Sep 8, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) looks to throw the ball in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bills blow out defending champ Rams in NFL opener

Josh Allen passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for one score to lead the Buffalo Bills to a convincing 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night in the NFL season opener in Inglewood, Calif.

Stefon Diggs caught eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown and Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie also had scoring receptions as the Bills outplayed the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. Von Miller, who earned a ring with Los Angeles last season, recorded two sacks and Jordan Phillips added 1.5 as Buffalo notched seven overall.

Matthew Stafford completed 29 of 41 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown for the Rams. Stafford had passes intercepted by Dane Jackson, Jordan Poyer and Boogie Basham and guided Los Angeles to just 243 total yards.

Cooper Kupp caught 13 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown for the Rams. Aaron Donald registered his 99th career sack while Terrell Lewis and Troy Hill had interceptions.

The Bills totaled 413 yards and won despite committing four of the game’s seven turnovers. Allen connected on 26 of 31 passes, with two of the five incompletions intercepted. He also rushed for a game-high 56 yards.

Buffalo scored 21 unanswered second-half points to knock out Los Angeles.

The Bills took a 17-10 lead when Allen tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to McKenzie with 7:59 left in the third quarter.

On the first play of the final quarter, Allen spotted Davis with 1-on-1 coverage for 47 yards to the Los Angeles 6-yard line. Three plays later, Allen scrambled to score from the 4, reaching the ball over the goal line with 13:27 left.

Four minutes later, the Bills used a long strike to increase their lead to 31-10. Diggs ran a streak down the right sideline, blowing past the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey to haul in a 53-yard scoring reception.

Any Los Angeles comeback bid was short-circuited by Basham’s interception with 6:58 left.

The score was tied at 10 at halftime after Matt Gay of the Rams booted a 57-yard field goal as time expired.

Buffalo navigated 75 yards on nine plays to open the game, with Allen flipping the ball to a wide-open Davis for a 26-yard score.

The Bills increased the lead to 10-0 on Tyler Bass’ 41-yard field goal with 8:48 left in the half. The Rams scored when Stafford hit Kupp on a 4-yard pass with three minutes remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins running back Roman Hemby (24) reacts after running for a first half touchdown against the Buffalo Bulls  at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Roman Hemby has career day as Maryland drops Buffalo

Roman Hemby had long touchdown runs on Maryland’s opening possession of each half as the Terrapins cruised to a 31-10 win over Buffalo on Saturday in College Park, Md.

Taulia Tagovailoa completed 24 of 34 passes for 290 yards and a slimmed-down Antwain Littleton added two touchdown runs as Maryland led all the way in the first-ever meeting of the teams.

The game was the season opener for both.

Hemby, who rushed for 71 yards all of last season as a freshman, finished with 114 yards on seven carries.

On the Terps’ fifth snap of the afternoon, Hemby got Maryland off to a quick start with a 33-yard touchdown carry on a misdirection play for a 7-0 lead.

Then, on Maryland’s second play of the second half, Hemby bolted through a big hole off left tackle and broke into the clear on a 70-yard touchdown sprint for a 24-7 lead.

From there, Maryland relied on its defense as Buffalo gained just one first down on its next four possessions. Henry Chibueze had a pair of sacks and Jakorian Bennett broke up five passes to lead the Terps’ defense.

In his first career start after three seasons at Rutgers, Cole Snyder completed 18 of 35 passes for 160 yards for Buffalo.

In the second quarter, a sack of Snyder by Maryland’s Mosiah Nasili-Kite backed the Bulls up 11 yards and forced a punt, helping set up the Terps’ second touchdown on a drive of just 31 yards.

The 235-pound Littleton, who has dropped 50 pounds since last season, rumbled for 21 yards to set up his own 2-yard scoring carry for a 14-0 lead.

Chad Ryland followed with a 45-yard field goal, extending his nation-high streak of makes to 18, which dates to last season at Eastern Michigan.

Rakim Jarrett had six catches for 110 yards.

Al-Jay Henderson carried 19 yards for Buffalo’s lone touchdown late in the first half.

-Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) rolls out in the first half during the 2021 Pinstripe Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Underdog Buffalo preparing for Maryland’s passing attack

A major point of emphasis in the offseason for Buffalo coach Maurice Linguist was explosive plays — both how to create them and how to stop them.

When heavy underdog Buffalo of the MAC travels to Maryland of the Big Ten in both teams’ season opener Saturday in College Park, Md., the Bulls will get a rigorous test of the latter.

Coming off a year in which he set single-season program records in passing yards (3,860), accuracy (69.2 percent) and touchdowns (26), Terps quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is primed to improve on those numbers.

He will operate an offense that returns nearly intact, including his top two receivers Rakim Jarrett (62 catches, 829 yards) and Dontay Demus Jr. (28 catches, 507 yards).

“The plan they put together … is a very vertical passing attack,” Linguist said. “They can stretch the field horizontally as well.”

In his fourth season at Maryland, Mike Locksley is looking to take another step forward. The Terps went 7-6 last year and are looking to make noise in the Big Ten after another strong year of recruiting.

“The most improved unit on our team is our offensive line,” Locksley said. “I like our young running backs, the power that they run (with) as well as the different skill sets they all bring.”

Achieving that against the strong front seven of Buffalo, led by linebacker James Patterson and tackle Daymond Williams, won’t be easy.

Coming off a 4-8 season, which was Linguist’s first as a head coach, Buffalo also is looking to make more big plays on offense. To that end, Linguist has named Rutgers transfer Cole Snyder the quarterback over incumbent Matt Myers.

In three seasons at Rutgers, Snyder appeared in nine games, throwing one touchdown pass. He’ll have a quality wideout to throw to in Quian Williams, who had 64 catches for 835 yards last year.

Buffalo has only three starters back on offense but the unit is an unknown quantity as several transfers from Power 5 conference schools, in addition to Snyder, will take over starting spots.

Last year’s top rusher Dylan McDuffie (1,049 yards) transferred to Georgia Tech, leaving Ron Cook Jr. as the top backfield threat.

This will be the first meeting of the programs.

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (19) runs the ball as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Mike Hughes (21) defends during the first half in a AFC Divisional playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Bills ink WR Isaiah McKenzie to 2-year deal

The Buffalo Bills on Sunday announced they have agreed on a two-year contract with veteran wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie.

No further terms of the deal have been released.

McKenzie, 26, was the team’s primary return man in 2021 in addition to his contributions as a receiver on offense.

In addition to his 20 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown, McKenzie also scored a touchdown on the ground (nine carries, 47 yards) and returned a total of 43 kicks.

He had 19 punt returns for 147 yards (7.7 avg) and 24 kick returns for 584 yards (24.3 avg).

McKenzie began his career in Denver after the Broncos drafted him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He joined Buffalo midway through the 2018 season.

For his career, McKenzie has 99 catches for 922 yards with seven touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws over Chiefs Chris Jones.

Chiefs fans donate more than $175K to Buffalo children’s hospital

Kansas City Chiefs fans have donated more than $175,000 to a fund that honors the memory of the grandmother of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

The John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo reported Wednesday morning that the Patricia Allen Fund, which benefits the hospital, had taken in $178,000 from more than 9,800 contributors since the first donations were received a day earlier.

The Chiefs beat the Bills in an epic AFC divisional playoff game on Sunday, 42-36 in overtime. The Bills took the lead with 13 seconds left, enough for Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes to get his team into range for a game-tying field goal to send the game to overtime.

The fundraising drive gained momentum when fan Brett Fitzpatrick, who runs the Twitter handle Chiefs Kingdom Memes, suggested on social media donating $13 — for 13 seconds — to Allen’s foundation.

Allen threw for 329 yards and four touchdowns.

“Out of HUGE respect for Josh Allen, I’m donating $13 to his foundation which supports the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo,” Fitzpatrick wrote. “Hope some of y’all join this too.”

Hospital officials appreciated the outpouring of support.

“It’s certainly bittersweet with the game,” Andrew Bennett, the vice president of the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation, told The Buffalo News. “But the generosity of fans toward Josh is just absolutely remarkable. We’re incredibly grateful for this impactful support. It’s a great sign of sportsmanship and integrity, watching how fans have reacted to this. It’s another huge win for the kids that we’re helping out, day in and day out here in Western New York.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (back) tackles Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Taylor’s record day help Colts dismantle Bills

Jonathan Taylor rushed for 185 yards Sunday and scored a franchise-record five touchdowns as the Indianapolis Colts walloped the Buffalo Bills 41-15 in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Taylor tallied four scores on the ground and another one on a pass as Indianapolis (6-5) made a mockery of the point spread that had Buffalo listed as a seven-point favorite. Taylor is the 16th player in NFL history to score at least five touchdowns in a game.

It was the third loss in four games for the Bills (6-4), who fell a half-game behind surging New England in the AFC East. Buffalo’s performance was rife with mistakes, such as seven penalties and four turnovers.

Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz was 11 of 20 for 106 yards and a touchdown, but merely needed to avoid mistakes and hand the ball to Taylor.

Taylor plowed in from the 3 with 8:55 left in the first quarter to start the blowout, capping a drive of just over six minutes. Taylor made it 14-0 with 1:38 remaining in the quarter, taking a screen pass from Wentz and rumbling 23 yards.

The Bills edged within 14-7 when Josh Allen finished off a drive of nearly six minutes by finding Stefon Diggs for a 6-yard touchdown pass, but that was it for them until garbage time. The Colts scored 10 points in 17 seconds late in the second quarter to take control for good.

Michael Badgley converted a 26-yard field goal at the 2:16 mark to polish off a drive that lasted more than 8 1/2 minutes. After T.J. Carrie recovered a fumble on the kickoff and returned it to the Buffalo 2, Taylor scored on the next play for a 24-7 advantage.

Taylor added 10 and 1-yard rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to make it a blowout. Allen and Diggs hooked up for a 9-yard scoring strike early in the fourth quarter before a Badgley field goal rounded out the scoring.

Allen was 21 of 35 for 209 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Bills quarterback Josh Allen is tackled from behind by Steelers Cameron Heyward.  Allen recovered his own fumble on the play.

Jg 091221 Bills 4

Bills facing added pressure to win in Miami

The Buffalo Bills are under pressure.

Pressure to win games.

Pressure to defend their first AFC East title since 1995.

Pressure to protect Josh Allen.

On Sunday, the Bills (0-1) visit the Miami Dolphins (1-0) in a key division battle.

The Bills have won five straight games in their series against the Dolphins, but — even though it’s early in the season — there’s a sense of urgency for Sunday’s matchup.

That’s because the Bills lost 23-16 to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday.

Allen was pressured 24 times, making it a dreadful day for Buffalo’s offensive line. He was also sacked three times, and he fumbled twice, losing one.

There were also six penalties called on Buffalo’s offensive line, including four that were accepted.

“I’ve got to play better,” said Allen, taking the blame. “I know that.”

Allen was the toast of Buffalo last season, passing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. This past Sunday, Allen completed 30 of 51/ passes for 270 yards and one touchdown. He wasn’t intercepted, but the Bills had issues on special teams and along their entire offensive line.

Buffalo blew a 10-0 lead, and it was a blocked punt for a touchdown that allowed the Steelers to finally take the lead in the fourth.

As for Buffalo’s blockers, the lowest grades assigned by Pro Football Focus went to guards Jon Feliciano and Ike Boettger.

The Bills were stopped twice on fourth down in Sunday’s second half, and they also lost the aforementioned Allen fumble.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins — who are listed as 3 1/2-point favorites on Sunday — are coming off a 17-16 win over the New England Patriots.

The Dolphins recovered two Patriots fumbles, including one at Miami’s 9-yard line with just 3:31 left in the game. Miami led by just one point at the time that Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard recovered that fumble, and that turnover denied the Patriots a shot at taking the lead.

“We needed the ball,” Howard said. “I made it happen.”

Howard led the NFL in interceptions last year, and he keys Miami’s defense.

“He’s a great player,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said.

Offensively, the Dolphins are led by a pair of former Alabama stars: second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

Tagovailoa completed 16 of 27 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown with one interception against the Patriots. Waddle, Miami’s first-round pick, caught four passes for 61 yards and one touchdown in his NFL debut.

With his speed, Waddle averaged 3.6 yards of separation against the Patriots. Last year, the Dolphins ranked next-to-last in the NFL (2.96) in that statistic.

Tagovailoa targeted Waddle six times last Sunday. Tagovailoa’s passer rating during those targets was a near-perfect 157.3.

Those two players had a good connection while at Alabama, but it has grown now that they are pro teammates.

“His biggest improvement is his communication,” Tagovailoa said of Waddle.

On the sideline, Waddle is now telling his quarterback what he sees and where he wants the ball on the next throw.

“He’s not asking,” said Tagovailoa, who has encouraged this communication. “He is telling me.”

Besides Waddle, Tagovailoa’s other big target is 6-3 receiver DeVante Parker, who has nearly 2,000 yards in receptions the past two years.

Miami also used backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett as a runner on Sunday, gaining a crucial first down on a third-and-1 play.

But not everyone was impressed with the Dolphins.

“That’s what Tua (does),” Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson said when asked about Tagovailoa’s interception. “If he doesn’t have his first read, he’s just going to throw the ball up.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2021; Conway, South Carolina, USA;  Coastal Carolina Chanticleers wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh (6) moves the ball against Kansas Jayhawks safety O.J. Burroughs (5) during action at Brooks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Coastal Carolina gets stiff road test at Buffalo

With a growing reputation as a winner capable of moving up in class, No. 16 Coastal Carolina takes its show on the road for the first time this season.

The Chanticleers (2-0) face off with Buffalo (1-1) in a nonconference matchup Saturday afternoon at Buffalo, N.Y. The team is embracing the opportunity to extend its proving ground.

Coastal Carolina is nationally ranked for the 14th consecutive polling week dating to last season. Last week’s 49-22 victory against visiting Kansas didn’t hurt matters.

“We know we can get better,” Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said. “Especially on defense. I would have liked to see us be better.”

This will be the first-ever meeting between Buffalo and Coastal Carolina, as the Chanticleers aim for their eighth consecutive victory in a regular-season nonconference game.

Buffalo opened the season by winning at home against Wagner before last week’s 28-3 loss at Nebraska. The Bulls have only two losses in their last 18 home games.

“We have to go back to the systematic approach that we carry with us every single week to fix what we have to fix,” first-year Buffalo head coach Maurice Linguist said. “Build on the positives from the (Nebraska) game and prepare ourselves for a very good Coastal team.”

In defeating Kansas on Friday, Coastal Carolina made quick work of Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold, who was Buffalo’s previous coach. Now they face the program Leipold left behind with his move to the Big 12.

In each of its first two games, opponents had more snaps from scrimmage than Coastal Carolina. That translated to more possession time for those foes.

“We need to make sure we get back to milking some of the clock a little bit,” Chadwell said.

Buffalo has shown it can stay on the field and manage drives, taking 83 snaps last week compared to Nebraska’s 61. Now it must finish those drives and prevent big plays from opponents. Coastal Carolina is keen on preventing Buffalo from making progress.

“I know our defense will get us playing better,” Chadwell said.

The performance of Chanticleers defensive end Josaiah Stewart was notable last week as the freshman posted a school-record 3.5 sacks in the Kansas game in just his second collegiate outing.

While Coastal Carolina has emerged in the past couple of seasons, Buffalo has built a strong foundation. With 31 total wins since the 2017 season, the Bulls own the most victories of any Mid-American Conference team during that period.

The Chanticleers have never won in three all-time matchups with MAC opponents.

Buffalo has allowed just two opposing players to reach 100 rushing yards across its last 24 games. One of those was Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez, who had 115 yards on nine carries last week, including a 71-yard burst.

Coastal Carolina junior running back Reese White is coming off his first 100-yard rushing outing after posting 102 yards on 14 carries against Kansas.

“It just makes me think it’s only the beginning,” said White, who was dubbed the Sun Belt Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week. “I can’t wait to see what happens in the future.”

Receiver Jaivon Heiligh has four consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards for the Chanticleers.

Coastal Carolina is one of three first-time foes on Buffalo’s 2021 schedule. The Bulls serve as the lone first-time opponent on Coastal Carolina’s slate.

Coastal Carolina is 0-6 all-time (one game vs. Colgate, five vs. Stony Brook) against teams from the state of New York.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) tries to outrun Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Tre Norwood (21) in the first quarter of a game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers score 20 straight to rally, beat Bills, 23-16

Dominant defense and a special teams score helped the Pittsburgh Steelers overcome a sleepy first half and knock off the Buffalo Bills 23-16 in Orchard Park, N.Y. on Sunday.

The Steelers’ special teams crashed a defensive struggle with 9:45 left on the game clock. Safety Miles Killebrew blocked Matt Haack’s punt at the Buffalo 10-yard line and Ulysees Gilbert III scooped up the ball for Pittsburgh’s 20th unanswered point, all in the second half.

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson made a juggling catch in the back corner of the end zone to give the Steelers their first lead, 13-10, with 11:19 to play.

Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt had two sacks and Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 30 of 51 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown.

Ben Roethlisberger rarely attacked downfield and completed 18 of 32 passes for 188 yards behind the Steelers’ new-look offensive line, which has four new starters. Rookie first-round pick Najee Harris had 45 yards on 16 carries.

Chris Boswell netted a 45-yard field goal to push the Steelers ahead 23-13 with 2:42 remaining in the game.

Tyler Bass knocked in a chip shot field goal with 5:23 left, trimming the Bills’ deficit to 20-13.

Pittsburgh grabbed momentum on defensive back Cameron Sutton’s stop on a fourth-down attempt by the Bills near midfield with 13:42 left in the game. Sutton didn’t fall for a fake run up the middle from a power formation and tripped up Matt Breida for a seven-yard loss.

On successive plays, Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool drew a pass interference flag — 26 yards on cornerback Levi Mitchell — and Harris burst up the middle for 18 yards on a draw play before Johnson’s circus catch.

The Bills lost a regular-season game for the first time since Nov. 15, 2020 at Arizona.

The Steelers were shut out in the first half but cut it to 10-6 on Boswell’s pair of field goals in the third quarter, including a 20-yarder after a spoiled first-and-goal situation.

With 22 seconds left in the first half, Allen floated a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gabriel Davis for a 10-0 Bills lead. The TD capped a 13-play, 91-yard drive for the Bills. Allen took a jarring blow to the back from Watt as he let the pass go and Sutton heavily contested the reception.

Watt closed from behind to strip the ball from Allen for the first takeaway of the game midway through the second quarter, but Pittsburgh lost 10 yards on three plays and punted the ball back to the Bills.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) runs against the Fordham Rams in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska braces for test from Buffalo

Nebraska hosts Buffalo in an intriguing nonconference matchup of teams coming off of wins over FCS opponents.

Buffalo opened the 2021 season with a 69-7 home romp over Wagner, making Maurice Linguist a winner in his head-coaching debut. Nebraska crushed Fordham 52-7 in its home opener, bouncing back from a 30-22 loss at Illinois during Week 0.

Linguist, who spent last season coaching defensive backs with the Dallas Cowboys and was set to be Michigan’s co-defensive coordinator this fall, took over the Bulls program in May after Lance Leipold left for Kansas. Despite coming in late, the one-time Buffalo assistant appears to have his team up to speed already.

“He is consistent in how he leads this team, and he brings energy and the juice, everyday,” Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease said of Linguist. “I’m really excited to be playing for this coaching staff and this team.”

Nebraska’s victory was part of an offensive display — 633 total yards, 329 on the ground — and welcome result after the Cornhuskers lost their conference opener for the third time in four seasons under Scott Frost.

“We needed it,” Frost said. “We had such a good camp and going into that first game, we had high hopes, and I think that the kids really believe how much progress they made and how much better of a team they are. Then game one didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but that doesn’t change the progress that we’ve made.”

Adrian Martinez was 17 of 23 for 254 yards with a touchdown and also ran for two scores as the fourth-year junior became the third Nebraska quarterback in school history to reach 6,000 passing yards.

Buffalo rushed for 312 yards against Wagner, but is 3-14 all-time against current Big Ten members, winning at Rutgers in 2018. This is the Bulls’ first meeting with Nebraska, which is 6-1 against Mid-American Conference schools. The lone loss came in Lincoln at the hands of Northern Illinois in 2017.

“We’ve watched them on tape already,” Frost said of Buffalo. “It’s a really good team. They were in the MAC Championship last year. They’ve lost some pieces and added some really good pieces.”

–Field Level Media