The Bills were passed over by a train facing the Colts. As a result of this monumental slippage, they now slide to second row in the East Division of the American Conference, behind … hey, hey, the Patriots!
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• Read also: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is making his way
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Not so long ago, the Bills had a solid 5-2 record. The Patriots, at 2-4, seemed infinitely far behind. This division, there was no doubt, was that of the Bills.
That’s just how strong the wind can blow and turn everything upside down in the NFL in no time.
Since those now seemingly distant days, the Patriots have won their last five games; they now have seven wins and four losses.
The Bills have lost three of their five most recent games and are six wins and four losses.
There is, of course, nothing decided, as the Bills and Patriots will face each other twice in the next five weeks.
So the portrait of the division will not be decided based on the Bills ‘current missteps or the Patriots’ current successes. The fact remains that fortune favors the Patriots at the moment.
Strangely, the Bills seem unable to maintain any form of consistency. They haven’t been able to win back-to-back games since Weeks 4 and 5, when they signed what was to be their trademark victory, against the Chiefs.
Since then, it is a destabilizing round of merry-go-round that this team offers week after week.
A heartbreaking loss to the Titans. A narrow victory against the Dolphins. An unthinkable setback against the Jaguars. A formidable return to the saddle against the Jets. A crash in order against the Colts …
In yesterday’s twist, the defense was trampled without restraint by running back Jonathan Taylor.
The Colts ‘264 rushing yards are the Bills’ worst defense total in the past five seasons. Okay, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and tackle Star Lotulelei were missing, but still …
The Bills generally perform well against the run, but when a physical jumbo jumper comes along, as it did against Derrick Henry in mid-October, the scenario changes quickly. This is a problematic element.
On offense, for a third straight game, the Bills committed at least two turnovers. The situation must be corrected quickly.
The Bills are too talented to lose the fight in their division. They have yet to be considered favorites in the race. Against the Patriots, such disjointed games will not be enough, however.
For the Colts, the victory is huge, as they stay in the race for the playoffs. If they do qualify at the end of the line, forward Jonathan Taylor should be seen as a logical contender for MVP.
His five touchdowns against the Bills prove to be a franchise record. He produces fiercely every week, with 15 touchdowns and nine games over 100 yards from the line of scrimmage.
No carrier has been voted MVP since Adrian Peterson in 2012. If the Colts make the playoffs, they will owe it to their second-year carrier.
With 185 rushing yards, 19 receiving and five touchdowns, Jonathan Taylor has once again shown that he will be one of the best forwarders on the league for years to come. The Colts ace had an eighth straight game with at least 100 yards from the scrimmage line and one touchdown.
Kirk Cousins could have been mentioned in this column as well, but receiver Justin Jefferson was spectacular with 169 yards and two touchdowns, including a superb touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Washington head coach defeated his former team in Carolina, in front of a crowd excited for Cam Newton’s first start. His men kept their cool and won a second straight game to stay alive in the playoff race.
His passing numbers aren’t spectacular (13 for 24, 147 yards), but the Eagles quarterback registered three rushing touchdowns, including a sublime one. Hurts is in the process of shopping for another season as a starter next year.
The Chiefs’ defensive coordinator straightened out a defense that looked horrible at the start of the season. The Chiefs deprived the Cowboys of a touchdown after having scored at least two in every game this season.
The Titans quarterback had a gruesome four-steal game. It looked like the Titans would have learned from their lousy loss to the Jets early in the season, but they’ve gotten down to their competitive level again against the Texans.
So the Bears can’t beat the Ravens without their quarterback (Lamar Jackson), top receiver (Marquise Brown) and top three running backs? In addition, Justin Fields was injured. A nightmarish day …
The Saints have dropped their last three games, a first since 2016. Trevor Siemian threw two interceptions. It will clearly not be the solution, even temporary.
Still some questionable decisions this week, but the most glaring will have been that of punishing the carrier of the Chiefs Clyde Edwards-Helaire for pointing the finger at linebacker Luke Gifford on a touchdown … The penalties for provocation are a scourge.
The team are 3-7 for the first time since 2009. Russell Wilson has lost three straight starts for the first time in his career. The Seahawks are 1-4 at home. In short, nothing is going well.
5 key moments of the week
1. THE RETURN “DOC”
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will not have taken long to find his place on the starting line-up of the Jets. Last week he had been in uniform, but had not seen any offensive ground. This week against the Dolphins, he regained his right guard post and looked good in defeat. The Jets had been betting on the same five starters since Week 2 and this eight-game streak was their longest since 2015. It was clear that “LDT” would supplant Greg Van Roten.
2. ENCORE DARIUS SLAY !
When it comes to big defensive play, few players do better these days than Darius Slay of the Eagles. At the end of the second quarter, Slay gave his team some good cushion when he brought in an interception for a touchdown. He scored his third touchdown in the last four weeks!
3. LONG GAME FOR TUA
Since the start of his career, Tua Tagovailoa has been criticized for not being a fan of long play. Against the Jets, he threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Mack Hollins, his longest play to date. Tagovailoa fled the pressure to spot Hollins at the other end of the field. Casually, the Dolphins have won three straight games.
4. ALWAYS ON SUSPENSE
The Vikings are the undisputed kings of suspense. Nine of their ten games ended on the last game of the game.
This time, it was a 29-yard field goal from Greg Joseph that ended the debate against the Packers on the last play of regular time.
On three occasions, they found themselves in overtime. It becomes a habit.
5. MCCOY KEEP IT STRONG
The Cardinals, still without Kyler Murray, signed a second win in three games with quarterback Colt McCoy. Late in the game against the Seahawks, they came within three points of the Cards, but McCoy orchestrated a 10-play, 67-yard offensive push that led to James Conner’s touchdown to rule out the Seahawks for good.