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Top 3 Things We Learned

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Top 3 things we learned from Bills at Eagles | Week 12


The Buffalo Bills suffered a stunning defeat Sunday against the Eagles, as Philadelphia won 37-34 on a Jalen Hurts 12-yard TD run in overtime. 

Here's the top three things we learned from the loss:

Allen's heroics not enough to get the win

After a season-high 420 total yards of offense for the Bills star quarterback, Josh Allen had the matchup he wanted to get 22 more yards and a game-winning touchdown in overtime. The Eagles showed blitz with man-to-man look on third down, meaning the Bills receivers had one-on-one coverage.

Allen checked at the line to let his receivers know the call, then snapped the ball.

WR Gabe Davis got behind the Eagles' secondary and was open for a TD. Only Allen's pass went right, while Davis went left. Incomplete. 

The Bills had to settle for a field goal, only for the Eagles to end the game 9 plays later on Hurts' rushing TD. Allen and Davis described the play as a miscommunication, a brutal time for the two players who had been in sync for so much of the evening to suddenly miss the mark.

"It's an option route. We're in third and zero, so we max-protected it understanding they're coming to get me. I made a guess and I guessed wrong," Allen said.

Davis expressed his frustration at the inability to get on the same page for what could've been the game-winner.

"We could have won the game. We're confident, we had the game, it was right there. But again toward the end just me and him had a miscommunication, and it was a touchdown," he said.

The overtime snafu amidst the downpour at Lincoln Financial Field put a damper on what was arguably Allen's finest performance this season. 

Sure, the dominant showing against the Dolphins was a sight to behold in October but with Buffalo's playoff hopes on the line with December approaching, Allen donned his superhero cape like only he could.

With 339 passing yards and 81 rushing yards, Allen became the only QB in NFL history to record four career games with at least 300 yards through the air and at least 75 on the ground, passing Cam Newton (3) and Michael Vick (3).

"I mean, he's running around, he's making plays with his arm and his feet. That's the Josh that we all know and I love to see it. I'm 17 til the wheels fall off. That's my guy," left tackle Dion Dawkins said.

At crucial moments in the game, Allen carried the Bills with both his legs and his arm. Trailing 28-24 with 7:02, Allen led Buffalo on a scoring drive lasting over five minutes. A drive that started with a powerful run game, ending with a 7-yard laser to Davis to take the lead with under two minutes to play.

Allen finished with two passing TDs and two rushing TDs, the first time this season he's had multiple passing and rushing scores in the same game.

"I think the effort was there, the execution was there. Just gonna make a couple more plays. And now there's a couple we wish we had back," Allen said.

Missed chances come back to bite Buffalo

Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott said afterwards that the game never comes down to just one play or one player, but the Bills had several inopportune self-inflicted mistakes that didn't help their chances of winning.

Of particular note was on their second offensive series of the game when RB James Cook dropped what would've been a TD pass on second down from the Philly 30-yard line. The Bills committed two penalties after that play that knocked them out of field goal range. 

Also noteworthy: Tyler Bass had one field goal blocked in the first half and missed another in the second half. It's the second time this season he's missed multiple FGs in a game.

When the Bills had the chance to put the game away on the Eagles' final drive in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia got into field goal range, then Jake Elliot hit a game-tying 59-yard field goal with :20 seconds left.

It's the third time this season the Bills offense has scored in the final two minutes of the game to take the lead, only to end up still losing the game (Patriots, Broncos, Eagles).

Safety Micah Hyde was disappointed the defense couldn't pull through.

"Seems like this year, every game comes down to the last few minutes. Offense has the ball, then we'd have the ball and this is the result. So it's unfortunate," safety Micah Hyde said.

With the game tied 31-31 and :20 left in regulation, Allen kneeled to send it to overtime.

The Bills used their second timeout before Elliot's kick, and had just one remaining when they got the ball back. McDermott said they thought about trying to push the ball downfield into field goal range before OT, but felt with the Eagles' pass rush and only one timeout that it was best to take a knee.

"Hindsight is always 20/20. Believe me it's gone through my mind more than once," McDermott said when asked about whether he should've saved an extra timeout on the field goal.

Allen believes it was the correct call to take the knee.

"That's the right play," he said.

Three plays that swung the game Philly's way

In many respects, Buffalo controlled important aspects of the game, especially early on.

The Eagles were outgained by 177 yards (276 vs. 99) in the first half, marking the worst yards margin in any half of any game started by Jalen Hurts, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Philadelphia didn't convert a third down in the first half and Hurts had just four completions.

As a result, the Bills had a 17-7 lead at half.

However, three plays in the second half on three consecutive drives swung the momentum in the Eagles' direction.

1 — With the Bills up 24-14, the Eagles went on a 7-play, 75-yard drive capped off with a 15-yard TD to Devonta Smith on a well-executed fake screen that freed up Smith in the end zone.

2 — Allen's first pass attempt after the TD went into the hands of CB James Bradberry and the Eagles took over at Buffalo's 24-yard line. It marked Allen's 8th-straight game with an INT.

3 — Facing a 3rd and 14 play after the Allen INT, Hurts bought time on a scramble drill play. Coverage in Buffalo's secondary couldn't hold up for the long and Hurts hit WR Olamide Zaccheaus in the back of the end zone with Hyde in coverage for the go-ahead TD to make it 24-21.

The Bills and Eagles volleyed back-and-forth down the frenzied final stretch before heading to overtime.

The Bills are the first team in NFL history to record 500+ yards of offense, convert 10+ third downs, win the turnover margin and still lose the game, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

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