Week 3 Grade = A
… Bills fans are probably pretty thrilled with the way their new kicker, Steven Hauschka, performed against the Broncos. Hauschka went 4 for 4 on field goals, which includes conversions from 49, 53 and 55 yards. That's a dramatic improvement from Carpenter, who went 5 of 11 on fields from 40 yards or longer last season. Hauschka wasn't the only player for the Bills who was nearly perfect in this game. Tyrod Taylor, who finished 20 of 26 for 213 yards with two touchdowns, led two clutch touchdown drives in the game, and they both game when the Bills were trailing by three points.
Week 3 Grade = B-plus
Heading into Sunday, this game had the makings of a defensive showdown. The Buffalo Bills ended up winning that battle, as they forced two interceptions, had three sacks and hit Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian five times. Buffalo struggled to move the ball on the ground against Denver, averaging just under 2.3 yards per carry. Mike Tolbert was the Bills' leading rusher with 41 yards on 11 carries, while LeSean McCoy toted the rock 14 times for only 21 yards. Tyrod Taylor played solid, mistake-free football, tossing two touchdown passes and just six incompletions. After scoring only three points in a loss against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2, the Bills rebounded well to take down the vaunted Broncos. Buffalo's offense did its job.
MMQB, Peter King](https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/25/nfl-week-3-peter-king-mmqb-awards-quotes-factoids)
Special Teams player of the week
Deon Lacey, linebacker, Buffalo.Last minute of the third quarter. Fourth-and-two, Denver ball at its 31. Punt formation. FAKE! Upback De'Angelo Henderson takes a direct snap, and here comes Lacey, not falling for the fake, tackling Henderson after a one-yard gain. A huge play in a close game by a man plucked off the waiver wire from the Dolphins. The stuff helped the Bills upset the previously unbeaten Broncos.
Things that made me giddy
Sean McDermott and the Bills' Secondary, Tyrod Taylor and Rick Dennison: The secondary seemed to make play after play against a hapless Broncos passing attack. On the other side of the ball, a great game plan by Dennison, operated to near-perfection by Taylor (picking their spots against those Denver linebackers and safeties). A great team win for the Bills.
The Sean McDermott formula: The new Bills coach seems to have an unusual amount of personnel power in Buffalo, and he used it well this offseason. He re-made the team's secondary in one offseason with mostly spare parts, just like the Panthers used to do at his old job as defensive coordinator in Carolina. The Bills' secondary has been difficult to throw against for three straight weeks, with rookie Tre'Davious White and safety pickup Jordan Poyer standing out. It's a fundamentally sound defense that tackles and makes opponents earn yards. Combine that defense with a strong start from perennially underrated quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and the Bills were able to take out the Broncos on Sunday to improve to 2-1. The preseason talk of tanking is a memory. Bills ownership fired Rex Ryan because it believed this was a playoff roster. McDermott is doing his best thus far to prove ownership right.
The Buffalo Bills are in first place.
I absolutely loved the Sean McDermott hire, knowing he'd bring the kind of accountability that this team sorely needed. But I can't say I expected these returns this early. Beating a vastly superior Broncos bunch on Sunday was a pretty heady statement, showcasing the heart and professionalism of this outfit; it was the antithesis of what routinely happened in Buffalo under Rex Ryan. And this coming one month after the Bills traded away a couple of key players in Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby in order to wisely stockpile picks? Enjoy yourselves, Bills Mafia!
POWER RANKINGS ROUND-UP
No. 14 – Buffalo Bills
Admit it, you're sleeping on Buffalo. (It might be the boring games they've been involved in.) But they've also ceded league-low 37 points.
No. 15 – Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor was fantastic against the Broncos. He made some wonderful throws, and he helped the Bills offense go. He made plays both inside and outside the pocket.
It was smart that the Bills stuck with the running game even though it wasn't accomplishing much against the Denver defensive front. Sticking with the run is important for this team because it allows Taylor to thrive off play-action. It was important against Denver to not allow the game to devolve into a pass-fest.
The biggest thing for Buffalo, though, is the defense. It was strong in the first two weeks, and it was the difference-maker against Denver. The Bills forced two big interceptions, one that prevented a Denver score.
This is a team that is disciplined on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Bills are going to look for high-percentage plays. Defensively, they're not going to take many chances, but they're going to make opponents work for every yard.
No. 15 – Buffalo Bills
While not many people circled Broncos-Bills as a must-watch contest, or thought, Sure, Buffalo might lose, but the Bills will play Denver tough, Sunday's matchup at Ralph Wilson was perhaps the least-talked about upset of Week 3. Despite missing a couple of key players, the Bills controlled the engagement all second half. Forcing two Trevor Siemian turnovers and riding an effective Tyrod Taylor performance (20 of 26 passing for 2013 yards, two scores and a passer rating of 126.0), all of a sudden, the play-for-next-year fiction has been turned on its ear. Sean McDermott's defense, which has allowed 37 points in three games, has turned into viable-this-year nonfiction. Next up: at Falcons. Oh boy.
No. 15 – Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor: 59.6 Total QBR. Despite losing most of his favorite targets this offseason, Taylor currently sits ninth in Total QBR. Don't be surprised, though -- he finished in the top 10 in both 2015 and 2016, too. He'll try to grind out more yards and wins on the road over the next two weeks with stops in Atlanta and Cincinnati.
Relive Buffalo's memorable touchdowns from the Week 3 game against the Denver Broncos.