1. Tre’Davious White leads takeaway day
Buffalo’s defense strives to get at least two takeaways per game and hold the opponent to 17 points or less. They did both in their Week 3 win over Cincinnati. And the Bills top cornerback led the cause with two interceptions including one in the dying moments of the game to seal the victory.
“Micah (Hyde) made a heck of a play on it by tipping it up and trying to catch it with one hand,” said White. “I was fortunate enough to run to the ball and it fell into my hands.”
That interception ended a last-minute drive by the Bengals to regain the lead as the Bengals faced a 3rd-and-5 situation at the Bills 28-yard line down just four points.
“Give those guys credit,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “I thought the defense did a good job of executing down the stretch, communicating and everybody stayed on the same page and then eventually one popped up in the air for us and Tre’ was running to the football. That was an effort play.”
White posted his first interception of the game in the third quarter to thwart another potential scoring drive by Cincinnati as they looked to move into Buffalo territory.
“We got good pressure on the quarterback and he threw a catchable ball for me,” said White. “I just played my three deep coverage and I just made sure he didn’t get over the top. So he stopped for a shorter route and I just broke on it.”
The other takeaways came at the end of the half when Buffalo forced a fumble with Cincinnati trying to get into field goal range. The other fumble was forced by Micah Hyde and recovered by Matt Milano in the second quarter at the Cincinnati 38.
The only problem was Buffalo’s offense was unable to turn any of those takeaways into points.
The big reason why is they turned the ball over themselves.
After Milano’s recovery at the Bengals 38, the Bills turned it over when T.J. Yeldon fumbled himself at the Bengals 15-yard line.
White’s first interception came at the Buffalo 40, but again the offense turned it over just three plays later when a late throw under pressure by Josh Allen was picked off.
“You’ve got to be smart,” said McDermott. “You can’t throw the ball over the middle of the defense. That was a play that changed the momentum of the game. Up until that point their offense hadn’t really done much. We’ve got to learn from that and play smarter football. That’s what I’m really looking for is to play smart.”
2. Frank Gore delivers consistency for the offense
It won’t look like an ultra-productive day for Frank Gore on the stat sheet, but the veteran running back provided a valuable dose of consistency, especially in the second half when there was a drop-off in sustaining drives on offense.
After averaging a pedestrian-looking 3.3 yards a carry in the first half, Gore provided valuable, chain-moving type runs in the second half when he averaged better than 7.5 yards per carry.
“Obviously he’s Frank Gore for a reason. Very competitive man,” said Josh Allen. He comes up to (Brian Daboll) and (offensive line coach) Bobby (Johnson) and explains what he sees as he’s running and what calls he feels comfortable with.
“He did a really good job of finding some holes today and the offensive line did a good job of creating some plays out of there. He’s one of those guys where if you give him the ball he’s going to do whatever he can to get yards.”
Gore’s biggest conversion came on third-and-goal from the one-yard line, when he barreled five yards deep into the end zone with the line providing a good hole over the left side.
“We were just doing what we do in practice,” said Gore. “Trying to do everything right and work hard every play. Whatever coach called we tried to do it right and that’s what we did.”
3. Dawson Knox provides clutch play and points
It wasn’t all perfect for rookie tight end Dawson Knox in his home debut, but he made plays when they mattered most.
Following an early touchdown reception to stake the Bills to an early lead, Knox couldn’t come up with a 2nd-and-10 pass deep in Bengals territory. Two plays later Buffalo turned it over with a fumble.
But Knox didn’t dwell on the play and delivered at one of the most critical moments of the game.
With Buffalo’s 14-point leads suddenly gone and facing a three-point deficit with four minutes to play, Knox got loose down the left sideline just shy of midfield and made the catch. He then proceeded to roll up another 24 yards after the catch trucking a Bengals defender in the process to set up a 1st-and-10 at the Cincinnati 22-yard line.
“Our team is incredible,” said Knox. “I had a drop earlier in the game and they were by my side and encouraged me to keep my head up. It was fun to have that energy come to me with guys celebrating.”
Josh Allen was encouraged to see the way that Knox bounced back from the early drop to deliver on a handful of plays, including the longest play from scrimmage in the game when it mattered most.
“It’s huge especially for him being so young,” said Allen. “He hadn’t caught a touchdown pass since his junior year of high school, so for him to find the end zone and then make plays for us, especially in crunch time, you love to see that.”
Knox finished with 76 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
“Every week there’s no telling how many plays I’m going to get, whether it’s one or 50,” Knox said. “I’m just trying to do my job. Thankfully this week we worked on a lot of plays for the tight ends to get the ball and luckily we were able to execute. That touchdown pass I think my grandma could’ve caught that one. It was just good execution from the start.”