To some observers, it represented a "perfect storm.''
The Buffalo Bills star QB is a healthy elbow short of achieving his usual level of stardom. Super Bowl talk has been back-burnered after consecutive upset losses. Oh, and the Week 11 "home game'' wasn't at home.''
If the Cleveland Browns were ever going to pull off an upset? Detroit and Ford Field, the locale due to the "thundersnow'' that buried Western New York this weekend, was a stage set.
Instead, though, the Bills and QB Josh Allen - who'd vowed the skid "wouldn't divide or end us'' - vaulted away from the "storm'' and back nearer "perfect'' with a 31-23 winning performance that warms all of Buffalo ... and provides the Bills with a 7-3 record that keeps them among the AFC elite.
Kicker Tyler Bass was the hero, with six field goals and an extra point salvaging multiple Buffalo drives. Meanwhile, Allen, nursing a bum throwing elbow, nevertheless put behind him the level of mistakes that plagued him in back-to-back losses to the Jets and Vikings. Those two weeks featured a combined five turnovers from the Pro Bowl quarterback ... performances that he labeled as "crappy'' and "on my shoulders.''
Here, though, the game - not entirely on Allen's broad shoulders - saw him toss a TD pass to Stefon Diggs, but just as importantly commit no turnovers. Devin Singletary rushed for a TD and ran 14 times for 86 yards, and helper James Cook carried 11 times for 86 as well.
Meanwhile, the Matt Milano-led defense helped dump the Browns to 3-7 while springing just one leak as Cleveland receiver Amari Cooper (two TDs) seemed impossible to cover. But Jacoby Brissett, the QB placeholder in Cleveland until Deshaun Watson is eligible to come off suspension and take over in two weeks, was only occasionally effective. And not even the Browns' vaunted 1-2-punch running game, featuring Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, was much of a factor, in large part due to the Bills offense - well, the Bills' kicker - dictating the game script.
Buffalo did all of this even after having to cancel the Friday practice back home - but "meeting virtually'' and riding snowmobiles and emotion properly funneled must've been enough. ... and not even a neutral location due to the inclement weather was enough to continue the Bills' recent imperfections.
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