The matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams on Sunday was a tale of two halves. Buffalo jumped out to a big lead and was up 28-3 in the third quarter, but the Rams did not go peacefully into the night. Spurred by a controversial John Johnson III interception, Jared Goff rallied Los Angeles back to take a 32-28 lead late. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was given the ball with one final opportunity and dug deep to lead a game-winning drive featuring a controversial pass interference penalty and an unfathomable escape from the grasp of Sean McVay's defense.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had a stellar individual performance recording two sacks and an important forced fumble and recovery. Buffalo survives in a thriller, 35-32, while Los Angeles evaluates how the game initially got out of hand.
Why the Bills won
Josh Allen was a wizard in the first half. He avoided contact, stood tall in the pocket and threw with accuracy down the field. When the dust settled, Allen had completed 24 of 33 passes attempts for 311 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Media members used to mention the Wyoming product's streak of games without a 300-yard passing effort every chance offered. In each of the first three games of the 2020 regular season, he has thrown in excess of 300 yards. The narrative has not only died but been buried.
For as long as the quarterback holds the ball, the Buffalo offensive line has held up well. He has received huge contributions from wide receivers Stefon Diggs, rookie Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley.
Why the Rams lost
A team can not expect to fall behind 28-3 in the second half and win on the road. Los Angeles put together some long drives in the first half and actually won the time of possession battle. However, the Rams have to come away with points on those long possessions. Instead, they suffered from a missed field goal and an interception.
When two good teams are playing, the margin of error is slim. Unfortunately for the Rams, they waited too long to put some points on the board but never folded, to their credit. Most teams would have cut their losses and moved onto the following week.
This segment was tailor-made for the John Johnson III interception in the third quarter. Buffalo was still leading 28-10 when Tyler Kroft shoved off to create space for a catch down the boundary. Johnson ripped at the ball and the officials ruled it an interception despite it looking like Kroft hadn't lost the ball by the time he hit the ground. The play was reviewed and the call stood.
At best, the play looked like a tie, which means the ball should have remained with Buffalo. Instead, it was a game-altering turnover that sparked Los Angeles' revival.
The Rams would eventually take a 32-28 lead. They were in a position to secure the largest comeback in franchise history, surpassing a 24-point deficit to Tampa Bay in 1992. However, Allen was able to muster one final touchdown drive as time ticked away in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
Play of the game
With a little more than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, Allen found wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the back of the end zone as the Rams' pass rush was closing in on him. The quarterback was able to wait and risk taking a big hit to push his team further forward on third-and-goal. The score improved Buffalo's lead to 28-3 at the time.
Buffalo, who remains undefeated with today's decision, will have back-to-back road games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans. The Titans also improved to 3-0 after a Sunday win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Rams fall to 2-1, but the NFC West has solidified its argument as the toughest division in football. The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks are undefeated, with the Rams and 49ers close behind. Los Angeles hosts the woeful New York Giants next week; Sean McVay's team should be heavy favorites in that contest.