Four days after being stunned by a previous 1-5 New England Patriots team, the Buffalo Bills had the chance to redeem themselves on a short week.
In what was looking like a double-digit win, the Bills instead had to hold off a late Tampa Bay Buccaneers rally plus a mediocre final Hail Mary attempt to prevail 24-18.
The fan reactions were out in full force.
Buffalo Bills Needed To Be More Convincing
For ABC 7 Buffalo sports director Matthew Bove, he believed that the Bills could’ve easily put the Buccaneers away if it weren’t for a costly penalty during the game.
“I know there’s a lot of people mad about the second half but just remember, they were a dumb Jordan Phillips face mask penalty away from winning by 14,” Bove posted on X (formerly known as Twitter).
I know there’s a lot of people mad about the second half but just remember, they were a dumb Jordan Phillips face mask penalty away from winning by 14.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) October 27, 2023
Still, there were fans who pointed out that the Bills fall into this habit of “shooting themselves in the foot.”
Other fans, though, called out head coach Sean McDermott and his calls during the win.
“McDermott has exposed himself as the problem here,” another fan posted directly to the Bills’ X account.
Another fan concurred with, “he’s horrendous in close games.”
Some chose to deflect the blame to offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.
“Going conservative almost cost them,” one other Bills fan said.
What Went Right and What Didn’t for Buffalo?
Buffalo’s win came with mixed reviews. On the positive side, here’s what the Bills witnessed:
- Josh Allen delivered 324 passing yards, now his second-best output this season, while also improving his completion percentage to 77.5% (was at 65.9 in New England loss).
- Khalil Shakir delivered a season-high of six catches for 92 yards. In the process, he now has a combined 10 catches in his last two games.
- Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis both snatched nine catches apiece.
- Defensively, the Bills produced three sacks.
But here were the negative results on Buffalo’s side:
- Diggs and Davis had the same number of catches, but neither surpassed 100 yards and were bottled most of the night.
- Averaged 4.4 yards per carry, yet not one Bills rusher surpassed 68 yards rushing.
- Buffalo still surrendered two sacks on Allen. He even had to briefly go to the medical tent.
- The Bills’ first two drives combined for 18 total plays. Both ended with just a field goal and turnover on downs.
Allen told the Buffalo media that the Bills aimed to go with a more up-tempo approach, which included some new names with their audibles. But he admits that the 4th-and-2 scenario down in the red zone could’ve come with better execution on the offensive’s end.
“Lots to learn from,” Allen said. “But I thought our guys came out ready to play.”
Still, the Bills had a chance to put the game away but watched the Bucs turn to one final heave.
“You hate to have those last-second Hail Marys from the opposing side because you hold your breath and wait. I hate putting our defense in that situation. So we’ve got to go figure out how to finish the game on our terms,” Allen said.