On a night the Buffalo Bills kept making mistake after mistake, they saved their worst for the very end.
The Bills looked like they had a fortunate win when Denver Broncos kicker Wil Lutz pushed a kick wide right as time expired on Monday night. But there was a flag on the play for 12 men on the field by Buffalo, which was a shocking miscue on a night full of them.
The Broncos didn’t have any timeouts left but they wanted to bleed the rest of the clock. So they took a knee and rushed the field-goal team on. The Broncos had plenty of time to get the kick off. But it led to a Bills miscommunication that ended up changing the result of the game.
It’s hard to figure out how the Bills ended up with too many men on the field, even in a rush. The Broncos got 5 extra yards, a second chance and Lutz hit the field goal for the 24-22 win.
The bad part is the Bills practiced substitution from their dime defensive personnel to field-goal block “two or three times” in the week leading up to the Broncos game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters postgame. And they still screwed it up.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t execute it,” McDermott said. “It’s inexcusable.”
The Bills making a critical error after practicing that exact scenario multiple times sums up a Bills team that looks strangely undisciplined this season. It was far from the only mistake for the Bills.
McDermott strangely put running back James Cook on the bench for a quarter-and-a-half for a fumble on the first offensive play of the game, even though it was Cook’s first fumble all season. Cook finished with 120 yards, and perhaps he could have made a play or two in that time he was on the bench that could have turned a two-point loss.
McDermott made another regrettable decision late in the game when he sent an all-out blitz at Russell Wilson on third-and-10 outside of field-goal range. Wilson smartly threw the ball up to Jerry Jeudy, who beat cornerback Taron Johnson off the line, then drew a pass interference call when the ball was underthrown and he came back for it. It seemed needlessly reckless to send that blitz in that situation, and it burned the Bills.
The Bills had four turnovers, and that wasn’t all coaching. There were other mistakes throughout the game by Buffalo. It was such a bad loss — and not that far removed from the Bills losing to the New England Patriots and being outplayed but getting lucky to beat the New York Giants at home — that many on social media were calling for McDermott to be on the hot seat. That might be an overreaction, but he and his team certainly aren’t impressing anyone this season.
It was a sloppy performance. The Bills are .500 (5-5) and they have only themselves to blame for the hole they find themselves in.