1 – McDermott calls defensive plays in second half Through the first two quarters of Sunday’s game the Chargers offense could seemingly do whatever they wanted. On their first three scoring drives they had chunk plays of 16, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23 and 25 yards. Only twice did their offense even reach third down in a series. By halftime it was 28-3 and head coach Sean McDermott decided to take over play calling duties for the defense.
“Yes, in the second half I did,” said McDermott. “I just felt like we needed a spark. That’s my background. Coach (Leslie) Frazier does a really good job as well as the defensive staff. I just felt like we needed a spark.”
In the second half the defense gave up 65 total net yards to the Chargers offense and just three points.
When asked if he would continue as the play caller for the defense going forward, McDermott wouldn’t rule it out.
“We’re going to evaluate that as well as a lot of other things we do,” he said.
2 – Vontae Davis pulls himself from game, retires
It was one of the most unusual occurrences one could think of for an NFL game. Just before halftime Vontae Davis chose to leave his first regular season game this season.
“He pulled himself out of the game,” said McDermott. “He communicated to us that he was done.”
When McDermott was asked if Davis was injured, Buffalo head coach said he was not.
There were reports after the game that Davis not only quit in the game, but quit the team, reportedly leaving the stadium at halftime.
His teammates were not happy after the game.
“I’ve never been around that. I never heard of anything like that, you can’t really wrap your mind around it,” said Kyle Williams. “I think the only thing to say is he’s where he needs to be right now and that’s not here.”
"It was a surprise to all of us," said Rafael Bush. "You quit on your teammates. That's something that I've never seen before and it was a disappointment. We're family. You don't turn your back on your brothers in the heat of battle like that. Like Lorenzo (Alexander) said, that is disrespect to leave us down like that when we're already down a man and we only have two corners. That's unexplainable."
Davis later released a statement explaining his decision to retire. His statement in part read as follows.
Today on the field reality hit me fast and hard. I shouldn't be out there anymore. I meant no disrespect to my teammates and coaches. But I hold myself to a standard. I always expect myself to play at a high level. But physically, I know today, that isn't possible, and I had an honest moment with myself. While I was on the field, I just didn't feel right, and I told the coaches, 'I'm just not feeling like myself.' It's more important for me and my family to walk away healthy than to willingly embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late.
3 – Allen battles through first start It wasn’t a fast start in Josh Allen’s first career start, but the rookie battled through to the end of the game. Early on, Allen admitted he was hesitant at times because he didn’t trust what he was seeing.
“There were some things that they did, and we didn’t see on film and I didn’t see on film and that’s being a rookie,” Allen said. “That’s part of it. Defensive coordinators are always going to try to throw you something different and try to get you out of your element. I’ve got to be better with the pass protection and getting the ball out quicker. Ultimately, taking care of the football. I had two interceptions and they were just two plays that I could’ve changed.”
Allen finished the game 18 for 33 passing for 245 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
“There were some moments he had that were pretty solid and some that I know he’d want back,” said McDermott. “I felt we moved the ball at times in the second half. We’ve got to make sure we take care of the football as well. That’s a big element of playing quarterback in this league at a high level. He’ll learn from it and I expect him to grow just like our team will overall.”
“He’s a young guy who came in and did a really good job,” said Zay Jones. “He came in with great confidence and great poise. He made some mistakes, but easily correctable. I think he did a great job leading our team with what was given to him.”
Buffalo’s offense did make some adjustments in the second half as offensive coordinator Brian Daboll turned to the read option game to make use of Allen’s legs. He also went with heavier personnel groups, going with two tight ends and two backs on the first drive of the second half.
“When Daboll sees something, he’s going to call it. He told me to be aggressive and I think the play calling in the second half was a little more aggressive. It’s kind of a tale of two halves. We came out in the second half and we played harder and wanted it a little more. In order to win a game in the NFL you’ve got to play 60 minutes.”
Though they didn’t win the game, Allen and the offense did finish on a good note as the completed a two-minute drive with a touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin.
“We obviously wanted to come out and score on that last two-minute drive in the hopes we get the ball back on an onsides kick. We were down three possessions still, but to go down and execute it will produce some momentum for next week. But the moral of the story of today’s game was starting fast. We can’t put ourselves in that position again.”
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