Josh Allen accounts for 3 touchdowns as Bills escape with 24-22 victory over Chargers
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Josh Allen accounted for three touchdowns, Tyler Bass made a 29-yard field goal with 28 seconds remaining, and the Buffalo Bills escaped with a 24-22 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night to improve their playoff chances.
Allen ran for two TDs and threw for one, becoming the first player in NFL history with four consecutive seasons with 40 combined touchdowns.
Bass’ go-ahead kick capped a 13-play, 64-yard drive that included Allen’s 15-yard completion to Khalil Shakir on third down.
“When you play a team with nothing to lose, they’re dangerous. We gutted it out and found a way,” said Allen, who completed 15 of 21 passes for 237 yards with an interception. “This is our playoffs. It doesn’t matter how we get it done, just get it done.”
The Bills (9-6) have won four of their last five. They are competing with Indianapolis and Houston (both 8-6) for the two final playoff spots in the AFC. Buffalo got some help earlier in the day when Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati.
Buffalo turned the ball over three times to keep the short-handed Chargers in the game in their first outing under interim coach Giff Smith. Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco were fired on Dec. 15, one day after the Chargers were pummeled 63-21 at Las Vegas.
Cameron Dicker kicked a career-high five field goals and Easton Stick passed for 210 yards for Los Angeles (5-10), which has lost six of seven.
“I think we went into this game thinking it was going to be a heavyweight fight, and we wanted to have a chance at the end for a knockout,” Smith said. “We were going to play it a little close to the vest, the team knew that. Get points on the board and give ourself a chance to win, and that’s the way it went. Came up a little bit short.”
Allen leads the league with 40 total touchdowns (27 passing, 13 rushing). With his 2-yard run off right tackle late in the second quarter, he became the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 50 rushing scores. Cam Newton was the first and finished with 75 in his 10-year career.
Davis, who had not caught a pass in the past two games after having six receptions for 105 yards against Philadelphia, had four receptions for a season-high 130 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Stick, making his second NFL start in place of the injured Justin Herbert, was 23 of 33 passing and rushed for a touchdown.
The Chargers jumped out to a 10-0 lead with 13:49 remaining in the second quarter when Stick rolled right and scored from 1 yard out. Los Angeles got the ball at the Buffalo 27 when Amen Ogbongbemiga recovered a fumbled punt by the Bills’ Deonte Harty.
Buffalo finally got on the scoreboard on its fourth drive. Allen scrambled right and found Davis open downfield. Davis hauled in the pass at the Chargers 19 and beat linebacker Kenneth
Allen then put the Bills on top 14-10 with 38 seconds remaining in the first half with the first of his two rushing scores.
Dicker got the Chargers within one point when he made a 40-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. Buffalo pushed its lead to 21-13 on the ensuing drive that was capped off by Allen’s 1-yard sneak.
Dicker’s 20-yard field goal with 6:32 remaining in the first quarter marked the sixth time this season the Chargers scored on their opening drive. Stick was 5 of 7 for 72 yards on the drive, including third-down completions to Joshua Palmer and Stone Smartt.
Murray into the end zone. It was Allen’s second-longest completion of the season.
James Cook finished with 70 yards on 20 carries and became the first Bills running back to reach 1,000 yards since LeSean McCoy in 2017.
Bills: LB Terrel Bernard missed part of the first quarter due to a non-contact foot injury. … S Damar Hamlin (shoulder) missed part of the first half but was cleared to return. … RB Ty Johnson (shoulder), S Micah Hyde (neck) and DE A.J. Epensesa (rib) were inactive.
Chargers: WR Keenan Allen missed his second straight game and DB Deane Leonard his fourth consecutive, both due to heel injuries.
Bills: Host New England on Dec. 31.
Chargers: At Denver on Dec. 31.