With Josh Allen at the helm, the underdog pulled off a big upset.
The Buffalo Bills sacked Kirk Cousins four times and forced three turnovers in a 27-6 win Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings. It was the Bills' first win of the season and the first win of Allen's brief NFL career.
Allen threw for 196 yards and scored three total touchdowns. He opened the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run and threw a 26-yard touchdown pass near the end of the first quarter. He added 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
The Bills improve to 1-2 this season. The Vikings fall to 1-1-1.
Here is the Buffalo Bills Week 3 report card:
With LeSean McCoy out, the Bills didn't have their best offensive player. But they didn't seem to miss him in this game. Chris Ivory handled a bulk of the rushing duties and ran for 56 yards. He also caught a few passes out of the backfield, including a 55-yard reception that took the Bills deep into Vikings territory. Marcus Murphy was the change-of-pace back and had eight carries for 33 yards. The Bills' running backs, especially Ivory, did their part.
This remains the Bills' biggest weakness on offense. Allen threw a deep ball that should've been caught by Robert Foster. He also threw a ball near the goal line that should've been caught by Kelvin Benjamin. Ivory was the leading receiver and tight end Jason Croom had a 26-yard touchdown reception. Aside from those plays, there wasn't much from the receiving corps.
A solid effort by the offensive line. The line gave up a few sacks and could've done a better job run blocking, but overall it was a good outing. It's an encouraging sign for a unit that hasn't been good early this season. This was a better performance.
Offensive MVP: Josh Allen. Allen scored three total touchdowns — one passing, two rushing — in the Bills' first win of the season. This is his team. Imagine what he could do with a better supporting cast.
Jerry Hughes was a monster. The stat sheet doesn't do his performance justice. He got around the edge several times and created problems for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Hughes did get a sack and registered two quarterback hits. Trent Murphy and Kyle Williams also had sacks in the win.
Matt Milano is a stud. He had a fumble recovery, an interception and a sack to lead the Bills to victory. Tremaine Edmunds led the Bills with 10 tackles (seven solo) and a tackle for a loss. Lorenzo Alexander had a fumble recovery and a pass defended. It was an excellent performance by the linebackers. They were good in pass coverage and aided the pass rush.
Defensive MVP: Matt Milano. What an athlete this guy is. He had eight tackles (four solo), a sack, an interception, a fumble recovery and two passes defended. He was all over the field for the Bills. He was the clear MVP on defense.
Kicking and punting
Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals, including a 50-yarder, in the win. He continues to be an efficient kicker for the Bills. He delivers when called upon.
Punter Corey Bojorquez had six punts and five landed inside the 20. That's an impressive showing by the rookie punter. He has made the coaching staff look good after they cut Colton Schmidt. Bojorquez averaged 43.2 yards per punt and had a long of 59 yards.
Kick coverage and returns
There wasn't a lot of action on special teams in this game. The Vikings had a few returns, but the Bills covered them well. The only criticism here: Ray-Ray McCloud let a punt hit at about his own 40 and it rolled all the way to the Bills' 10-yard-line. You can't let that happen in this league, especially in close games. You have to find a way to field those kicks, even if it means falling on the ball.
Special teams MVP: Corey Bojorquez. The Bills punter pinned the Vikings inside the 20-yard-line five times. He has been a great asset to the Bills' kicking game this season.
OTHER GRADES AND FACTS
Overall team performance
The Bills were 16.5-point underdogs at the beginning of the week. If you're in a survivor pool, there's a good chance you picked the Vikings. The Bills haven't looked good early in the season and the Vikings are expected to compete for the NFC title. The Bills were on the road against a much better Vikings team. But it was the Bills who came out on top. Josh Allen was efficient and the defense overpowered the Vikings offense. Sean McDermott's staff outcoached Mike Zimmer's staff. This was one of the best wins of the McDermott era. He needed this, and so did this team.
Stats of the game
3. The number of total touchdowns Josh Allen had against the Vikings. He threw for one and ran for two others. His big arm receives a lot of attention, but you can't overlook his running ability. His mobility is a huge asset.
126. Chris Ivory's total yards in the win over the Vikings. With McCoy out of action, Ivory filled in and was a solid dual threat. He led the Bills with three catches for 70 yards and added 56 rushing yards.
4. The number of sacks recorded by the Bills against the Vikings. The Bills' pass rush showed up in this game. Cousins wasn't comfortable all day.
Josh Allen needs receivers. He is a good enough quarterback and has the mobility to make plays. But Kelvin Benjamin isn't a No. 1 receiver. More help is needed for Allen to be a bigger threat against opposing defenses.
The Bills (1-2) will play at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 against the Green Bay Packers. The game will be televised on CBS.