Allen and the Bills bounce back from a season-opening dud with 38-10 rout of the Las Vegas Raiders
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The worse Josh Allen feels one week, the better he plays the next.
Following a four-turnover season-opening dud at the New York Jets, a self-motivated Allen let loose with a near-perfect performance in leading the Bills to a 38-10 rout of the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
“I love feeling how I felt last week. I really do, because it makes the good feel that much better,” Allen said. “I take the bad with the good, I understand it, and I’m just trying to let it fuel me and use it to my benefit.”
Allen threw three touchdown passes in a game he opened by completing his first 13 attempts. Putting aside the over-aggressive tendencies that got him into trouble against the Jets, Allen established a rhythm by focusing on completing mostly short and easy attempts to finish 31 of 37 for 274 yards and no turnovers.
It was Allen’s 21st outing with three or more touchdowns passing, and Buffalo improved to 13-4 in games following a loss since 2019.
“Just us getting back to who we feel like we are,” Allen said.
Buffalo finished with 183 yards rushing, with Allen accounting for just 7. James Cook led the way with a career-best 123 yards — the most by a Bills running back since LeSean McCoy had 156 in December 2017.
What stood out was Allen playing within his limitations. Center Mitch Morse referred to the outing as stoic and intentional.
“I think it represents his tenacity as a competitor, and also that he understands who he is,” Morse said. “It’s a beautiful thing. And it was just awesome to see and be a part of this week, especially Josh going out there and finding his mojo.”
The Raiders had few answers in a game they opened by scoring on Davante Adams’ 16-yard touchdown catch less than three minutes in, and then found themselves trailing 28-10 before their first possession of the third quarter.
Whatever chance Las Vegas had to get back into the game ended four plays from scrimmage later, when linebacker Matt Milano jumped in front of Josh Jacobs to intercept Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass at midfield.
“I thought we created some momentum at the beginning of the game. But momentum is just a word,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said. “We need to play well, and coach well, for 60 minutes. We can’t just live off the momentum of a drive. We had five decent plays and then didn’t play very well the rest of the game.”
The Raiders dropped to 1-1 following an outing in which Garoppolo finished 16 of 24 for 185 yards and was intercepted twice, and Jacobs, the NFL’s leading rusher last year, was limited to a career-worst minus-2 yards on nine carries. According to Elias Sports, it marked the first time since the NFL’s merger that the league’s defending rushing champion finished with negative yardage.
“I don’t think we need to totally flush it. I think we need to address where we went wrong, and improve from there,” Jacobs said. “That’s the thing that makes it so frustrating for me is just the potential. You see flashes of how good we can really be.”
Allen completed passes to nine players, with Gabe Davis catching six for 92 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Dawson Knox and Khalil Shakir also caught touchdown passes, while Latavius Murray and Damien Harris scored a touchdown each rushing.
Linebacker Terrel Bernard also had an interception and Taylor Rapp recovered Zamir White’s fumble on what became the Raiders’ final possession, closing a week in which the Bills faced several off-field distractions.
Coach Sean McDermott had to address his leadership group after team owner Terry Pegula was accused of making racially insensitive comments in a lawsuit filed by a former NFL Media reporter. Pegula denied the allegations.
And then on Wednesday, a Bills media reporter was overheard on an open microphone questioning receiver Stefon Diggs’ character. Diggs went to social media a day later, calling the comments “hurtful” and “insulting.”
“I think it shows the resiliency of this team. No one liked the taste in the mouth we had this week, I think we brought a certain edge to this week’s practice and preparation,” Morse said. “It was nothing crazy or confrontational, but just very intentional.”
Raiders: McDaniels had no update on Adams, who finished the game being evaluated with a head injury. . .. WR Jakobi Meyers (concussion protocol) did not play after the offseason free agent addition led the team with nine catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening win at Denver. … DE Chandler Jones missed his second straight game over a dispute with management.
Bills: S Damar Hamlin was a healthy inactive for the second straight week. The third-year player has not appeared in an NFL regular season game since going into cardiac arrest and needing to be resuscitated on the field at Cincinnati on Jan. 2. … S Micah Hyde injured his hamstring, and DE Leonard Floyd hurt his ankle during the game.
Raiders: Host Pittsburgh Steelers in home opener on Sunday night.
Bills: Travel to face the Washington Commanders on Sunday.