This isn't a story about some internal conflict that the Bills quarterback might be having, it's a story about how Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen helped his team engineer a stunning 9-6 win over the Bills, which will go down as one of the biggest upsets in recent NFL history.
With both offenses struggling, this was a game where the winner was going to need their defense to make a big play and that's exactly what Allen did for the Jaguars. In one of the most dominant defensive performances of the season, Allen recovered a fumble, picked off a pass and recorded a sack and the Jags needed every bit of that to pull off the stunner.
The interception came in the third quarter at a time when the game was tied 6-6.
After the interception, the Jaguars got the ball at Buffalo's 30-yard line and although they didn't get a touchdown out of the possession, they did get what would end up being the game-winning points when Matthew Wright hit a 21-yard field goal. It was one of three field goals from Wright, who also hit from 39 and 55.
As for Allen -- the Jaguars one -- his day of making big plays wasn't over after the interception. After the Bills quickly got in field goal range late in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars' defense needed a big play and that's what it once again got from its Allen.
That Allen fumble recovery came on a THIRD-DOWN play from Jacksonville's 37-yard line. If Allen just throws an incomplete pass there, the Bills could have tied the game with a field goal on the next play, but they never got the chance due to the Jaguars' fumble recovery.
Although Allen's first-half sack wasn't as big as the interception or his fumble recovery, it was notable, because it marked the first time in NFL history that a quarterback got sacked by a player of the same name.
The crazy thing about this game for the Jaguars is that they beat the highest-scoring offense in the NFL on a day where Jacksonville only totaled 218 yards. The reason they were able to do that is because of a nearly perfect performance from both Allen and the rest of the Jaguars' defense.
Jacksonville 9-6 over Buffalo
|This game was an offensive disaster for the Bills, who simply couldn't do anything right on that side of the ball on Sunday. Josh Allen looked like he time-traveled and let the 2018 version of himself play in Jacksonville. Allen was a turnover machine in 2018 and that version of the QB returned in a game where he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. The Bills only had one drive in the entire game that made it inside of Jacksonville's 20-yard line and that came on their first possession. After that, the highest-scoring offense in the NFL had no answers for the Jaguars' defense. This might go down as the most embarrassing loss by any team in 2021.|
|Josh Allen might have been the star of the show for Jacksonville, but the Jags were able to win because they got a little bit of help from everyone. The Jags scored on two of their first three possessions and that was mostly because Trevor Lawrence started off pretty hot, going 8 of 11 for 67 yards on those two scoring drives. Carlos Hyde also gave the Jags an impressive performance as he rushed for 67 yards while filling in for an injured James Robinson. Of course, the Jags wouldn't have won this game without kicker Matthew Wright, who scored all of Jacksonville's points with field goals from 21, 39 and 55 yards.|
Pittsburgh 29-27 over Chicago (Monday)
|The Bears dug themselves into an early 14-0 hole and the crazy thing is that they actually clawed their way out of it to take a fourth-quarter lead thanks to a magical second half from Justin Fields. The rookie QB threw for 228 yards and a touchdown during a second half where the Bears fought back from a 23-13 deficit to take a 27-26 lead. The Bears didn't escape with a win, though, because they made too many mistakes, including two turnovers. They also didn't get any help from a flag-happy officiating crew that seemed to penalize the Bears every time they even breathed. Chicago was flagged 12 times for 115 yards, which is the fourth-highest total for any team in a game that didn't go to overtime this year.|
|The Steelers weren't overly impressive in this win, but they did seem to come up with a big play whenever they needed one. Defensively, one of those big plays came in the first quarter when Cam Heyward picked off Fields to set up a Steelers touchdown. Offensively, the Steelers didn't produce any eye-popping numbers, but Ben Roethlisberger did engineer a last-minute comeback by going 4 of 4 for 51 yards to set up Chris Boswell's game-winning field goal from 40 yards out. Boswell ended up being the star of the game for the Steelers as he made three kicks on the night, including the game-winner (40, 52, 54). The Steelers started hot and they ended hot, but they left a lot to be desired in-between.|
Miami 17-9 over Houston
|With Tyrod Taylor making his first start in seven weeks, it was expected that he might be a little rusty on Sunday, but the way he played, it looked like his arm was actually made of rust. The Texans QB had one of the most embarrassing outings of his career in a game where he threw three interceptions. Those picks led to 14 points for the Dolphins and in a defensive struggle, that was the difference. Despite Taylor's struggles, the Texans did make four trips into the red zone, but they came away with zero touchdowns.|
|The Dolphins' offense didn't do very much in this game, but that didn't matter, because their defense did enough to win it. The Dolphins had Taylor running for his life for the better part of four quarters. Not only did they pick him off three times, but they also sacked the Texans quarterback a total of five times with 2.5 of those coming from Emmanuel Ogbah. Although the offense was quiet for most of the day, the Dolphins did make several huge plays, including a spectacular one-handed catch from Mike Gesicki that went for 18 yards (you can see the play by clicking here). This win wasn't pretty, but when you're 1-7 going into a game, you can't really complain about what your wins look like.|
Atlanta 27-25 over New Orleans
|If you've seen one Falcons collapse, you've seen them all, but one thing most Falcons fans haven't seen is a collapse that ends with a win. Despite blowing an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Falcons still managed to pull off the upset thanks to a 64-yard catch from Cordarrelle Patterson that set up Younghoe Koo's game-winning field goal as time expired. It was fitting that Patterson came up with the big play because he made plenty of them on a day where he caught six passes for 126 yards. Matt Ryan crossed the 300-yard mark for the third time in four weeks, throwing for 343 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Falcons limited the Saints to just three points through the first three quarters. This was the Falcons' first game since the Braves won the World Series and if we learned one thing here, it's that everything seems to be coming up Atlanta this year.|
|In this game, Trevor Siemian made his first start in more than two years and the problem for the Saints is that he looked like a quarterback who was making his first start in more than two years. During a disastrous first half, the Saints only crossed Atlanta's 45-yard line one time and they never came close to scoring. A big reason the Saints struggled early is because they simply couldn't convert on third down (3 of 10). Although the offense bounced back in the fourth quarter to give the Saints the lead, the defense went into meltdown mode by giving up a 64-yard pass to Patterson.|
N.Y. Giants 23-16 over Las Vegas
|In an emotionally draining week for the Raiders, they came out and played like an emotionally drained team. Derek Carr made two big mistakes in the second half and both of them ended up being costly. The biggest one came when he threw a pick-six on the the Raiders' opening possession of the second half, which allowed the Giants to take a 17-13 lead. Carr also threw another pick in the fourth quarter that led to a field goal for the Giants. The Raiders also got an uncharacteristic mistake from kicker Daniel Carlson, who missed a 25-yard field goal in the second half, which was the shortest miss in his career and the shortest miss by any NFL kicker this year.|
|Hopefully Giants coach Joe Judge gave the game ball to Xavier McKinney, because the New York safety almost single-handedly won this game for his team. Not only did McKinney come up with a 41-yard pick-six in the third quarter, but he added another key interception in the fourth quarter that set the Giants up with the ball at midfield. Offensively, the Giants game plan revolved around Devontae Booker, who carried the ball 21 times for 99 yards. This was a big win for a Giants team that's now only 1.5 games out of the final wild card spot in the NFC.|
New England 24-6 over Carolina
|New England didn't play a perfect game by any means, but it was able to rise to the occasion when it needed to, particularly in the first half. When the Patriots turned the ball over twice (a fumble and interception by Mac Jones), the defense held Carolina to a field goal each time and the offense was able to respond with two 75-yard touchdown drives on its ensuing possessions. In the second half, the defense really started to put pressure on Sam Darnold and forced him into three interceptions over the final two quarters, including a pick-6 by J.C. Jackson. New England also shut out the Panthers over that stretch.|
|Carolina was able to get the lead early and force a couple of first-half turnovers, but that was really all of the highlights it was bringing to the table in Week 9. Matt Rhule's team was shut out for the final two quarters and watched as Darnold committed three turnovers, which included a pick-6. Whenever your team has as many interceptions (3) as third-down conversions (3), that's hardly a recipe for success. Where Darnold particularly struggled was when he was flushed out of the pocket. At one point, he missed six of his passes outside of the pocket with two interceptions. Again, that's not exactly a winning formula as Carolina loses its fifth game in six weeks. |
Patriots-Panthers grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Denver 30-16 over Dallas
|Things felt like they'd get out of hand early, and they did, but not for Denver. After seeing the Cowboys easily make their way into the Broncos' backfield to pressure Teddy Bridgewater in the first quarter, credit the Denver coaching staff for making adjustments that Dallas couldn't adapt to. And the dominance didn't stop at the offense, because the Broncos' defense looked as if it had four Von Millers on its defensive front -- having its way with a Cowboys offensive line that lacked the presence of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. It wasn't a perfect game by the Broncos, but it was damn good, and it wasn't anything the Cowboys were ready for.|
|If there was a such thing as an "F-", the Cowboys would've earned it here. Offensively, the return of Dak Prescott meant nothing, because he had arguably the worst game of his career. Defensively, after a strong start, the Cowboys quickly devolved into Swiss cheese that allowed Bridgewater to take advantage of every hole he could find. Things were equally bad on special teams, because outside of the first return of the game by Tony Pollard going for more than 50 yards, the only notable item was a negative one -- when Malik Turner blocked a punt that was awarded to the Broncos because of a rare NFL rule. This game served as a reminder that even the mighty can be toppled.|
Broncos-Cowboys grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cleveland 41-16 over Cincinnati
|Denzel Ward set the tone with his pick-six on the game's opening drive. The Browns' secondary made a slew of big plays following Ward's pick-six. With the Browns leading 14-7, Troy Hill's fourth-down breakup of a Joe Burrow pass set up Baker Mayfield's 60-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones on the very next play. AJ Green's recovery of John Johnson III's forced fumble on the Bengals' next drive set up Chase McLaughlin's 27-yard field goal. The unit kept a close eye on Bengals rookie sensation Ja'Marr Chase, who was held to 49 yards on six receptions. It was an extremely efficient day for Mayfield, who went 14 of 21 for 218 yards with touchdown passes to Peoples-Jones and tight end David Njoku. Nick Chubb ran through and around Cincinnati's defense to the tune of 137 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. In this game, the Browns became the first team since 1967 to record record a pass TD, a rush TD and defensive TD that all went for 60 or more yards. |
|Along with not forcing a turnovers, the Bengals coughed the ball up three times that led to 13 Cleveland points. Two of those turnovers were off the right arm of Burrow, who has thrown seven interceptions in the Bengals' last five games. The 20th-ranked third-down offense in the NFL entering the game, the Bengals were just 3 of 15 on third and fourth downs on Sunday. Cincinnati also endured two big drops by Chase, who had his least productive day as a pro. With Chase blanked all day, the Bengals received a solid afternoon from Tee Higgins, who led the team with 78 yards on six receptions. Cincinnati also received a strong effort by Joe Mixon, who tallied 110 total yards and two touchdowns. While they were tough on third down, the Bengals' defense wasn't nearly as good on first or second down. Poor tackling was also an issue, as several Cincinnati defenders bounced off of Chubb during his back-breaking, 70-yard touchdown run.|
Browns-Bengals grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 34-31 (OT) over Minnesota
|This was a deflating loss for a Minnesota team that seems to have perfected the art of deflating losses. The Vikings were up 24-10 in the third quarter and it felt like they were up even more than that at times. You expect your team to win games like these. Dalvin Cook was good, Kirk Cousins was fine but the defense had too many lapses. This is a solid squad, but Sunday marked two bad losses in a row. Something needs to change for the Vikings.|
|It wasn't a perfect outing for the Ravens, but they got the win and that's what matters. Lamar Jackson and Co. came out looking like they had a major bye week hangover, but they were able to rebound in the second half with three straight touchdown drives. There are still questions when it comes to the defense and then of course overall consistency, but a win is a win.|
Vikings-Ravens grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Chargers 27-24 over Philadelphia
|Give Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi credit for taking what the Eagles' defense gave them in the win. No blitzing by the Eagles and not forcing Justin Herbert off his spot led to easy drives down the field by the Chargers, who put up 445 yards against an Eagles defense that let Herbert pick it apart. The Chargers were wise not to run the ball with Philadelphia allowing them to dink and dunk their way down the field -- and score points in the process. The Chargers made sure the Eagles didn't get the ball back with 6:08 left after Philadelphia tied it, as Herbert threw just one incomplete pass on the final drive and Austin Ekeler had the big 16-yard run to make Dustin Hopkins' winning field goal a chip shot. The Chargers may not be elite, but they have an elite quarterback and earned a much-needed win on the East Coast. The Eagles gave them everything they could handle.|
|Nick Sirianni lived up to his end of the bargain, continuing to run the football consistently and setting his young quarterback up to succeed late. Jalen Hurts went toe to toe with Herbert and matched him as the offense went into a track meet with the Chargers in the second half. Hurts had big throws to Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith, after struggling through a lackluster first half. The Eagles quarterback did everything he could to keep Philadelphia in the game, making up for a passive defense that couldn't stop Herbert. Herbert became the fifth quarterback to complete 80% of his passes against the Eagles' defense this year, as Philadelphia allowed the Chargers to score on all their second-half possessions. Herbert completed all the underneath passes because the Eagles' defensive backs played back and refused to blitz the quarterback consistently. The end result was Herbert completing 84% of his passes and throwing for 356 yards and two touchdowns. An embarrassing effort by a defense that is getting outcoached every week, yet played well enough to win against a good team. |
Chargers-Eagles grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Arizona 31-17 over San Francisco
|This was truly one of the more impressive victories Arizona has secured this season. The Cardinals did not have Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins or A.J. Green on Sunday, but it didn't matter. Colt McCoy and the defense were able to get Arizona back into the win column against a familiar foe. Chase Edmonds went down with an injury, so it was the James Conner show. He exploded for 96 yards rushing, 77 receiving and three total touchdowns. It says something about this team that it was able to come out and dominate without several notable players dressed.|
|The boo birds were out in Santa Clara on Sunday, as McCoy and Conner dominated the 49ers. Even without having to face Murray and Hopkins, the 49ers' defense allowed 437 yards of total offense. San Francisco recorded just 39 total rushing yards and turned the ball over three times. A pretty ugly loss for a team that should have been more competitive. This defense is not good and the 49ers have now lost 10 of their past 11 homes games. |
Cardinals-49ers grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Kansas City 13-7 over Green Bay
|On one hand, they took the Chiefs to the wire with Jordan Love making his first career start on short notice, with reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers absent. On the other hand, they did absolutely nothing on offense for more than a half, and their special teams blunders cost them a legitimate chance at a road upset in their hunt for the NFC's No. 1 seed. The defense deserves props for keeping Kansas City on its streak of sloppy performances, but this was still an ugly outing.|
|They got the win, which isn't nothing. And Steve Spagnuolo definitely dialed up the right calls for most of their battle, taking advantage of Love's green pocket presence. But let's face it: this was another very ugly showing for a team that's supposed to be routing clubs en route to a deep playoff run. Patrick Mahomes deserves credit for not turning it over this time around (?), but he was erratic once more despite trying aggressively to stay conservative. Good for them stacking victories, but big-picture-wise, they've not improved much.|
Packers-Chiefs grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tennessee 28-16 over L.A. Rams
|Tennessee's defense stepped up in a big way and changed the game with back-to-back interceptions in the second quarter, including a pick-six from Kevin Byard. Jeffery Simmons basically took the whole game over by himself with three sacks. The offense did enough with the opportunities it was given, and managed to pull off an upset without Derrick Henry. One of the best wins any team has had this season.|
|If it weren't for similarly inexplicable losses by the Bills and Cowboys, this would have been the most disappointing performance of the day. The Rams needed a win to keep pace with the Cardinals, and they laid an egg at home in prime time against an opponent they should have dominated.|
Titans-Rams grades by Jared Dubin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
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