Bills take division, go into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed

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ORCHARD PARK, NY – Within Week 18, all the Buffalo Bills needed to win another AFC East title in a row was a win over the 4-12 New York Jets.

Despite the Jets keeping things close at times, thanks to Buffalo’s offensive games, the Bills got the job done with a 27-10 victory Sunday to win the division at home for the first time since 1995.

The back-to-back division titles are a first for the franchise since it won four right from 1988 to 1991. The Bills enter the AFC playoffs as the No. 3 seed and will host a playoff game in the wild card round on Saturday . Buffalo are 2-0 in home playoff games under coach Sean McDermott, who has led the team to the playoffs for three seasons in a row.

“There are a lot of lessons you learn during the season that you try to use and apply later in the year, and I think we’ve made it to this point,” McDermott said. “We have to keep doing it. Certainly, tonight’s fight was tough and they’re going to be tough. So you have to keep growing, keep learning and applying those lessons every week.”

The Bills enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak that yields their season-best.

With the Las Vegas Raiders’ 35-32 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday night, the Bills are ready to play the New England Patriots for the third time this season and the first time in the playoffs of the Super Bowl era. Each team won on the opponents home field in the regular season.

The Bills got off to a warm start against the Jets, putting together a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an impressive 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Allen to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, despite Allen being under considerable pressure .

The throw was Allen’s 12th touchdown of the season on the run (traveling 8-plus mph) – the most in the NFL this season, according to Next Gen Stats – and had an 18% completion probability, the lowest point on a Bills touchdown since 2017.

After consecutive goals in the first quarter, the Bills offense struggled. There was miscommunication between Allen and his recipients, and the device looked out of sync. The special team unit also faltered. Punter Matt Haack averaged 33.9 yards per yard. punt on seven kicks, even though one only raised 7 yards, in part due to a bad snap.

But the defense kept the Bills inside the game, firing rookie quarterback Zach Wilson eight times (most under McDermott) and letting the Jets convert only one of 12 third-downs. New York finished with four first downs (the fewest allowed by the Bills a game in franchise history) and 53 total yards (the second fewest allowed by the Bills in franchise history).

Buffalo has had at least five sacks in back-to-back games, which has not happened since 2014 (three games in a row), and the Bills’ eight sacks are their most in a game since 2011.

“Everyone eats. Everyone was just on it today,” defensive tackle Ed Oliver said. “It just seemed like everyone was flying around. (Wilson) wanted to run around and just overlap, and everyone was hurrying … So it was a good sight to see, especially in a fight like this with so much at stake.”

While there will be plenty to clean up for until the playoffs, there are some positive things for Buffalo coming after the win.

Not only is the Bills ‘pass rush in better shape heading into the off-season, but the rushing attack has been improved, thanks in part to improved play from the Bills’ offensive line. Returning Devin Singletary became the first Bills player to record four games in a row with at least one rushing touchdown since Fred Jackson (2011), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Singletary has five rushing touchdowns in its last four games after scoring six rushing touchdowns in its first 41 career games.

“The engine has started its engine,” said left tackle Dion Dawkins. “Motor is a younger guy trying to find his overall rhythm, and the fact that he’s found it – or, I think there’s still a lot more – and the fact that he’s found a certain kick, it just puts his best version of Motor in front of him. And helps us. Every time a kid can turn it on and do what he honestly does, shoot, it’s special. “

Allen has also been kept upright, having played three games in a row without a sack, a first in his career.

But the Bills’ goal is far beyond playing after the season and winning the division. The big test is still waiting.

“No one at the end of your career looks back and really calculates how many times you’ve won your division,” Allen said. “I think the main goal is the Super Bowl, and winning the division just gives you an opportunity to do that. So that’s really our focus. It’s great, it’s fine, hats and shirts are cool, but at the end of Today, we have a lot more work to do. “


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