In the coldest regular season road game in Buffalo Bills history, the Bills used a largely dominant second half to blow past the Chicago Bears on Christmas Eve, running away late in the fourth quarter with a 35-13 victory and clinching the AFC East in the process.
The Bills (12-3) trailed 10-6 at halftime but outscored the Bears 29-3 in the second half thanks to a dominant running attack and a stout defense. Buffalo ran for a season-high 254 yards (most in a game since 12/24/16) and three different players had rushing touchdowns.
RB Devin Singletary (12 carries, 106 yards), RB James Cook (11 carries, 99 yards) and QB Josh Allen (6 carries, 41 yards) all found the end zone via the ground in the second half as the Bills took control of the game.
Buffalo's defense stymied a dynamic QB in Justin Fields, holding him to 15 of 23 passing for 119 yards and a season-low 11 rushing yards on 7 attempts. The defense came up especially big in the second half to turn the tide in the Bills' favor. In Chicago's eight second half possessions, the Bills forced three punts, two turnovers on downs and two takeaways.
Trailing 10-6, Buffalo shifted to a run-centric game plan in the second half and it worked. Singletary broke through for a 33-yard TD run — his longest TD run of the year — and a two-point conversion to Khalil Shakir made it 14-10 Bills early in the third quarter.
After Dane Jackson forced a fumble, the Bills got the ball back in Chicago territory. Allen handed it off to Cook and the rookie did the rest, taking it in for a 27-yard TD. It marked Cook's second-straight week with a touchdown.
The Bears made it close with a field goal to make it 21-13 as the Bills struggled to put the game away. Allen threw his second INT, though the defense held it's ground to keep the Bears from reaching the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, Allen led the team on an 8-play, 56-yard scoring drive where he ran it in from four yards out to make it 28-13 with under four minutes remaining and giving the Bills a decisive advantage.
Allen also had two touchdown passes on the day: a first quarter score to WR Gabe Davis and a 13-yard play-action strike to TE Dawson Knox in the final minute in the red zone to make it 35-13. With his first quarter TD to Davis, Allen passed Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino for the most total TDs in a player's first five NFL seasons (172). He now has 39 total touchdowns this season.
It was far from a clean performance from the Bills in the first half and during spurts of the second half. Temperatures were at 9 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of -8 degrees and played a factor in the game.
The Bears drove down the field on their first possession to take the lead out of the gate on a Justin Fields touchdown pass, though the Bills answered right back on Gabe Davis' TD reception. Kicker Tyler Bass missed the extra point and the Bills trailed 7-6 at that point.
The offense drove back into Chicago territory on their next possession but Allen didn't see the double coverage on Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone and threw a pick.
Neither team had much success the rest of the first half and the Bears ended the second quarter with a field goal.
The Bills scored on their first two possessions and last two possessions of the second half to come away with their sixth-straight victory.
By clinching the AFC East title, the Bills assure themselves of a home playoff game and retain their hold on the AFC No. 1 seed for home field advantage. It's Buffalo's third consecutive division title and the team boasts a 14-3 record against AFC East opponents during the three-year run.
Next week, the Bills travel to Cincinnati (11-4) for their final road game of the season with major AFC seeding implications on the line.
More Stats and Highlights to Know
- The kickoff temperature of 9 degrees broke a record for coldest regular season game on the road in team history, breaking the previous record of 16 degrees against the Jets on Dec. 23, 1989.
- WR Gabe Davis tied his career-high with 7 TDs in a single season.
- The Bills have 5 opening-drive TDs for 10th time since 1970.
- WR Stefon Diggs now has 100 receptions this season and became the 6th NFL player with 3 consecutive seasons w/100+ rec. & 1200+ rec yds
- QB Josh Allen recorded his 25th career game with both 1+ rush TD and 1+ pass TD, breaking a tie with Fran Tarkenton (24) for 4th most in NFL history
- RB Devin Singletary had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.
- TE Dawson Knox has scored a TD in three straight games.
- The Bills have at least 12 wins in season for 7th time in franchise history.
Check out the best photos from the Bills Christmas Eve game in Chicago.