Buffalo Bills Week 15: 4 Takeaways from a Big D Beatdown

There’s an old saying or adage or something that reads as follows: The most dangerous animal is one that is cornered. The Dallas Cowboys met a cornered Buffalo on Sunday afternoon, one with nothing to lose. The Bills left nothing to chance by leaving it all on the field in Western New York. If you take a quiet pause, you can still hear Bills Mafia celebrating. Dallas and the rest of the league got a wake-up call: the Buffalo Bills have woken up.

Here are four takeaways from a decisive dismantling of ‘America’s team‘.

Takeaways from the Bills Week 14 Win

The Bills Have a Legit Elite Running Game

James Cook joined the league in 2022 when the Bills drafted him in the second round. He joined the list of top-tier running backs on December 17th, 2023.

Here’s Mr. Cook’s stat line: 25 rushes for 179 yards (7.16 yards per carry) and two receptions for 42 yards, two total touchdowns. One doesn’t usually call a player’s stat lines gaudy, but those are. He ran confident, angry, and with purpose. Add to that the sudden emergence of his pass-catching ability and yards after the catch, and Cook may be the most dangerous weapon not named Josh Allen on the Bills.

The Bills found themselves in a lot of second and third and short situations because of Cook’s success on first down. It certainly makes Joe Brady’s job easier when you can keep calling runs, knowing they will be positive gains. It also opens the floodgates of RPOs and pass plays, along with Josh Allen-designed runs.

With Latavius Murray being a reliable change-of-pace guy and the emergence of Ty Johnson, the running game is not just keeping the Bills in the game, it’s winning games.

The Defense Continues to Defy the Odds

The Bills were without Micah Hyde and A.J. Epenesa, yet somehow they were still a constant bother to Dak Prescott. Fans have been critical of the Bills blitz packages this season because they were not getting to the quarterback and it left the secondary in a no-win situation. This week, the blitzes worked. The stat line only showed two sacks, but Proscott never looked calm nor in control as he had constant pressure and blanketing coverages even with the blitzing Bills leaving one-on-one matchups.

The defense looked comfortable, even in the rain and cold. Dallas looked uncomfortable while they were being outplayed, outcoached, and frankly, embarrassed. Dallas had scored 45, 41, and 33 points in their last three games. Up until 2:48 in the fourth quarter on Sunday, they had managed only three points.

You could blame it on the rain and Dallas playing their home games in the largest tuna can in the world, but the Bills managed to score points just fine in the 40-degree showers. The Cowboys just plain didn’t look like they wanted to be there.

Is the Disappearance of Diggs and Davis a Big Deal?

If you missed Stefon Diggs’ ridiculous one-handed catch, you should look it up. It’s a reminder of his talent. In the last few games both Diggs and Gabe Davis have been largely missing from the offense. Spoiler alert: the Bills have beaten the Chiefs and the Cowboys in those games, both Super Bowl contenders. Imagine if one or both of Buffalo’s top receiver duo actually had had a good day at the office.

It is concerning that Diggs and Davis are not putting up the numbers that fantasy owners long for, or even just fans of the game would like to see. Somehow, the Bills are winning and scoring points.

James Cook, Dalton Kincaid, and Khalil Shakir have stepped up and Josh Allen is still a dual threat, so the missing Diggs/Davis connections have not hurt the Buffalo offense…yet. The disappearance is not a big deal, but if the Bills want to complete the playoff push and do some damage in the postseason, they will need to find a way to reintegrate Diggs and Gabriel into the offense, or it may well become a big deal.

Buffalo Has Now Become the One Team No One Wants to play

Here’s a stark truth: the Buffalo Bills may not make the playoffs. They sit at ninth in the AFC as of Sunday Night. A more fun truth is that they have also beaten the Chiefs, the Cowboys, and narrowly lost to the Eagles in the past four weeks. They suddenly have a proficient offense and a lockdown defense. Has it been mentioned that the Bills have nothing to lose yet? It bears repeating. It may be too little too late, but Buffalo has figured ‘it’ out and the rest of the AFC is worried.

The Bills are peaking and if they continue to win and run the table, even if it’s just to eek into the seventh spot in the playoffs, they will be a very very tough out for any team in the AFC. In what is an already chaotic crazy conundrum of a conference, rankings may mean very little come playoff time.

Is the #2 seed really going to be that much more talented than the #6 or #7? Will home field really be an advantage? Even if Buffalo doesn’t make the playoffs, the AFC postseason is going to be a wildly entertaining, anyone-can-win-it ride. The AFC doesn’t want the Bills to get on the train, because if they do, they could take the trip all the way to the last stop.

Main Image: Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

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