ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Week 8 was an opportunity for the Buffalo Bills to silence a few more critics against a battered but talented opponent. Instead, the Bills will have a few more critics to face come Monday morning.
The Philadelphia Eagles pushed Buffalo around for four quarters Sunday en route to a 31-13 victory. It marked the Bills’ worst loss since Nov. 4, 2018, and a validation of Eagles coach Doug Pederson’s statement earlier this week that his team was “angry.”
While temporarily deflating, the loss puts Buffalo at 5-2 entering its Week 9 game against Washington (1-7) — a record that keeps the Bills in the hunt for one of the AFC’s two wild-card spots.
Describe the game in two words: Ugly loss. Bills safety Micah Hyde said after last week’s win against the Dolphins that he would “rather have an ugly win than an ugly loss,” and the Eagles served up the latter Sunday. Philadelphia nearly had as many rushing yards (218) as Buffalo had in total yards (253). The Eagles averaged more than 6.0 yards per play for most of the game (finishing with 5.5) in a thoroughly dominant effort.
Pivotal play: If every turnover is a bad turnover, then there have to be varying degrees of bad; Bills quarterback Josh Allen‘s fumble in the second quarter falls on the less-desirable side of that scale. On the first play following the two-minute warning in the second quarter, Allen lost the ball on a designed run at the Bills’ 24-yard line. The Eagles scored in five plays, taking a lead they would never come close to relinquishing.
Troubling trends: There are two troubling trends surrounding the Bills at this point — the most prevalent being the fact they have trailed in six of their seven games to date. Buffalo had made a habit of either staging a comeback or stamping out its opponents in the fourth quarter before Sunday’s loss, but that model of play isn’t sustainable. Bills players insist they haven’t played their best game — but one could imagine that their best game is one they lead from start to finish. The second and more recent trend involved the 52 points Buffalo’s defense has allowed over the past two games after holding each of its first five opponents under 17 points. With the Browns, Ravens, Cowboys and Patriots remaining on their schedule, it’s a trend the Bills need to reverse.
Silver lining: It’s difficult to find one, but wide receiver John Brown continued his trek toward a career season with five catches for 54 yards against Philadelphia. He’s still on pace for 1,204 receiving yards in his first season with the Bills.
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