The Buffalo Bills got their first divisional win this season, winning 24-10 on Thursday on the road against the New England Patriots.
Josh Allen was efficient, completing 22 of his 33 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, including an acrobatic throw near the sideline to Gabriel Davis for an 8-yard score. Stefon Diggs also had a big day with seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.
The Bills’ defense settled down after allowing a touchdown in the first quarter, holding New England to just a field goal for the rest of the game.
Here are three takeaways from Buffalo’s key divisional win. ...
Back in first place:
After winning back-to-back AFC titles, Buffalo was the odds-on favorite to take the division crown for the third straight year.
That path has hit a fork in the road with the emergence of the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. Buffalo has lost to both teams and faces them in its next two games.
With its win over New England, Buffalo moved back into first place by half a game over Miami. While the Bills would move back into second place if the Dolphins beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, keeping pace will be pivotal until they meet again on Dec. 18.
Let James Cook cook:
The emergence of James Cook is essential for the Bills' offense.
Allen often leads Buffalo in passing and rushing yards. Maintaining that, combined with the elbow injury he’s nursing, would be too much for most quarterbacks. Cook did his part, rushing for 64 yards on 14 attempts, and catching six passes for 41 yards.
If Cook can continue to perform at this level, in combo with Devin Singletary, it’ll make Buffalo’s offense even deadlier.
The Bills’ next two games may very well decide their season.
They host the Jets on Dec. 11 and the Dolphins on Dec. 18. The top seed is still well within reach for the Bills, especially with the tie-breaker over the Kansas City Chiefs after a win on Oct. 16.
If the Bills want the AFC playoffs to run through Buffalo, they have to win each of its next two games to have a shot.
Thanks for reading our SI-powered coverage of your Buffalo Bills ... Bills Mafia! Get your Buffalo game tickets from SI Tickets ... here!