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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Buffalo Bills earn 38-10 win over the Las Vegas Raiders

An inauspicious beginning for the Buffalo Bills quickly turned into a dominating win in their home opener Sunday over the Las Vegas Raiders at Highmark Stadium.

The Raiders scored first, but Bills linebacker Terrel Bernard’s interception swung the momentum in his team’s favor – momentum the Bills never gave up in a 38-10 victory.

Five Bills scored touchdowns and nine Bills caught at least one pass.

Talk about a nice rebound from last Monday’s overtime loss to the New York Jets.

“I think this was a bounce-back for everybody,” said right tackle Spencer Brown, who kept Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby in check.

A dominating, 38-10 victory in the home opener at Highmark Stadium did more than just even the Bills’ record at 1-1. It also showed that a good deal of concern that was expressed after the season-opening stinker against the New York Jets just might have been overblown.

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  • On Las Vegas’ second drive, the Raiders (leading 7-0) had a second-and-8 from their 30-yard line. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s attempted screen pass was deflected into the air by defensive end Greg Rousseau and intercepted by Bernard at the Raiders’ 28. It was Bernard’s first career interception.

The Bills tied the game on the ensuing drive on running back Latavius Murray’s four-yard touchdown run. The Bills would end with 183 yards rushing on 35 attempts (5.2-yard average).

  • Early in the second quarter, the Bills had moved to the cusp of the Raiders’ red zone (26-yard line). Quarterback Josh Allen’s first-down throw down the left sideline was incomplete, but receiver Stefon Diggs drew a pass interference penalty on cornerback Nate Hobbs. The 25-yard penalty moved the football to the 1.

Two plays later, Allen’s play-action fake allowed tight end Dawson Knox to get open for a two-yard touchdown catch (14-7 Bills lead).

  • The Bills’ offense was officially humming late in the second quarter, moving to the Raiders’ 8 after running back James Cook’s 26-yard catch. But then, nothing.

Cook gained four yards on first down and Allen three yards on a second-down keeper. But Murray was stopped for no gain on third down. On fourth down, Allen missed a wide-open Diggs on a crossing route from the right slot and in-motion-receiver Deonte Harty in the right flat, instead throwing incomplete to Knox in double coverage.

The Bills made it 21-10 going into halftime with all-round good work. The defense forced a three-and-out and Las Vegas punted from its 8. The Bills chugged down to the 11 on big catches by Diggs (17 yards) and receiver Gabe Davis (15 yards).

On second down, the Raiders rushed five and Allen evaded the pressure and threw side-armed to receiver Khalil Shakir, who ran a crosser from the left slot. Shakir caught the pass at the three and scored the 11-yard touchdown with 18 seconds left in the first half.

  • The Bills pulled off the double dip (score late first half/score early second half) to blow the game open. Over 15 plays and 75 yards, the Bills made it 28-10 on Allen’s fourth-down 2-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Davis. Allen put some velocity on the throw, which made its way through traffic to Davis.

On the drive, Allen was 7-of-8 passing and also converted a fourth-and-1 with a two-yard sneak.

NFL Network correspondent Stacey Dales was used to distraction attempts in big moments during her basketball career as an Olympian and WNBA All-Star. So Billy Buffalo wasn’t getting her off her game.  

Standout players

QB Josh Allen. Allen was lights out, playing turnover-free and ending 31-of-37 passing for 274 yards, three touchdowns and a 124.5 rating. His 83.78 completion rate was the second-best of his career (83.87 last year against the Los Angeles Rams).

LBs Terrel Bernard/Matt Milano. The Bills’ starting linebackers each had interceptions that led to touchdowns by the offense.

RB James Cook. He was a dual threat running (17 carries-123 yards) and receiving (four catches-36 yards). The rushing yardage was a career high.

WR Gabe Davis. He caught six passes for a team-high 92 yards (15.3 average) and one touchdown.

Statistics of note

13: Consecutive completions to start the game for Bills quarterback Josh Allen, a personal career best. Allen was 18-of-21 passing for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

-2: Rushing yards by Raiders running back Josh Jacobs on nine carries. It was the first time in his career he was held to less than 16 yards rushing in a game.

3: Fourth-down conversions by the Bills’ offense. They had seven fourth-down conversations all of last year.

123: Rushing yards by Bills running back James Cook. His previous high was 99 yards last year at Chicago.

2: Interceptions this year for Bills linebacker Matt Milano. He has interceptions in consecutive games for the second time in his career.

4: Offensive plays by Las Vegas in the third quarter (23 yards). The Bills ran 23 plays in the quarter (117 yards).

40:04: Time of possession for the Bills, their highest total since 40:40 in last year’s Week 3 loss at Miami.

Injury report

  • Cornerback Dane Jackson was evaluated for a head injury after making a tackle on kickoff coverage. Jackson was cleared and returned to play special teams.
  • Defensive end Leonard Floyd (ankle) and safety Micah Hyde (hamstring) were attended to by trainers early in the fourth quarter. They did not return. Hyde told reporters after the game that he’s “fine” and expects to play next week. Floyd also said he expects to play.


The Bills play their first game against NFC competition when they visit the Washington Commanders next Sunday at 1 p.m., in Landover, Md. The Commanders have new ownership (group led by Josh Harris), a new offensive coordinator (Eric Bieniemy) and a new quarterback (Sam Howell).

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