The Buffalo Bills entered Sunday afternoon as 5.5-point favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals, as the two teams got set to battle in the snow in Orchard Park for a chance to play Kansas City for the AFC Championship.
It became quickly apparent that the Bengals were the superior team on Sunday, as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead and, while the Bills would twice trim that lead to 7 in the late second and early third quarters, they never mounted much of a challenge to Joe Burrow and Cincinnati. While the Bengals carved up the Bills secondary through the air, with Burrow completing 23-of-36 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, the Bills struggled to replicate that same success — particularly when it came time to push the ball down the field on key downs.
On a few occasions, Josh Allen missed open receivers, as the ball seemed to be sailing on the Bills quarterback, notably on the first third down of the game when he missed Stefon Diggs for what would’ve been a big play to answer Cincinnati’s opening drive TD. Instead, they had to punt and were down 14 when they got the ball back, and Allen just never got into rhythm, going 25-of-42 for 265 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception.
Diggs finished the game with just 35 yards on four catches, and by the end of the game, his frustration started to boil over on the sidelines. After the last real chance for Buffalo ended with Allen missing Gabe Davis on fourth down in the end zone, Diggs made his displeasure with Allen not looking his way known on the sideline, with the star QB simply tuning him out and keeping his head down on the tablet.
That frustration from Diggs was shared by Buffalo fans and backers, as it felt notable how much Allen struggled while Burrow excelled — particularly early in the game when the Bengals took control of the game after a 9-for-9 start by Burrow — in the snowy conditions that Allen typically has an advantage in. On this afternoon in western New York, it wasn’t Allen’s nor the Bills day, and this offseason will likely bring some changes as the expectation in Buffalo is now to win, and a second round exit is no longer considered progress.