BY LOUIE GENOVESE, SPORTS STAFFER
BUFFALO, NY (10-3-2022) – If you don’t remember, both Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson made their team debuts in M&T Bank stadium in the 2018 season opener. Four years later they started against each other in the same venue. Only this time, the outcome wasn’t what anybody expected.
After trailing the Ravens 20-3 in the second quarter, Allen led a 76-yard drive capped off with a four yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie. This shifted the momentum of the game as the offense scored 10 offensive points while the defense held off Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews and running back J.K Dobbins. However, the biggest moment came when Jordan Poyer picked off Jackson on a fourth and goal, which lead to the bills setting up Tyler Bass’ game-winning field goal to win 23-20 (the Bills first one-score win since the 2020 AFC Wild Card game against the Indianapolis Colts).
Poyer, who missed week three due to an injury, had six total tackles, three passes defended and two interceptions. He is currently leading the league in interceptions, catching one against Los Angeles and Tennessee respectively.
“He’s an amazing player,” said Taron Johnson, Poyer’s teammate. “The first (interception), I was covering my guy and all I see is the ball in the air and he right there. Just a great awareness play by him. Then the second one, Lamar is just scrambling and (Jordan) is just following the look of the quarterback and he made a mistake to throw it over there to (Jordan). He made the play.”
Poyer wasn’t the only defensive back who contributed to the Bills win. Dane Jackson, who went down against Tennessee, returned with three tackles and helped cover Ravens receiver Devin Duvernay on that crucial 4th and goal for the Ravens that resulted in Poyer’s interception.
Allen once again proved to be the biggest force on Offense with both a passing and rushing touchdown. Compared to Jackson’s 73 rushing yards, Allen recorded 70. For the Ravens, Dobbins recorded two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing.
In the final two minutes, the Bills capitalized on a questionable roughing the passer call on Ravens DB Brandon Stephens, as well as head coach John Harbaugh using his remaining two timeouts. This marks the second time the Ravens blew a 17-point lead, while the its only happened to one other team.
Harbaugh explained his decision to reporters, saying he had full confidence in his defense which is why he didnt settle for a field goal to put his squad ahead.
“I felt like it gave us the best chance to win the game. [If we score] seven, the worst that happens is if they go down the field and score — and I think we’ll get them stopped — the worst thing that can happen is you’re in overtime,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s website. “But you kick a field goal there, now it’s not a three-down game anymore, it’s a four-down game. You’re putting your defense at a disadvantage because they’ve got four downs to convert all the way down the field and a chance to again score seven, and then you lose the game on a touchdown.”
The Bills are now second in the AFC East, behind the Dolphins who lost to the Cinncinnati Bengals on Thursday night. They return to Orchard Park to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are coming off a 24-20 loss to the New York Jets. It’s unkown if Pittsburgh will put Mitchell Trubinsky or rookie Kenny Pickett under center, considering the latter threw three interceptions depite recording a 75% passer rating.
The Bills won this game because of Josh Allen’s phisicality, Poyer’s key interceptions on defense and a questionable decision by Harbaugh. They will look to keep this momentum going against Pittsburgh on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.