The Bills are becoming he greatest show on primetime. For the second straight week, Josh Allen and the offense dazzled in a blowout win. I’m sure the TV folks don’t regret putting them in so many night games, and they must wish that Sunday’s game in Miami could be on the big stage.
They’re also an endless fascination for statistical buffs. Every week, it seems, the Bills challenge some kind or record, or extend a remarkable individual or team superlative. Granted, it’s only two weeks into the season, but there are interesting trends that bear watching in the weeks ahead.
Remember, two years ago we began tracking Allen’s passing numbers and wondering if he would break some of the Bills’ franchise records. He broke Drew Bledsoe’s record for passing yards in a season and Jim Kelly’s marks for touchdown passes, completion percentage and passer rating.
Two weeks into the season, they’re at it again. Monday night’s 41-7 win over the Titans was the 20th consecutive Bills win that came by 10 points or more. That tied a record set by the Chicago Bears in 1941-42. That streak began before Pearl Harbor, when George Halas was head coach.
After only two games, the Bills are leading the NFL in scoring with 72 points. That’s on pace for 612 points, which would shatter the team record of 501 points set, yes, in 2020. By the way, the Broncos set the NFL record with 606 points in 2013 — in a 16-game season.
The Bills are already plus-55 in point differential. Last season, they finished plus-194 points in the regular year, the highest ever by a team that lost six games. It’s hard to imagine this team losing six times this season, and a point differential of plus-200 or more is certainly possible.
Allen continues to justify his status as an MVP frontrunner. Through two games, he’s 52-for-69 passing (75.4%) for 614 yards with seven TDs. He’s tied for first in TD passes, second in completion percentage, fourth in yards and second in QB rating (123.7) behind Patrick Mahomes.
Does Josh love the spotlight? In his last four games, all national TV games, Allen is 100-for-131 passing (76.3 percent) for 1,251 yards, with 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions. That’s against four playoff teams from last year, including the Super Bowl champs (Rams), the top AFC seed (Titans), the AFC title game loser (Chiefs) and the reviled Patriots.
Oh, Stefon Diggs loves prime-time as well. He joined Jerry Rice, the best receiver of all, as the only players with multiple three-touchdown games on Monday Night Football. Overall, it was his third game with 140-plus receiving yards and three receiving TDs. In the Super Bowl era, only four other men have three or much such games: Rice (7), Randy Moss (4), Marvin Harrison (3) and Tyreek Hill (3).
Diggs, who doesn’t worry about personal goals, now leads all NFL players in touchdowns with four. He’s second in catches (20) behind Cooper Kupp and second in receiving yards (270) behind Hill. Do you think those two might be motivated when the teams collide next Sunday in Miami?
What’s that? Defense? The Bills, who led the NFL in overall defense and scoring defense last season, are back near the top of the charts. They’re second in points allowed (17) behind Tampa Bay; second in total yards a game (215.0) to the Niners; first in yards per play against with a remarkable 3.6; and second in sacks behind the Buccaneers with nine — by six different guys.
Again, it’s only two weeks. As Sean McDermott and the players always tell us, they play them one game at a time and the next one is the only one that matters. But they’re also leaving an astonishing trail of excellence behind. History takes note, and the record books remember.
The Bills weren’t the only AFC East team sending people to the record books in Week 2. The Dolphins staged their largest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history, coming from 21 points down to shock the Ravens, 42-38. They outscored Baltimore, 28-3, in the fourth quarter.
The much-maligned Tua Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns, tying the team record for TD passes in a game. The Dolphins became the first team in NFL history to have a player throw for at least 400 yards and five touchdowns, plus two teammates going for 170-plus receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Tyreek Hill had 11 catches for 190 yards and two TDs against the Ravens. Jaylen Waddle had 11 for 171 and two scores. Hill joined Rice as the only players in the Super Bowl era with four games of 10 or more receptions, 150-plus yards and at least two TD catches in a game.
“It was like he was playing Madden,” Hill said of Tagovailoa, whose lack of arm strength has been an issue since Miami drafted him fifth overall in 2020.
Tagovailoa became the third Dolphin to throw for six TDs in a game, along with Bob Griese and Dan Marino. It was the fifth 450-yard passing performance in team history. Marino had the other four, including 521 yards in a 44-30 loss to the Jets in 1988.
Miami’s comeback was the biggest story of the NFL weekend, injecting a bit more drama into the Bills’ game next Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. Tua’s six TD tosses surely got the attention of the Buffalo defenders. The Bills gave up 12 touchdown passes last season, the fewest in the league.
Oh, that 21-point Miami comeback jogged my mind. I wondered if the Bills had been involved in the previous record comeback. Sure enough, Miami came back from a 23-3 deficit in the fourth to beat Buffalo, 24-23, in the infamous Sage Rosenfels game in December of 2005.
There’s been a lot of talk about Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes as the top two candidates for MVP. But Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts thrust himself into the conversation with his rousing performance in a 24-7 victory over the Vikings on Monday night.
Hurts was 26-for-31 passing for 333 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for two TDs. By halftime, Twitter was blowing up with early MVP talk. In the first half alone, Hurts was 17 of 20 passing for 251 yards and rushed for 50 yards and two TDs. That’s 301 total yards in a half!
It struck me as a Josh Allen-type game, further evidence that mobile QBs are fully in vogue. In fact, Hurts’ stat line seemed awfully familiar. Allen was also 26-for-31 passing in the opener at the Rams. Allen had 10 carries for 56 yards in the opener. Hurts ran 11 times for 57 yards on Monday.
Hurts completed passes to eight different receivers (as Allen did against the Titans). That included seven catches for 80 yards by DeVonta Smith, who had none in the opener against the Lions.
There were a lot of questions about Hurts as a passer coming out of college. He played three years at Alabama and finished with one year at Oklahoma. He’s always been a threat with his legs, but if his accuracy and acumen continue to improve, he’s a legitimate MVP candidate.
OK, I know it’s early. But how about a Super Bowl between the Bills and Eagles, featuring two of the game’s most dynamic quarterbacks?
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Is He Owned?
This week’s fantasy football find is Dallas wide receiver Noah Brown, who led the Cowboys with five receptions — on five targets — for 91 yards and his first career touchdown in a 20-17 victory over the Bengals on Sunday.
Brown leads the Cowboys with 10 catches, one more than CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz. He has good chemistry with backup quarterback Cooper Rush, who was thrust into the starting role when Dak Prescott went down with a thumb injury in the opener against the Bucs.
Over his first four NFL seasons, Brown was primarily a run blocker and special teams guy. He developed chemistry with Prescott last season and caught 16 passes a year ago, including a career-high six receptions in an overtime loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving.
Brown, who tied an Ohio State record with four TD catches in one game, was rostered in just .8 percent of ESPN leagues as of last week. He’d be a solid play at flex this week, especially if tight end Dalton Schultz is sidelined by a knee injury.
- Guess who’s the only NFL player with two sacks and an interception? It’s former Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, who had two sacks and a pick in the opener for Houston, batting a Matt Ryan pass to himself. Hughes, 34, was quiet in Week 2. Typical Jerry.
- Detroit wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown had nine catches for 116 yards in a win over Washington, becoming the third receiver in history with eight or more catches in eight straight games. Antonio Brown did it in 2014 and Michael Thomas in 2019.
- In another AFC East comeback story, the Jets became the first NFL team since 2001 to overcome a 13-point deficit and win in the last two minutes of regulation in a 31-30 win over Cleveland. … In that game, Jets quarterback Joe Flacco threw four TD passes. It was his first game with three of more TDs in a win since tossing three in Baltimore’s 47-3 rout of the Bills in the 2018 opener.
- Khalil Mack, now with the Chargers, is second in the NFL in sacks with 3.5. The former UB star trails Micah Parsons of the Cowboys, who has four, two in each game. Watching Parsons, you feel Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 is in jeopardy.
- Eagles cornerback Darius Slay had two interceptions and allowed only one catch on six targets when matched up with Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson on Monday night. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.