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Singletary, defense carry Allen to win

Carmen's Column

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

After the first half of Sunday’s game, the only good thing Bills fans saw from their team was the performance of the defense. After being put in an awful position over and over again because of the inability to take care of the ball on offense, the Bills defense didn’t even allow a point to the New York Jets.

The Bills offense, however, gave up six points after a Josh Allen interception returned for a touchdown. That total increased to eight points after Frank Gore was stuffed in the end zone for a safety. The Jets immediately marched 60 yards down the field after the safety and scored a touchdown and two-point conversion for a 16-0 lead. To that point, the Bills had four turnovers — all by Josh Allen.

Then all of a sudden, it changed. Devin Singletary had a 20-yard carry that finally gave the Bills offense some life. Next, after Buffalo was bailed out by a roughing the passer penalty on third down, the Bills found their way into field goal range. While the drive stalled after that, Stephen Hauschka drilled a 43-yard field goal to finally get the Bills on the board.

On the next Bills drive, Singletary got the ball rolling again for the Bills offense, with a 23-yard gain on the second play of the drive. Three plays later, he ran for another first down, then Singletary followed with a 5-yard reception and a 15-yard carry on the next two plays to set up first-and-goal. Allen ran the ball in himself from three yards out to put the Bills within one possession of the Jets, down 16-10.

Buffalo’s defense again gave the offense a shot, as it forced a Jets punt on the next possession. Then, yet again, Singletary helped put the Bills in position to score. An 8-yard carry by Singletary started the drive, then a 20-yard pass to Zay Jones got the Bills past midfield. After a penalty marched the Bills back to the 50 yard line, Singletary ran for another first down, putting the Bills on the opposing 38 yard line.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (15) runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Bills won 17-16. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Allen and John Brown did the rest of the work for the offense. With three minutes left, Allen under-threw a pass down the sideline looking for Brown, who came back on the ball to make the play. He broke free of the defender and took it the rest of the way for the score.

On a day where Allen looked atrocious, with four turnovers to his name and many more near-turnovers the Bills were fortunate to avoid, Brown’s adjustment on the deep ball helped Allen still play the role of the hero.

Then, with three minutes left and a one-point Buffalo lead, it was up to the defense again to take it the rest of the way. After a day with the only hiccup as a touchdown drive after a safety, the Bills defense came through again and got the job done.

Sunday was a win for the Bills — but it wasn’t easy by any means. The Bills defense proved it is still the highly underrated force that it has been in recent years, but the offense showed it is still the deficiency of the team. Singletary emerged as a lead back in the second half of Sunday’s game, which should lead to more work moving forward, rather than the tandem approach the Bills employed with Gore leading the way with 11 carries. The performance of the defense as a unit and the individual performances of Singletary (98 total yards on nine touches) and Brown (123 yards and a touchdown on seven catches) were enough to carry the lackluster performance of Allen under center. That can’t be a sustainable model for winning games moving forward.

Not often do teams need to “rebound” from a victory, but in this case, the Bills — at least Allen — must do that next week. Back in the same stadium next Sunday, against the New York Giants, Allen needs to prove that he can pull his own weight if the Bills are going to move to 2-0 on this young season.

Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen (17) runs past New York Jets' Henry Anderson (96) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Twitter: @bradencarmen

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