Josh Allen continues MVP campaign, Bills hold off Raiders (Report card)

Christel Deskins

The Buffalo Bills are contenders in the AFC and a perfect 4-0 through the first quarter of the 2020 season. Buffalo’s schedule still has plenty of tough tests ahead, but the offense has been brilliant early this season and Josh Allen deserves plenty of praise for how he has scanned […]

The Buffalo Bills are contenders in the AFC and a perfect 4-0 through the first quarter of the 2020 season.

Buffalo’s schedule still has plenty of tough tests ahead, but the offense has been brilliant early this season and Josh Allen deserves plenty of praise for how he has scanned the field, moved the ball and scored touchdowns for the team this season. Brian Daboll also deserves plenty of credit for the plays he has drawn up and putting his players in spots to succeed.

Much like the last three games, Allen and the offense were the biggest reason for the win. That said, the defense showed some serious signs of life in the second half of the Bills’ 30-23 win over the Las Vegas Raiders and some of that was thanks to a different Josh.

Following the victory, here is a look at how every unit graded out.

QUARTERBACK: A+

Bills fans held their breath when Josh Allen went into the locker room before halftime with a left shoulder injury. Allen would ultimately return, but it was a scary moment nonetheless.

Allen’s case for league MVP continued on Sunday despite his streak of 300 yard passing games ending. The quarterback was brilliant on the field and spread the ball around to nine different players. He finished the day 24-of-34 on pass attempts (71%) for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He also added another touchdown on the ground in the 30-23 win.

The only knock against Allen came late in the fourth quarter with the Bills having the opportunity to go up 17. Allen took an awful sack on third down that knocked the team out of field goal range. Buffalo would obviously love for Allen to eliminate those types of plays from his game, but Allen’s ability to extend plays have also benefitted the Bills many times in his career.

RUNNING BACK: C

After seeing the Raiders give up 250 yards on the ground last week, expectations were high for Buffalo’s run game. The team, however, struggled to deliver on the ground and finished with 62 yards on 24 carries (2.6 YPC).

Devin Singletary led the way with 55 yards and one touchdown on the ground. It was Singletary’s first rushing TD since Week 9 of last season.

Late in the game, Singletary was stopped for short gains or in the backfield when the Raiders knew the Bills were going to run so his overall stat line may not have been a true representation of his overall play.

WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END: A+

Six.

That’s how many wide receivers caught passes on Sunday. Stefon Diggs made a huge play down the field following Josh Norman’s forced fumble and fumble recovery. The team’s No. 1 receiver went for 115 yards on six receptions in the win.

John Brown had what looked like a TD called down at the one, but it led to a Josh Allen QB run on the ground. Cole Beasley hauled in a touchdown despite being upended on the play and Gabriel Davis made the most of his only target scoring a 26-yard touchdown.

Isaiah McKenzie and Andre Roberts also recorded receptions for Buffalo, but their biggest plays came in different capacities. McKenzie recorded 14 yards on a 4th-and-1 end round while Roberts had a big punt return for the team.

The Bills’ tight ends weren’t as active, but Tyler Kroft and Dawson Knox added three receptions for 28 yards.

OFFENSIVE LINE: B+

Buffalo’s rushing offense was kept in check, but the offensive line did a solid job in pass protection. Josh Allen was only sacked once in the game and it came on a play where Allen held the ball too long.

Quinton Spain saw some time at right guard after Brian Winters went down with an injury. That was pretty telling and may indicate that Buffalo sees Cody Ford playing at left guard long-term in Buffalo.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B+

In terms of pass rush, Buffalo was not able to do much in the first half of the game. They did end up sacking Derek Carr twice, however, by the end of the game. That included a strip sack and recovery by Quinton Jefferson and a sack by Darryl Johnson.

The Bills’ defensive line earned high marks for their run defense. The team limited Josh Jacobs to just 48 yards on 15 carries (3.2 YPC). Ed Oliver had the play of the day in run defense blowing up a Jacobs run on 4th and 1.

LINEBACKER: C

AJ Klein is really struggling for the Bills. In coverage he has been nothing short of a liability. Buffalo needs to find a way to keep him off the field in obvious passing situations.

Tremaine Edmunds finished with a team-high 12 total tackles and Matt Milano added six tackles and a pass defensed in the win.

SECONDARY: C+

Buffalo’s secondary was far from perfect on Sunday. There was a miscommunication on the backend that appeared to result in a Nelson Agholor TD, but an illegal formation penalty brought it back.

Jordan Poyer, arguably the defensive MVP through three games, was flagged for pass interference and allowed a touchdown later in the game to Agholor. Taron Johnson also struggled at times on Sunday and gave up a big contested catch to Hunter Renfrow.

Josh Norman, however, had one of the biggest plays of the day when he forced a fumble on Darren Waller and recovered the ball. Norman saw a lot of playing time in his debut after Levi Wallace exited with an ankle injury. Post-game Wallace was spotted on crutches.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-

Andre Roberts was brilliant on his only return of the day. When the Raiders were forced to punt, Roberts returned the ball 38 yards to give Buffalo’s offense terrific starting position.

The coverage unit was also solid in the win.

The biggest concerns were in the kicking game. Tyler Bass made his lone field goal attempt, but missed an extra point in the win. Regardless of the hold, Bass should be able to consistently make extra points.

Corey Bojorquez had three punts on Sunday and two went for touchbacks. One sailed into the end zone and the other really had no shot of being downed. Bojorquez needs to get better with situational punting.

READ MORE ON THE BILLS

Josh Norman ‘lifted’ Bills with his play: ‘I don’t know if we win that game without him’

Josh Allen’s 3 touchdowns lead Bills to 30-23 road win vs. Raiders (Instant observations)

Bills’ Josh Allen goes to locker room after injury vs. Raiders, returns moments later

Jon Feliciano: Bills guard provides update on his return

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