Washington vs. Bills game recap: Everything we know

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The Washington Football Team went on the road for the first time in 2021 and fell to the Buffalo Bills, 43-21, in a game that was truly never really competitive.

Yes, Washington had that flurry in the second quarter when running back Antonio Gibson took a screen pass 73 yards for a touchdown. Then, on the next play, kicker Dustin Hopkins recovered his own kickoff in one of the strangest plays you’ll see all year.

Washington scored another touchdown, and suddenly we had a game. Only we didn’t. The Bills kicked two field goals before halftime, and the lead was back up to 13 points.

It was never close again.

Here’s everything we know from Buffalo’s 43-21 rout of Washington in Week 3.

Final score: Bills 43, Washington 21

Sep 26, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (20) scores a touchdown beating Washington Football Team linebacker Cole Holcomb (55) to the end zone in the second quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo led 21-0 early and never looked back.

Keys to the game

Sep 26, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass to running back Zack Moss (20) as Washington Football Team nose tackle Daron Payne (94) chases in the second quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Third downs were again an issue for Washington on Sunday. It began on Buffalo's first drive when the Bills faced a third-and-15 and found Gabriel Davis for 23 yards and a first down. It was all downhill from there. The Bills were nine of 15 (60%) on third down, while Washington's offense was two of 11 (18%). There were many reasons why Washington lost this game, but third-down play was the biggest culprit. Also, an issue was the three turnovers on offense — which resulted in 17 points.

It was over when....

Sep 26, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (1) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates against the Washington Football Team during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen in the third quarter. Washington opened the second half with the football but could not move the ball and punter. Punter Tress Way pinned Buffalo at its seven-yard line, and Allen methodically led a 17-play, 93-yard drive that lasted over eight minutes and resulted in another Bills' touchdown. At this point, it was 34-14. It was over.

Players of the game

Sep 26, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) is tackled by Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White (27) and free safety Jordan Poyer (21) after a catch in the first quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

  • WR Terry McLaurin: Four receptions, 62 yards

  • RB Antonio Gibson: 31 rushing yards, one reception for 73 yards, touchdown

  • K Dustin Hopkins: 3/3 on PATs, perfectly executed "onside" kick

This was hard. Honestly, Washington struggled across the board. These three probably stood out more than most.

Defense offers no resistance

Sep 26, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) is pushed out of bounds by Washington Football Team strong safety Landon Collins (26) after a catch in the first quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen completed 32 of 43 passes for 358 yards with four touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. He was not sacked once. Entering this game, Allen said himself he wasn't playing well. Instead, Washington became his "get-right" game which is becoming a recurring theme for the defense. Also, Buffalo's offensive line had struggled in pass protection, and Washington's defensive line could not impact the game at all. There was one play where Stefon Diggs broke free down the field, but Washington got just enough pressure for Allen to throw it out of bounds. Then, there is the issue of the broken coverage on the same play. This defense is failing everywhere, from coaching to each position group. Chase Young and Montez Sweat made no impact on the game. The secondary was overmatched. The linebackers struggled. Cue another week of excuses such as "it's a play here or there" or "we are close." Just don't listen. This group is bad right now and has a long way to go to turn this mess around.

What's next

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 27: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Washington is back on the road next week against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons picked up their win of the season on Sunday with a 17-14 win over the New York Giants. Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan will enjoy Washington's defense on film this week.

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