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Singletary carries Bills to victory

Carmen’s Column

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)

Here we go again with the ugly wins for the Buffalo Bills. Yes, it was against the joke of a franchise that hails from our nation’s capital, but as the Bills have proven six out of eight times this year, a win is a win. At least this time, there was a bright spot to take from it other than the win, and his name is Devin Singletary.

The Bills finally realized what fans across social media have known for weeks: Singletary is an absolute difference maker in the backfield. Granted, it sure took Buffalo a long time to realize it, and even once it was obvious again on Sunday, Frank Gore inexplicably kept getting the call to fall on his face. Gore had seven carries for only 15 yards in the first half, yet he somehow made his stat line even worse, totaling zero yards on four carries after the break. The “lowlight” of Gore’s day was when Buffalo was set up on 1st-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line, but Gore was stuffed on three straight plays and Josh Allen finally punched it in himself on fourth down.

While Gore was awful, the epitome of ineptitude on Sunday was Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The goal line sequence was the most obvious of all the examples, but it was awful all day long. Why it took three failed attempts by Gore before realizing that maybe a 6-foot-5 quarterback could sneak the ball across for six inches is beyond me, but Daboll just kept blowing it over and over. On 4th-and-1 on the first drive after halftime, Gore was stuffed again for a turnover on downs at the Washington 24-yard line. Did he FINALLY learn after that? Of course not. Later in the second half, after a quarterback sweep for Allen on second down that resulted in a fumble that Buffalo was lucky to recover, the Bills faced another short yardage situation at 3rd-and-1, and wouldn’t you know, Gore got stuffed in the backfield for a loss of three yards.

Thankfully for the Bills, Singletary did enough all by himself to beat Washington. While Gore had only 15 yards in the game and averaged less than a yard and a half per carry, Singletary had nearly 100 yards from scrimmage in the first half on just nine touches. Singletary had eight carries for 50 yards and a 49-yard catch and run in the first half alone, then he finished with 140 total yards and punctuated the game with a 2-yard touchdown with 2:21 left on the clock. For comparison, Singletary had 140 yards on 23 touches, while Gore’s 15 yards on 11 touches came without a target in the passing game. Singletary is the type of player a team designs an offense around, while Gore, at least on Sunday, was just standing in the way and Daboll was too clueless to see around it.

Last week, the Bills did a pitiful job stopping the run against the Philadelphia Eagles. In the first half on Sunday, Buffalo looked every bit as awful, as 34-year-old Adrian Peterson burst through the middle of the line time and time again through the first two quarters. Peterson finished the first half with 101 yards on just 10 carries, and he also added a 22-yard catch and run. Those totals were utterly atrocious, especially against a one-win team starting a rookie quarterback who clearly was not ready to throw downfield. Washington was obviously going to be relying on Peterson, but the Bills let him through over and over again. Although, unlike the clueless Bills offense, the defense made the adjustment in the second half. Peterson only managed seven yards on eight carries in the second half, which bodes well for the Bills moving forward. The game was close until the very end, so game flow did not limit Washington’s rushing ability. The Bills stopped the run in the second half, and hopefully, they will continue to moving forward.

The Bills travel to Cleveland next week, and with how bad they’ve looked this year (and for the last two decades), that should be a very winnable game. Now that the Bills have figured out how to stop the run and, hopefully, can no longer ignore Singletary in the play calling from here on out, the Buffalo victories might start looking a little less ugly.

Twitter: @bradencarmen

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