Instant analysis: Bills self-destruct against Vikings in Week 10 loss

The Minnesota Vikings (8-1) knocked off the Buffalo Bills (6-3) in an overtime thriller in Week 10 NFL action.

The Bills drop out of the top spot in AFC East, losing in improbable fashion to the Vikings.

The big story entering the game was Josh Allen and his elbow. The franchise quarterback suffered an elbow injury against the New York Jets last week.

After being limited all week in practice, Allen suited up and started Sunday afternoon.

The Bills’ game plan was efficient with Allen playing at less than 100 percent health. Buffalo offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey called several plays that were quick-timing routes.

In addition, the Bills also relied more on their running game, as Devin Singletary made several shifty runs to put pressure on the Vikings defense.

Defensively, the Bills matched reasonably well against a talented Minnesota offense. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson scored on the Vikings first drive, a 22-yard reception over Dane Jackson. Outside of that play, the Bills did a solid job at keeping the dynamic Vikings offense of Jefferson, Delvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and TJ Hockenson, at bay.

The Bills went into halftime with a comfortable 24-10 lead.

Then, all heck broke loose. Buffalo’s coaching and execution ultimately failed them in the second half.

The Bills brass had an aura of invincibility based on the way they plays in the second half.

Allen extended plays and started to force passes.  Allen threw two interceptions in the second half, including a Patrick Peterson pick in the end zone.

The Peterson pick might have been the most important play of the game, as it brought together all of the elements of the collapse into one play. The Bills could have kicked a close field goal. Instead, up by 10, Sean McDermott decided to go for it on fourth down. Instead of the conservative call, the Bills gave the Vikings another opportunity to get back into the game.

Minnesota, for their part, worked methodically to get back into the game. They put pressure on the depleted Bills secondary. Kirk Cousins was accurate with throws. Cousins seemed to find Jefferson at will, as the wideout had a massive afternoon, catching 10 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown reception.

Dalvin Cook scored on an 81-scamper, while fullback CJ Ham scored ended a 13-play drive with a one-yard dive into the end zone. Kick Caleb Joseph missed a PAT, giving the Bills a four-point lead late in the fourth quarter

The chaos continued as the Vikings took possession of the ball late in the game. Part of Buffalo’s defensive mantra today was bend but not break. On a 12-play drive, Minnesota brought the ball to the half-yard line, only to have Kirk Cousins stuffed on a quarterback sneak.

Buffalo, while taking possession on their half-yard line, decided to try and quarterback sneak Josh Allen to get some space. Instead, pandemonium occurred, as the Bills fumbled the ball in the end zone. Minnesota took the lead late in the game.

Buffalo responded with a quick drive of their own to tie the game.

In overtime, the Bills defense offered little resistance as the Vikings moved the ball easily down the field. However, as what happened so often, Buffalo’s defense held tight, forcing a field goal for Minnesota.

On the ensuing drive, the Bills put the ball in Allen’s hands once again. He began the overtime drive with two rushes by the quarterback. As the Bills moved into the red zone, Allen forced two passes into the end zone. The second pass was picked off by Peterson once again, ending the Bills chances at redemption.

This was Allen’s fourth red-zone interception in the last two games.

It’s a bitter defeat for Buffalo, as they let a game in hand slip away in fantastic fashion. There’s a great deal of blame that will go around in this game, but it will start with Sean McDermott and what changes the team decided to make after halftime.

The Bills look to get things right next week against the Cleveland Browns at Highmark Stadium.


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Story originally appeared on Bills Wire