The Bills shocked the football world in Week 3 of the 2018 season, upsetting the heavily-favored Minnesota Vikings in U.S. Bank Stadium. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen did not look like a rookie in what was just his second career start, scoring three touchdowns on the day. Bleacher Report writer Kristopher Knox gave the Bills an A-plus for their Week 3 performance, writing that Allen led the way for the team.
While the dramatic turnaround of Buffalo's defense should be the big takeaway, all the buzz has been about rookie quarterback Josh Allen. The Wyoming product finished 15-of-22 for 196 yards and a touchdown while rushing for two more.
Allen still has a lot to learn about being an NFL signal-caller—avoiding unnecessary hits is lesson No. 1—but it's hard to deny his athleticism and arm strength. Both were on full display against the Vikings, and it was easy to see the raw potential that made the Bills fall in love with him.
Though Allen was the one who was directly responsible for a good portion of Buffalo's 27 points, the Bills' defense set the offense up for glory on a number of occasions throughout the day. Buffalo's defensive unit forced three turnovers on the day (two fumbles, one interception). In addition to being incredibly aggressive, the Bills' defense was stout, limiting Minnesota to just 45 first half yards. CBS Sports analyst John Breech gave Buffalo an A-plus in their Week 3 win, crediting the defense for the victory.
Maybe Vontae Davis was holding the Bills' defense back. One week after the cornerback ditched the team at halftime of a loss, the Bills defense responded by playing their best game of the season. Led by Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy -- who both caused fumbles -- the Bills racked up four sacks on Kirk Cousins. Oh, and we should probably give some credit to Josh Allen, who stiff-armed and hurdled the Vikings defense for 39 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns. In his first road start, the rookie also threw for 196 yards and a touchdown.
The Bills entered their matchup with the Vikings as 16.5 point underdogs, the largest Week 3 spread. Buffalo made history with their upset victory, becoming just the fifth 15-plus point underdog to win a game since 1990. The Ringer writer Rodger Sherman thinks that the Bills deserved the win.
… the Bills won! They became the largest underdog to win since 1995. And they didn't just win—they won by 21. Underdogs of at least 15 points had a 4.2 winning percentage since 1990, with no wins by more than seven points. The Bills won by three dang touchdowns. Buffalo looked legitimately great. They didn't allow any points until the fourth quarter. Josh Allen jumped over a guy.
Buffalo scored more points in Week 3 than it did in Weeks 1 and 2 combined, and the Bills did so without the backbone of their offense. Running back LeSean McCoy missed the game after suffering a rib injury in the Bills' Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. NBC Sports writer Peter King feels as though Allen shined as the leader of the Bills' offense in McCoy's absence.
Impressive, too, was Josh Allen. The thing no one knew about Allen—other than whether he'd be accurate enough in the NFL—was how he'd adjust to the jump in level of play. At Wyoming, he didn't respond well in games against major-college teams. In this game, playing without his biggest offensive weapon, LeSean McCoy (bruised ribs), Allen showed a great touch for knowing when to take chances and when to hold onto the ball. "No turnovers," he said, proudly, from the bus on the way to the airport post-game. His best moment, easily: the Saquon-like hurdling of Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr on the Bills' third touchdown drive.
A few analysts credited Buffalo's Week 3 win to Allen. Others feel as though the defense led the team to victory. CBS Sports writer Will Brinson chalks it up to coaching.
Brinson feels as though the Bills executed on a strong game plan en route to a win that nobody was expecting.
The Buffalo Bills might not even know where the state of Minnesota is located on a map, but they sure knew how to put together a plan on Sunday to pull off the most shocking upset in the last decade or so. Buffalo, a historic 16.5-point underdog to the Vikings, completely flipped the script on an NFC contender, throttling the Vikings 27-6 in a game no one saw coming.
Sunday's game was just the second start of Allen's career. He showed a lot of promise in the contest, flashing his arm strength and athleticism. NFL.com writer Kevin Parta thinks that Allen and the Bills can build off of this outing moving forward.
The future showed up for Buffalo. Josh Allen played like his hair was on fire early, making heady plays, throwing darts, and using his feet when necessary to baffle the Vikings defense. Credit the Bills coaching staff for giving the rookie quarterback a bevy of quick throws early to get Allen in a groove and aid a struggling offensive line. Playing sans LeSean McCoy, Buffalo supplemented the ground game with short strikes and screens. Allen maneuvered in the pocket well in the first half and made the correct read time after time.
The quarterback showed poise on several throws out of the pocket, including finding Chris Ivory on a rollout for a 55-yard catch and run. Allen finished 15-of-22 for 196 yards, 8.9 yards per attempt, one TD throw, a QB rating of 111.2 and two rushing scores. His numbers would have been better had Bills receivers not dropped several passes, including an Allen deep dime that slid through the hands of Robert Foster. As impressive as Allen was Sunday with his arm, it was his feet that confounded Minnesota early. Anthony Barr was a victim of several Allen runs. The LB was out-dashed for a touchdown, got hurdled by Allen (seriously), and stiff-armed on a play in which Barr was called for a horse-collar penalty.
There will be ups-and-downs for Allen moving forward, but Sunday's outing was a reminder what the athletic, big-armed QB brings to the table.