ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It was the one hang-up keeping most people from buying in to the Buffalo Bills this season.
The Bills built a 28-3 lead well into the third quarter before giving up 29 unanswered points. With his team trailing by four points late in the fourth quarter, Bills quarterback Josh Allen led an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by a touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft, Allen's fifth total touchdown of the day.
The league's leading passer entering the game, Allen continued his torrid start to the season, completing 24 of 33 passes for 311 yards, four touchdowns and an interception and adding another touchdown on the ground. The Chiefs and the Ravens rode MVP seasons from Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson in 2018 and 2019, respectively, to a place in the conference's top tier, and it appears that Buffalo has caught a similar wave with Allen these first three weeks.
Still, the near-disaster of the largest blown lead in franchise history will be a dark cloud looming over this victory. The Bills can beat a quality opponent, but their second-half collapse ensures that they will have their share of doubters when they travel to Las Vegas in Week 4 to face the Raiders.
Describe the game in two words: Never over. Following a three-and-out to start the game, the Bills' offense scored on four straight drives to take a commanding 28-3 lead. That streak was broken by Allen's first interception of the season on Buffalo's second drive of the third quarter, and even though the Rams made things more dramatic than Buffalo would've preferred in the second half, those consecutive scoring drives put the Bills far enough ahead for them to withstand the comeback effort.
Troubling trend: The Bills have come out blazing in the first half of each of their three games this season. They've also hit a wall in the third quarter of all three. Los Angeles outscored Buffalo 14-7 in the third quarter and outgained the Bills 183-64, pushing Buffalo's discrepancies for the season to 24-7 and 407-171, respectively. The Bills' third-quarter struggles are arguably their biggest flaw through three weeks and would be crippling if not for the big first-half leads they've built in each game.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Whatever the Bills' plan to stop the run was, it didn't work. Darrell Henderson gashed Buffalo for 114 yards and a touchdown, and his success on the ground activated the Rams' play-action offense. Quarterback Jared Goff tore into the Bills' defense, completing touchdown passes of 16 and 25 yards to wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, respectively, in the second half. It was the second straight week in which the Bills struggled to defend the middle of the field, and it could prove to be problematic with some of the offenses they will face this season.
Pivotal play: Any play from the Bills' go-ahead drive qualifies, but specifically, Allen's 22-yard completion to Cole Beasley on third-and-22 kept Buffalo's hope alive after a horrific start. Allen completed an 18-yard pass to Beasley to start the drive but took a 12-yard sack to push the Bills away from the first-down marker. After an incomplete pass to bring up third down, Allen found Beasley open downfield for a first down. Nine plays later, Allen hit Kroft for the game-winning score.