The Bills could have suffered a crushing defeat after blowing the identical 25-point lead the Falcons once flushed in the Super Bowl.
But a late pass interference call and early MVP candidate Josh Allen’s fourth touchdown pass of the game with 15 seconds remaining kept the Bills unbeaten through three games with a 35-32 victory Sunday over the Rams.
“I love this team,” said Allen, who also had a 1-yard rushing TD. “Going up 28-3, that just means we’ve got to be better and make sure we’re keeping our foot on the pedal. We have to put that game away. I’m very happy we got the win, but I’m also a little mad for allowing us to dip a little there.”
Jared Goff (321 passing yards) led the Rams (2-1) back from a 28-3 third-quarter hole, posting 29 consecutive points to put his team up 32-28 on Darrell Henderson’s 1-yard scoring run with 4:30 remaining.
Allen, who has registered 10 TD passes and one interception through three games, moved the Bills to the Los Angeles 13-yard line for a fourth-and-8 play with 25 seconds left.
Allen’s pass to Gabriel Davis fell incomplete, but Rams cornerback Darious Williams was flagged for interference, and Allen found Tyler Kroft on the next play for a 3-yard touchdown.
“Disappointing end to a very resilient effort by our guys,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “I love this football team. We’re not going to make any excuses. We’re going to use this as an opportunity to move forward.”
Allen, the third quarterback taken in the 2018 draft (No. 7 overall) behind Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (No. 1) and the Jets’ Sam Darnold (No. 3), has engineered seven fourth-quarter comeback wins in his first three seasons. The Bills have started 3-0 for two consecutive seasons for the first time since 1991-92.
“The NFL, it’s tough to win. No matter what the score is, you’ve got to keep playing,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “It came down to one drive and that’s why we practice the way we do.”
Foles Fries Falcons
The Bears made a decisive change at quarterback to remain unbeaten, and the Falcons suffered another ignominious defeat, blowing a big lead for the second consecutive week in a 30-26 home loss to Chicago.
Nick Foles replaced Mitchell Trubisky with the Bears trailing 26-10 in the second half and threw for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, culminated by a 28-yarder to Anthony Miller with 1:53 remaining.
“I’ve been where [Trubisky’s] been, and it’s not easy,” said Foles, the former Super Bowl winner with Philadelphia who was acquired by the Bears in a March trade with Jacksonville. “It’s not easy coming in cold like that, but if you can approach it with mindset of one play at a time, you can’t get all the points back in one throw, that helps a lot.”
Dan Quinn’s Falcons, who infamously squandered a 28-3 lead in a Super Bowl LI loss to New England, also fell to Dallas last Sunday after leading 39-24 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
“These last two weeks have been nothing short of crushing,” Quinn said.
“It doesn’t get no worse than this,” defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. added. “We probably found the two worst ways you can lose a football game.”
Foles finished 16-for-29 for 188 yards in less than two quarters of play. Trubisky had thrown five TD passes in the Bears’ first two victories, but he was 13-for-22 for 128 yards with an interception Sunday before Bears coach Matt Nagy benched him in the third.
“The quarterback situation, there’s a lot of emotions that go into that [decision],” said Nagy, who declined to announce a starter for next week. “That was a move we ended up making and we’re super fired up to win the game.”
The Fifth Dimension
Russell Wilson’s fifth touchdown throw of the game, a 29-yarder to DK Metcalf, with 1:47 remaining boosted Seattle (3-0) to a wild 38-31 home win over Dallas (1-2).
Wilson, who also had five TD tosses in last week’s win over New England, has 14 touchdowns and just one interception through three games. Three of those scoring throws Sunday went to Tyler Lockett, who finished with nine receptions for 100 yards.
The Cowboys appeared poised for their second consecutive fourth-quarter comeback victory, taking a 31-30 lead on Greg Zuerlein’s 42-yard field goal with 3:59 to go.
Dak Prescott surpassed 400 passing yards (career-high 472) for the second straight week, connecting for two TD tosses to Cedrick Wilson and one to Michael Gallup, but he was picked off by Ryan Neal in the end zone with six seconds remaining.
Tie, Eagles, Tie
Carson Wentz and No. 1-overall pick Joe Burrow played well enough not to lose Sunday, but neither emerged victorious either as the Eagles and Bengals played to a 23-23 tie to each move to 0-2-1.
Philly kicker Jake Elliott lined up for a 59-yard field-goal attempt with 19 seconds remaining in overtime, but after a false start moved the Eagles back 5 yards, coach Doug Pederson elected to punt to preserve the tie.
“Tying is no fun, it’s an awkward way to end a game,” said Wentz, who was intercepted twice.
Burrow, still seeking his first NFL win, threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns — both to Tee Higgins — for the Bengals.
“This is a loss to me. We didn’t win, so that’s all it is to me,” said Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner at LSU. “If you don’t win, you lose. That’s the mindset to me.”
The Bills’ late touchdown not only gave them the three-point victory, but the extra point enabled their backers to cover the 2 ½-point spread. The over/under in the 23-23 tie between the Eagles and Bengals was 47, so even an overtime safety would have cinched it.
The Hurt Locker
Jets tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) wasn’t the only prominent rookie injured Sunday. Washington defensive end Chase Young, the No. 2 pick in the draft, left the Football Team’s 34-20 loss to Cleveland with a groin injury.
The Falcons, playing without cornerback CB A.J. Terrell (COVID-19) and wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring), lost wide receiver Russell Gage to a concussion.
The Seahawks’ victory was costly, with former Jets safety Jamal Adams (groin) and running back Chris Carson (knee) not returning.
Other notable injuries: Giants safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle), Bills wide receiver John Brown (calf) and safety Micah Hyde (ankle), Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson (hamstring) and tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle), Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage (concussion), Bears running back Tarik Cohen (knee), 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Mosley (head) and tight end Jordan Reed (ankle), Texans safety A.J. Moore (hamstring), Steelers running back Diontae Johnson (concussion), Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette (thumb), Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan (shoulder), Rams safety Jordan Fuller (shoulder).
Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski connected on a career-high 6 of 6 field-goal attempts and nailed a game-winner for the third straight week — a 55-yarder with 1:44 remaining — as Tennessee improved to 3-0 with a 31-30 win over Minnesota (0-3). Titans running back Derrick Henry added 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns. … Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady threw for 297 yards and three scores in Tampa Bay’s second straight win, 28-10, over Denver. … Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed two TDs and passed Hall of Fame center Mike Webster for the most games in team history (221) as 3-0 Pittsburgh kept Houston winless, 28-21. … Patriots running back Rex Burkhead had 98 scrimmage yards and scored three touchdowns and running back Sony Michel added 117 yards on nine carries in New England’s 36-20 win over Las Vegas. … Browns running back Nick Chubb ran for 108 yards and scored twice, giving Cleveland its first winning record (2-1) since 2014. … Panthers kicker Joey Slye nailed five field goals to give Matt Rhule his first coaching win in Carolina’s 21-16 win over the Chargers. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was 35-for-49 for 330 yards and one TD for the Chargers, whose final drive stalled at the Panthers’ 15-yard line. … Lions kicker Matt Prater drilled a 39-yard field goal as time expired in Detroit’s first win, 26-23, win over Arizona (2-1).