Rookie QB leads Bills over Vik­ings

Quar­ter­back rushes for one score and passes for an­other in road win

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - DAVE CAMP­BELL

MIN­NE­AP­O­LIS Josh Allen played with the poise of a well-sea­soned quar­ter­back, hus­tling to give Buf­falo an early lead in his first NFL road start.

Then the Bills turned their de­fence loose on Kirk Cousins and de­liv­ered a stun­ningly lop­sided vic­tory over the Min­nesota Vik­ings.

Allen ac­counted for three touch­downs, mak­ing Cousins look like the raw rookie as the Bills beat the Vik­ings 27-6 on Sun­day as 161/2-point un­der­dogs.

“This is a tough place to play. That’s a good Vik­ings de­fence,” said Allen, who be­came the first Bills rookie quar­ter­back to record at least one rush­ing and pass­ing score in his first ca­reer road start. “It just so­lid­i­fies the trust that I have in my team­mates.”

Cousins had three turnovers. He lost a fum­ble on a third-down sack in­side Min­nesota’s 20-yard line on each of the first two pos­ses­sions, and Buf­falo turned those re­cov­er­ies into 10 points. The Bills built a 27-0 lead by mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter as the crowd at U.S. Bank Sta­dium, where the Vik­ings had won 10 of their last 11 games in­clud­ing the play­offs, be­gan boo­ing with in­creased in­ten­sity.

“Great de­fence, well-coached, great scheme,” Cousins said. “They have le­git­i­mate play­ers at a lot of dif­fer­ent po­si­tions.”

The Vik­ings (1-1-1) al­lowed the Bills (1-2) to be­come only the sixth 16-plus-point un­der­dog win­ner in the NFL’s last 81 point spreads of that size. Ac­cord­ing to ESPN re­search, the last such win­ner was Wash­ing­ton over Dal­las on Dec. 3, 1995.

“I don’t think we took them too lightly,” Vik­ings coach Mike Zim­mer said. “I think they came out and kicked our butts.”

Af­ter be­ing outscored 75-9 over their first six quar­ters of the sea­son, the Bills have en­joyed a 41-9 ad­van­tage over the last six pe­ri­ods.

“We don’t re­ally pay at­ten­tion to what peo­ple think about us,” line­backer Lorenzo Alexan­der said. “It’s all about in­ter­nal be­lief and con­fi­dence. If you lis­ten to out­side noise, we’d never win a game be­cause no­body re­spects Buf­falo at all. We have to con­tinue to go out and earn that re­spect.”

Allen cer­tainly earned some with this per­for­mance.

The sev­enth over­all pick in the draft out of Wy­oming, who took the job ear­lier than ex­pected in re­lief of a strug­gling Nathan Peter­man in the opener, com­pleted 15 of 22 passes for 196 yards. That in­cluded a 26-yard touch­down pass to tight end Ja­son Croom.

AIR­BORNE ALLEN

Though Allen took three sacks and fum­bled three times, the Bills re­cov­ered all of them.

He put to­gether a mini-high­light film with his feet while in­jured run­ning back LeSean McCoy watched in a sweat­suit — with a big smile — from the side­line. Allen dived to fin­ish a 10-yard run by beat­ing An­thony Barr to the py­lon to fin­ish the game’s first drive. Later, on third-and-9, Allen hur­dled over Barr to land past the first-down marker. He capped that pos­ses­sion with a one-yard touch­down leap over the goal-line on fourth down for a 24-0 lead early in the sec­ond quar­ter.

“He was de­ci­sive early, and that’s im­por­tant,” coach Sean McDer­mott said. “It looked like he played with a clear mind.”

GROUNDED GAME

With run­ning back Dalvin Cook (ham­string) in­ac­tive and the score so lop­sided, the Vik­ings set a fran­chise record for fewest rush­ing at­tempts with six. Cousins, who took four sacks, com­pleted 40 of 55 pass­ing at­tempts for 296 yards and a late touch­down to Kyle Ru­dolph.

GO­ING GREEN

The Vik­ings in­ducted the late Den­nis Green, who is sec­ond be­hind Bud Grant in win­ning per­cent­age as a Vik­ings head coach, into their Ring of Honor. Green, who guided the Vik­ings to the play­offs in eight of his 10 sea­sons, be­came the 24th mem­ber. The Vik­ings beat the Bills in all three meet­ings un­der Green.

IN­JURY RE­PORT

Bills: Rus­sell Bo­dine, who started at C for Ryan Groy, left with leg cramps in the third quar­ter. Groy, who had moved to LG when Vlad Du­casse was in­jured, shifted back to the mid­dle as Du­casse re-en­tered ... CB Ryan Lewis, mak­ing his NFL de­but in place of Phillip Gaines, left with an in­jury in the fourth quar­ter.

Vik­ings: CB Trae Waynes (an­kle) left in the first quar­ter and didn’t re­turn ... RT Rashod Hill (an­kle) de­parted in the sec­ond quar­ter and didn’t re­turn.

UP NEXT

Bills: play at Green Bay Sun­day Vik­ings: play the Rams in Los An­ge­les on Thurs­day night

PHO­TOS: BRUCE KLUCKHOHN/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Buf­falo Bills quar­ter­back Josh Allen dives into the end zone over Min­nesota Vik­ings de­fen­sive line­man Shel­don Richard­son and line­backer Ben Gedeon in the first half of an im­pres­sive up­set vic­tory for the Bills in Min­ne­ap­o­lis on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Buf­falo Bills quar­ter­back Josh Allen breaks a tackle from Min­nesota Vik­ings line­backer An­thony Barr on Sun­day.

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