Buffalo Bills: Three up and three down after Week 5

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills got a much-needed win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The win improved the Bills’ record to 2-3 on the season.

It wasn’t the prettiest win that you may have ever seen, but a win is a win and this one was huge for the Buffalo Bills.

A strong running game and a dominating defensive performance led the way for the Bills’ 13-12 victory on Stephen Hauschka’s last-second, 46-yard game-winning field goal.

Following the offensive debacle in Green Bay, Bills head coach Sean McDermott seemed intent on returning to a run-first offensive style and removing some of the burden from rookie quarterback Josh Allen‘s shoulders.

It worked on Sunday as the Bills ran the ball a whopping 43 times for 144 yards and the only touchdown of the game. Bills running back LeSean McCoy ran the ball 24 times for 85 yards on the day. The 24 carries were more than he had for the entire season entering the game.

On the defensive side of the ball the Bills continued to play fantastic defense, a trend that has now continued since the second half of the Los Angeles Chargers game in Week 2.

This week the Bills defense forced three turnovers and limited the Titans to only 221 total yards on the day. The Bills sacked Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota two times on the day, and he was under siege for the entire contest. Bluntly, it was a defensive domination on Sunday for the Bills.

Now let’s take a look at our “ups” and “downs” for Week 5.

3 Ups

1. CB Taron Johnson

Just another week on the “up” list for Johnson, who continues to dazzle in his rookie season and look like an absolute steal in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Johnson had four more tackles, a pass defended and an interception.

Johnson plays his position exactly how Sean McDermott wants his secondary players to play. He is physical, covers well and forces turnovers. Johnson is turning into a stud for the Bills.

2. RB Chris Ivory

Ivory was a battering ram on Sunday. While his 14 carries for 43 yards (3.1 yards per carry) are not eye popping, Ivory rammed his way for several first downs including converting two fourth downs. 15 of Ivory’s 43 yards also came on the game-winning drive.

Many fans criticized the Ivory signing in the offseason because his contract was a bit pricey for a backup running back, but Ivory proved his worth and more on Sunday. If the Bills are going to continue to employ a run-first offensive style then Ivory will earn every penny of his paycheck and then some.

3. RB LeSean McCoy

McCoy finally had a big game on Sunday and ran for 85 yards on 24 carries and had two receptions for 23 yards. It may not have been McCoy’s flashiest game or biggest statistical game but his contributions were vital to the Bills offense as he was the best offensive player on the field on Sunday for either team.

If the Bills are going to continue to win games and remain competitive this season, workloads like Sunday’s are going to become common for McCoy.

Combined with Ivory, the Bills had an excellent complementary running game on Sunday, which helped the Bills move the chains and get first downs and run out the clock and keep their defense fresh. Hopefully this game is the game we look back on as the game that finally got McCoy going.

3 Downs

1. P Corey Bojorquez

Bojorquez had a day to forget on Sunday. His punt in the first quarter was kicked to the wrong side of the field as the punt coverage had gone. This allowed for a 38-yard return and set the Titans up for a field goal.

Later, Bojorquez botched a field goal attempt when he inexplicably thought the play call was for a fake. He was quite obviously the only one who thought this and found himself in a terrible situation which he nearly made worse when he decided to throw the ball up for grabs. Luckily the ball fell incomplete but it very well could have gone back the other way for a touchdown.

Let’s hope days like Sunday never happen again for Bojorquez or the Bills might be giving Colton Schmidt a call to return to service.

2. WR Andre Holmes

Holmes had a perfectly thrown Josh Allen pass go right threw his hands which was then deflected for an interception. The pass, if caught, would have gone for a first down on a drive that saw the Bills clinging to a one-point lead in which they were trying to run out the clock.

The turnover resulted in the go-ahead field goal for the Titans. Luckily it did not factor into the outcome, but as a veteran receiver Holmes has to do better and secure the ball for a catch and help out his rookie quarterback.

3. CB Ryan Lewis 

Lewis had looked pretty good after his first two NFL games but he took a step back on Sunday. Lewis had a rough first half that saw him get beat for a couple of plays and he later saw himself benched in the second half in favor of Phillip Gaines.

Lewis is young and has now only played in three NFL games, but Sunday was easily the worst of the three. Lewis will need to take it as a learning opportunity to improve or he might find himself back on the bench.

Sunday was a good win for the Bills. It may not have been pretty or flashy, but it was a much-needed win.

Next. 5 reasons why the Bills took down the Titans. dark

The win got the Bills back to within a game of the AFC East lead as well as a game back of a AFC Wild Card spot. The Bills will likely need to continue to play top-notch defense and have success running the ball to continue to win, a trend that they look to continue on Sunday in Houston.