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Bills nearly blow 28-3 lead, score late with help from controversial call to stun Rams

Eric Edholm
·4-min read

The Josh Allen MVP campaign is still alive thanks to a controversial call late in the Buffalo Bills’ thrilling victory on Sunday.

Despite blowing a 28-3 second-half lead, the unbeaten Bills drove for the game-winning score in the final seconds to hold off the feisty Los Angeles Rams, 35-32. The Bills moved to 3-0, and the Rams dropped to 2-1.

Allen drove the Bills 75 yards for the game-winning score after the Rams had stormed back from a 25-point deficit. He was mostly terrific, finishing the game 24-of-33 passing for 311 yards with four touchdowns, one interception and one rushing score.

Allen now has 10 touchdown passes and two rushing scores through three games, against only one pick. But he wouldn’t have his last touchdown pass without the help of the officials.

On a fourth-and-9 play in the red zone in the final minute, the Rams’ Darious Williams was flagged — quite a shaky call — for pass interference, keeping the Bills’ hopes alive. Williams made contact on Bills rookie receiver Gabriel Davis, but Davis also ran right into Williams and the referees threw a flag on the defender.

Josh Allen led the Bills on a game-winning touchdown drive to escape an embarrassing blown lead against the Rams. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Josh Allen led the Bills on a game-winning touchdown drive to escape an embarrassing blown lead against the Rams. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

It’s a call that’s going to be talked about quite a bit. At the very least, there’s an argument for illegal contact to have been the call (or a no-call), but the DPI cost the Rams an additional five yards.

The Bills were given new life, and Allen hit Tyler Kroft for a game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds left. It was Kroft’s second touchdown pass of the game.

Three different Bills receivers caught touchdowns, and Cole Beasley led the way with 100 yard receiving.

Goff completed 22 of 31 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns with one pick. He also ran in for a score that helped kickstart the massive comeback. Darrell Henderson was huge for the Rams, rushing 20 times 114 yards and a touchdown.

But it wasn’t enough.

The Rams’ biggest comeback ever is 24 points, which happened back on Dec. 6, 1992. Goff hadn’t even turned 2 years old yet. Rams head coach Sean McVay was 6. Neither could quite do enough to break that mark.

Jared Goff and the Rams nearly pulled off an epic comeback victory against the Bills. (AP Photo/John Munson)
Jared Goff and the Rams nearly pulled off an epic comeback victory against the Bills. (AP Photo/John Munson)

Allen’s two second-half turnovers were a big part of the story, allowing the Rams a shot to win. After the Rams cut the Bills’ lead to 28-10 on a Goff rushing touchdown, safety John Johnson picked Allen off on a play that was held up on replay. Kroft appeared to haul in a terrific grab, but Johnson was ruled to have wrestled it away.

That was perhaps the second-most controversial call of the game. The late DPI flag suddenly became the bigger story late.

After Buffalo’s lead was cut to 28-25, Allen was strip-sacked by the Rams’ Aaron Donald, giving the ball back to Los Angeles. Making matters worse, Allen was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, tacking on 15 additional yards.

The Rams took advantage as Henderson plowed into the end zone, giving them an improbable 32-28 lead. They outscored Buffalo 29-0 in just over 15 minutes of game action between the third and fourth quarters.

Midway through the third quarter, the Bills took a 28-3 lead when Allen hit Stefon Diggs for a 4-yard touchdown pass. But four minutes later, the Rams scored to start their furious comeback.

The Bills’ biggest blown lead ever entering the game had been 21 points, which had happened four times previously. The last time they blew a lead that big was back in Week 17 of the 2011 season, when the Bills scored the first 21 points and then watched as the New England Patriots rip off 49 consecutive points.

But they didn’t set a new mark for futility on Sunday, finding a way to hang on late.

And Allen and the Bills are suddenly one of the more entertaining teams in football.

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