Game Review and Game Balls: Vikings at Bills


What a thrilling victory for the Buffalo Bills. The final two plus minutes of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings will go down as one of the best comebacks in Buffalo Bills history. While the entirety of the game may have been rather ugly, no Bills fan will complain with the victory, or that thrilling ending. The 80 yard game winning drive that Kyle Orton lead the Bills on could very well be a moment that we look back on as a determining factor on whether or not the Bills make the playoffs.

For the better part of four quarters the Bills played sloppy football. They sustained two huge injuries when Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller both left the game on a cart. The offensive line couldn’t block anyone, and it seemed that every time the Bills had a good drive going it sputtered out when they turned the ball over. Luckily for the Bills their defense kept them in the game until the very end, allowing Kyle Orton and the offense the chance to redeem themselves with a game winning drive for the ages.

Being that many fans have hopes that this may finally be the season where the Bills return to the playoffs, every win matters. It does not always have to be pretty or perfect, but a win is a win. In addition to the fact that the Bills won the game despite struggling for most of the game to get out of their own way, they also had a huge come from behind victory. These are the type of wins that can bring a team together, give them confidence, and lead to a nice winning streak. The Bills are hoping that’s exactly what happens after Sundays win.

When the Bills made the switch from EJ Manuel to Kyle Orton they did so because Kyle Orton provided the Bills a better chance to win. One of the reasons why Orton provides this is because of his veteran leadership ability and his experience in big spots. That is exactly where the Bills and Orton found themselves Sunday afternoon. Whether or not EJ Manuel could have lead the Bills on a similar game winning drive is irrelevant. The fact is that the Bills won the game Sunday due in part to Kyle Orton and a little something that we call clutch. Orton was clutch Sunday, nailing two huge throws when many thought the game was all but lost.

Not many teams convert 4th and 20 and even fewer convert when the game is on the line. But the Bills did. Scott Chandler had just dropped a huge pass that would have given the Bills a first down on 2nd and 17. After Orton was once again sacked, the Bills found themselves at 4th and 20. Orton did not blink or hesitate, instead he went right back to Chandler who hauled in a perfect pass for a 24 yard gain and a first down. Those fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium who had already began filing for the exits where scrambling to make their way back to their seats.

A few plays later the Bills got called for intentional grounding. They lost the down, and 10 seconds off the clock after the mandatory run off. It didn’t matter. Kyle Orton responded by finding Chris Hogan for an incredible 28 yard catch which placed the Bills at the 2.5 yard line. Orton was cool and calm when he raced to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball and stop the clock with 5 seconds left. The reeling Vikings had no choice but to call a timeout. The Bills were on the cusp of a miraculous win.

If you have ever watched football before you know that it is very much a sport of momentum. When the Bills found themselves on the 2.5 yard line they had all the momentum. All that stood between the Bills and victory was 2 yards. As soon as Kyle Orton took the snap he knew where he was going with the ball: Sammy Watkins. Orton threw a perfect pass, Watkins made a great catch, and the Bills won the game. Instantly nothing else about the game mattered other than the fact that the Bills won the game, improved to 4-3, and kept their hold on second place in the AFC East.

So, who earned game balls for Sunday’s rousing, thrilling, amazing win? Let’s take a look:

1) Kyle Orton: Orton turned the ball over twice (both his fault) but he also took an absolute pounding. He kept getting up and despite being bloodied and battered due to poor offensive line play, he found a way to win the game. It marked the 3rd game of his Bills career and he was once again near 300 yards passing. Kyle Orton might not be perfect or elite, but he is a damn good quarterback and the best option that the Bills have right now.

2) Sammy Watkins: Watkins was awesome on Sunday and showed just why the Bills traded up and gave up what they did to get him. He was a stud and was the best player on the field Sunday. If Watkins keeps playing like this he may very well end up rookie of the year. The Bills need to get Watkins the ball as much as possible because when they do, good things always happen.

3) The Defense: The Bills defense kept the Bills in the game and let the offense have one last shot at winning the game. They forced two turnovers and provided consistent pressure on Teddy Bridgewater for the entire game. They may have given up more than we are used to on the ground, but they always found a way to make the big play when the Bills needed it most. This was a great bounce back game for the defense after being gouged by the Patriots the week prior.

It was an amazing feeling after the Bills won the game on Sunday and I am very happy that they won the game because I honestly did not want to write about how they lost to an inferior Vikings team. With that being said, the Bills are 4-3 and travel to New Jersey to face the Jets on Sunday. The game will mark their last game before the bye week, and with a win the Bills will improve to 5-3. Hopefully the Bills get the job done Sunday because sitting at 5-3 at the bye week and halfway mark of the season will be a great start toward hopefully making the playoffs this year.