to pull it together again. This year, Buffalo got its doors blown off by Baltimore and the Chargers before going to Minnesota and forging a 27-0 first half lead. Defensive coordinator, and former Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier got a game ball from McDermott, which he richly deserved, but I hope offensive coordinator Brian Daboll got one too.

Both coordinators put together masterful game plans and neutralized a team that many are calling the best in the NFL.

Frazier was heavily criticized after the Chargers game because McDermott took away his play calling duties at halftime. Los Angeles only scored three points after that. He got his play calling duties back for this one and Kirk Cousins looked like a street rookie playing in his first game. Cousins was peeling Bills players off his back all game as the pass rush came from everywhere.

On Minnesota’s first series, Lorenzo Alexander flushed Cousins out of the pocket. Trent Murphy caught him from behind forcing a fumble. That gave the Bills the football at the Minnesota 15-yard line.

That helped put Buffalo up 10-0 and third down came up again. This time, Jerry Hughes got to Cousins and stripped him of the ball. Matt Milano recovered at the Vikings' 25-yard line. Josh Allen strikes again and it’s 17-0 Bills.

At the end of the first half, it was 27-0, Bills. Cousins was 9-of-14 for 44 yards. He was sacked three times and hurried almost every time he went back to pass. Minnesota had 46 yards of total offensive and just two first downs. It was one of the most amazing displays of defense I’ve seen from the Bills in a long, long time. Frazier had them in the right calls and prepared on almost every play.

Milano had an interception, sack and fumble recovery.

Daboll’s offense was not to be outdone. In the final two quarters of the Chargers game and the first two quarters of this game, the Bills outscored their opponent 41-3.

Daboll’s game plan totally played into Josh Allen’s strengths. He started with a short passing game, finding Ray Ray McCloud, Chris Ivory and Charles Clay. They were going to take their shots down field, but this all set up the Vikings for another call.

Minnesota was cheating on the short flairs and screens, and Allen put a perfect fake out to his right. The Vikings bit and Jason Croom snuck out by himself. Allen found him and there wasn’t a Viking within 10 yards of him.

Allen picked up huge first downs, knowing when to run out of danger. He also scored two touchdowns with his legs. At the end of the first quarter, the Bills had 143 yards of offense while Minnesota had 22.

Buffalo didn’t have its No. 1 weapon in LeSean McCoy, but Allen, Ivory and Marcus Murphy ran the ball 38 times. Ivory also had three receptions for 70 yards.   

There were plays that were left on the field too. Allen had Robert Foster twice for long touchdowns, but he under threw him the first time and over threw him the second. Kelvin Benjamin again dropped two passes right in his hands. 

Buffalo almost shutout Minnesota for the first time at home since 1962, but the Vikings got a touchdown late in the fourth quarter during garbage time.

I have to say, I am so impressed with the leadership that Allen has shown in just two NFL starts. In this game, if something went wrong, he didn’t care. He made a play on the next snap.

Green Bay had its problems losing in Washington on Sunday. Buffalo heads to Lambeau Field and will face an injured Aaron Rodgers. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect.