2020 Buffalo Bills season
Template:Infobox NFL season The 2020 season was the Buffalo Bills' 61st in the National Football League, the sixth full season under the ownership of Terry and Kim Pegula and fourth under the head coach/general manager tandem of Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane. After acquiring players such as Stefon Diggs, Mario Addison, and A. J. Klein during an offseason affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Buffalo began the season strong with a 4–0 start, its first since 2008. Despite two straight losses afterwards, the Bills won 9 of their final 10 games, with their only loss during that span being the Hail Murray game against the Arizona Cardinals, to finish with a 13–3 record, improving on their 10–6 record from 2019 and tying the franchise record set in the Super Bowl seasons of 1990 and 1991.
In addition to returning to the playoffs for the third time in four years after previously going 17 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance, the team won the AFC East division title for the first time since 1995 (during the Marv Levy/Jim Kelly era) after a 48–19 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 15, becoming only the second team other than the 2008 Miami Dolphins to win the division over the New England Patriots since 2003. They also qualified for the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1998 and 1999 (during the Wade Phillips/Doug Flutie era), which was also the last time the Bills had back-to-back double-digit-win seasons.
The Bills began their playoff run in the Wild Card Round against the Indianapolis Colts winning 27–24 to win their first playoff game since 1995. After this, they defeated the Baltimore Ravens 17–3 in the Divisional Round, advancing to their first AFC Championship Game since 1993, where they faced the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who they coincidentally faced in their last AFC Championship Game appearance. The Bills would lose 38–24.
Draft[edit source | edit]
|2020 Buffalo Bills draft|
|Draft order||Player name||Position||College||Contract||Notes|
|1||22||Traded to the Minnesota VikingsTemplate:Efn-ua|
|2||54||A. J. Epenesa||DE||Iowa|
|5||155||Traded to the Minnesota VikingsTemplate:Efn-ua||From BrownsTemplate:Efn-ua|
|6||188||Tyler Bass||K||Georgia Southern||From BrownsTemplate:Efn-ua|
|201||Isaiah Hodgins||WR||Oregon State|
|207||Traded to the Minnesota VikingsTemplate:Efn-ua||From Ravens via PatriotsTemplate:Efn-ua|
|7||236||Traded to the Cleveland BrownsTemplate:Efn-ua|
|239||Dane Jackson||CB||Pittsburgh||From VikingsTemplate:Efn-ua|
Staff[edit source | edit]
Final roster[edit source | edit]
Preseason[edit source | edit]
|1||Template:Dow tooltip||at Baltimore Ravens||M&T Bank Stadium||Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic|
|2||Template:Dow tooltip||Atlanta Falcons||Bills Stadium|
|3||Template:Dow tooltip||Indianapolis Colts||Bills Stadium|
|4||Template:Dow tooltip||at Detroit Lions||Ford Field|
Regular season[edit source | edit]
Schedule[edit source | edit]
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
Game summaries[edit source | edit]
Week 1: vs. New York Jets[edit source | edit]
Buffalo handily won after racing to a 21–0 second quarter lead. Quarterback Josh Allen surpassed 300 passing yards for the first time in his career-- throwing for 312, to be exact-- and rushed 14 times for 57 yards as newly acquired receiver Stefon Diggs made his debut with the team, while the defense largely shut down the Jets' offense aside from a field goal, a 69-yard touchdown pass from Sam Darnold to Jamison Crowder and a garbage-time touchdown in the fourth quarter, though rookie kicker Tyler Bass struggled in his debut, missing two of his four field goal attempts.
Week 2: at Miami Dolphins[edit source | edit]
In a back-and-forth affair against the rival Dolphins and former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Allen sealed the game for the Bills with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to rookie Gabriel Davis and John Brown, respectively, as the defense was playing without starting linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. Stefon Diggs also caught his first touchdown as a Buffalo Bill, which occurred during a power outage at Hard Rock Stadium in the second quarter that temporarily prevented CBS from airing the game. With the win, Buffalo improved to 2–0, as Allen threw for 415 yards.
Week 3: vs. Los Angeles Rams[edit source | edit]
Buffalo raced to a 28–3 lead in the middle of the third quarter, but after a pass from Josh Allen to TE Tyler Kroft was controversially ruled an interception for Los Angeles as Rams DB John Johnson III grabbed the ball moments after Kroft caught it, the Rams erased the deficit and took over the lead in the fourth quarter. Allen would nonetheless lead a game-winning drive in the final four minutes of the game, including three crucial passes to WR Cole Beasley, capping it off with a touchdown pass to Kroft following a defensive pass interference call on Darious Williams on 4th and 9. With the win, not only did Buffalo start 3-0 start for the second year in a row, but for the third week in a row, Allen threw for over 300 yards.
Week 4: at Las Vegas Raiders[edit source | edit]
Buffalo scored first on the opening drive of the game when Josh Allen found a wide open Gabriel Davis for a 26-yard TD. The Bills would not lose the lead for the remainder of the game, with Allen continuing his hot start to the season. Late in the second quarter, Allen scrambled and found Stefon Diggs for a 9-yard gain, taking a big hit from Raiders DE Arden Key, resulting in an injury to the left shoulder. He would return later in the game and score a 1-yard quarterback sneak, along with 136 yards passing in the second half, with his longest being a 49-yard throw to Diggs. Buffalo would win and go to 4–0 for the first time since 2008 (the team started 4-0 that season before losing nine of their final 12 games).
Week 5: at Tennessee Titans[edit source | edit]
Due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Titans organization, the game was at first postponed from Sunday to the following Tuesday. This was also the NFL's first time since 2010 a regular season game is played on a Tuesday. In a battle of unbeaten teams, the Bills, missing starters such as Matt Milano, John Brown, Quinton Spain and Tre'Davious White, were unable to contain Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who scored four overall touchdowns on the Bills defense. To make matters worse, three turnovers by Buffalo allowed for short fields and quick touchdowns for the Titans. With their first loss of the season and first loss to Tennessee since 2012, the Bills fell to 4-1.
Week 6: vs. Kansas City Chiefs[edit source | edit]
Despite holding the high-powered Kansas City offense to 13 points in the first half of a rain-soaked game postponed from the previous Thursday due to the Titans game being pushed back to the previous Tuesday, the Bills defense was not able to contain Chiefs rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who led Kansas City to 245 rushing yards, while the Bills offense was bottled up for the most part, despite numerous pass-interference penalties called on the Chiefs secondary and two Josh Allen TD passes to Diggs and Beasley. With the loss, Buffalo fell to 4-2.
Week 7: at New York Jets[edit source | edit]
In a rematch from Week 1, New York jumped to an early 10–0 lead following a strip-sack of Allen by Jets linebacker Tarell Basham, but the Bills would score 18 unanswered points, all field goals by Tyler Bass, to win an ugly game, moving the ball well outside the red zone and never being forced to punt during the game. Despite early struggles in the first half, Buffalo's defense allowed just 4 total yards by the Jets offense in the second half. Buffalo improved to 5–2 with the win, snapping a two-game losing streak and sweeping the Jets for the first time since 2015 (former head coach Rex Ryan's first season with Buffalo after six seasons with the Jets; the Bills won both meetings that year 22-17, with the latter meeting eliminating the Jets from the playoffs and sending the Pittsburgh Steelers into the postseason). The Bills also became the first team since 1941 to not only not score a touchdown, but also not punt in a game.
Week 8: vs. New England Patriots[edit source | edit]
In a windy game, both the Bills and Patriots opted for run-heavy offensive attacks, with both teams nearing 200 overall rushing yards apiece, as Bills rookie RB Zack Moss rushed for the first two touchdowns of his career. Played down to the wire, the game was decided when DT Justin Zimmer forced Patriots QB Cam Newton to fumble in the red zone as New England was driving to either tie the game or take the lead on its final drive. With the win, not only did Buffalo improve to 6-2 with a 1.5-game lead over Miami for the division lead, but achieved its first win over the Patriots since 2016 and first at home since 2011.
Week 9: vs. Seattle Seahawks[edit source | edit]
Thanks to an emotionally charged performance from Josh Allen, whose grandmother, Patricia, passed away the previous night, not only did the Bills improve to 7–2 on the season, their strongest record after nine regular season games since 1993, but the team also notched their first victory over the Seahawks since 2008, their first win over a Pete Carroll-coached team since 1999 (when Carroll coached the New England Patriots before being replaced by Bill Belichick the following season) and the most points scored by the Bills in a game since defeating the San Francisco 49ers 45–16 in 2016.
Week 10: at Arizona Cardinals[edit source | edit]
In a back-and forth game in which the Bills were up 23-9 in the third quarter but then allowed 3 consecutive Cardinals scores, the Bills would go down the field to score with 0:34 remaining on a 21-yard Stefon Diggs touchdown pass from Josh Allen, taking a late 30-26 lead. However, the Cardinals would go down and respond with a score of their own, a 43-yard pass Hail Mary touchdown with Kyler Murray connecting with DeAndre Hopkins with just 0:02 remaining to give the Cardinals the 32-30 win, dropping the Bills to 7-3 heading into the bye week (it would be the team's last regular-season loss).
Week 12: vs. Los Angeles Chargers[edit source | edit]
Despite suffering three turnovers (each in the fourth quarter) and a knee injury Josh Allen sustained in the second quarter, the Bills held on to win, stifling rookie QB Justin Herbert and the Chargers' offense for much of the game. With the win, Buffalo improved to 8–3 and handed Los Angeles its first loss all season by more than a touchdown. This was also the Bills' first win over the Chargers since 2008 and their first win over the Chargers as a Los Angeles-based team since 1960, in addition to being the first Bills–Chargers matchup since 2002 without QB Philip Rivers on the Chargers' roster (Rivers joined the Indianapolis Colts roster in the offseason).
Week 13: at San Francisco 49ers[edit source | edit]
Template:Americanfootballbox This game was played in State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona due to Covid 19.** State Farm Stadium is the home of the Arizona Cardinals , but the game counted as a San Francisco 49ers home game. Josh Allen and Cole Beasley led the Bills offense in an effective showing, while the defense kept a stout 49ers rushing offense in check for the most part with linebacker Matt Milano returning from injured reserve. With the win, not only did Buffalo improve to 9–3, but the team also earned its first win on Monday Night Football since 1999.Template:Efn-ua The team also clinched its second winning season in a row, the first time since 1998-1999.
Week 14: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers[edit source | edit]
After a scoreless first quarter, Pittsburgh scored first with Ben Roethlisberger completing a 19-yard TD pass to James Washington in the second quarter. However, the Bills then scored 23 unanswered points en route to a 26–15 victory, never relinquishing the lead after a 51-yard pick six of Roethlisberger by Taron Johnson prior to halftime. With the win, not only did the Bills match their win total from the previous season, defeat the Steelers at home for the first time since 1999 and start 10–3 for the first time since 1991, but Josh Allen also passed Jim Kelly for most total touchdowns in a single season in team history, while Stefon Diggs tied Eric Moulds' record of 100 receptions in a single season.
Week 15: at Denver Broncos[edit source | edit]
A 48–19 blowout victory in Denver was the Bills' first by more than two scores since Week 12 of 2019 (incidentally also against the Broncos). Their 48 points scored was the greatest number of points scored by the Bills since scoring 49 against the Bengals in Week 11 of 2010. It was also their first road win over the Broncos since 2008. With the dominant win, the Bills not only clinched their third playoff berth in four seasons after having previously missed the playoffs for 17 consecutive seasons, but also won the AFC East division for the first time since 1995. Josh Allen joined Drew Bledsoe in 2002 as the only quarterbacks in franchise history to surpass 4,000 passing yards in a season.
Week 16: at New England Patriots[edit source | edit]
After a close first quarter, in which the Bills were leading 10–9 following a 9-yard Cam Newton touchdown run, the Bills offense scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 38–9 blowout victory on the final Monday Night Football game of the season, sweeping the Patriots for the first time since 1999 and clinching their first 12-win season since 1993. The win extended the Bills' streak of double-digit wins to five games. Josh Allen passed Jim Kelly's franchise record for most passing touchdowns in a single season with 34, while Stefon Diggs surpassed Eric Moulds for the franchise single-season receiving yards record.
Week 17: vs. Miami Dolphins[edit source | edit]
In a rematch from Week 2, the Bills closed out the regular season hosting the Dolphins, who were forced to start rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, as Ryan Fitzpatrick tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Tagovailoa had his worst performance of the season, as he had three interceptions, one of which was returned for a TD by CB Josh Norman. QB Josh Allen threw for 224 yards, three TDs and a first quarter interception, with two of those TDs going to WR Isaiah McKenzie, who also returned a punt 84 yards for a TD in the second quarter. Despite being replaced in the second half by Matt Barkley, Allen still broke the single season record for most passing yards by a QB in franchise history and, despite a scoreless first quarter, the Bills continued their dominating performance of the previous five weeks. They extended their streak of double-digit wins to six games by scoring a season-high 56 points, the second-most points against a single opponent in franchise history (they scored 58 against the Dolphins in 1966). With the 56–26 victory, the Bills clinched the #2 seed in the playoffs, finished 13-3 for the franchise's best season since 1991, and swept all three divisional opponents for a 6–0 record within the division for the first time in franchise history.
Standings[edit source | edit]
Division[edit source | edit]
Conference[edit source | edit]
Postseason[edit source | edit]
|Playoff round||Date||Opponent (seed)||Result||Record||Venue||Recap|
|Wild Card||Template:Dow tooltip||Indianapolis Colts (7)||W 27–24||1–0||Bills Stadium||Recap|
|Divisional||Template:Dow tooltip||Baltimore Ravens (5)||W 17–3||2–0||Bills Stadium||Recap|
|AFC Championship||January 24, 2021||at Kansas City Chiefs (1)||L 24–38||2–1||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
Game summaries[edit source | edit]
AFC Wild Card Playoffs: vs. (7) Indianapolis Colts[edit source | edit]
In their fourth consecutive playoff game against the AFC South, and what would end up being Colts quarterback Philip Rivers' final NFL game, the Bills held on despite a fourth quarter comeback by the Colts to win their first playoff game since 1995. In his first playoff win, Josh Allen threw for 2 touchdowns and 324 passing yards, and scored another rushing touchdown. Dawson Knox and Stefon Diggs caught a touchdown each. Tyler Bass kicked a 54-yard field goal, a new rookie playoff record. Allen became the first QB in NFL history to throw for 300+ yards, run for 50+ yards and complete at least 70% of his passes in a playoff game. The game was also coach Sean McDermott's first playoff win as head coach.
AFC Divisional Playoffs: vs. (5) Baltimore Ravens[edit source | edit]
In a windy game which saw three missed field goals in the first half alone (two by the league's best kicker in Justin Tucker and one by Bills rookie Tyler Bass), the Bills scored the first touchdown of the game in the third quarter on a three yard pass from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs to take a 10–3 lead. The Ravens then drove to the Bills' 9 yard line, where quarterback Lamar Jackson threw an end-zone interception to Bills cornerback Taron Johnson, which was returned 101 yards for a touchdown, tied for the longest pick-six in NFL playoff history, to expand the Bills' lead to 17–3. Jackson then suffered an injury on the next series, and was unable to return. Although the Bills offense was held scoreless for the rest of the game, Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley was unable to complete a comeback, sealing the 17-3 win for the Bills to advance to their first AFC Championship since 1993.
AFC Championship: at (1) Kansas City Chiefs[edit source | edit]
Template:Americanfootballbox This was the third AFL/AFC championship game between the two teams. Kansas City won the 1966 AFL Championship game to advance to Super Bowl I, while Buffalo bested the Chiefs in the 1993 AFC Championship game to advance to Super Bowl XXVIII, its fourth in a row. Despite taking a 9-0 lead in the first quarter, the Bills offense was ineffective in the red zone, and on defense, they were unable to contain the Chiefs offense for the remainder of the game. After giving up three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter, the Bills scored a field goal to go into halftime down 12-21. The Chiefs momentum continued into the second half with two more scoring drives, while the Bills settled for another field goal. In the fourth quarter, Allen's pass intended for receiver John Brown was tipped and intercepted, leading to the Chiefs' final touchdown of the night. The Bills followed up with a scoring drive on a Josh Allen touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie, followed by an unsuccessful two-point attempt, and a successful onside kick recovery leading to a field goal. The Chiefs recovered the Bills' next onside kick and were able to drive to the Bills' 15-yard line and run out the clock, ending the Bills' hopes for a comeback victory.
Accolades[edit source | edit]
- Josh Allen: 4x AFC Offensive Player of the Week; 2x AFC Offensive Player of the Month
- Stefon Diggs: 1x AFC Offensive Player of the Week
- Jerry Hughes: 1x AFC Defensive Player of the Week
- A. J. Klein: 1x AFC Defensive Player of the Week
- Pro Bowlers:
Notes[edit source | edit]
References[edit source | edit]
- Gaughan, Mark. "After 25 years, Bills finally are AFC East champs once again". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
- Shook, Nick (July 27, 2020). "Roger Goodell writes letter to NFL fans as training camps start across U.S." NFL. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
- "Jets vs. Bills - Game Recap - September 13, 2020 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
- Maiorana, Sal (2020-09-20). "QB Josh Allen erupts for career day as Bills take down Dolphins". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
- Scull, Harry Jr. (September 27, 2020). "NFL explains why controversial interception was not overturned". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
- Talbot, Ryan (September 27, 2020). "Josh Allen, Bills offense lead late comeback vs. Rams (report card)". newyorkupstate. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
- "Bills vs. Raiders - Game Recap - October 4, 2020 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
- Middlehurst-Schwartz, Michael (October 8, 2020). "Titans' game against Bills delayed to Tuesday amid COVID-19 outbreak". USA TODAY. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
- Gray, Nick (2020-10-13). "When was the last NFL game on a Tuesday night?". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
- "What we learned from Bills' Week 5 loss to Titans". Bills Wire. 2020-10-15. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
- "Clyde Edwards-Helaire helps Chiefs run roughshod over Bills". USA TODAY. 2020-10-19. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- Parrino, Matt (2020-10-25). "Bills win ugly vs. Jets, 18-10; Jerry Hughes sensational as defense steps up: Instant observations". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- Sullivan, Tyler (2020-11-01). "Patriots vs. Bills score: Cam Newton late fumble leads to fourth-straight loss, Buffalo extends division lead". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
- "Hail Murray: Cardinals stun Bills 32–30 in final seconds". USA TODAY. 2020-11-15. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
- Maiorana, Sal. "Bills weather late missteps to hang on for win against Chargers". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- Louis-Jacques, Marcel (2020-12-08). "Allen, Beasley bolster Bills in victory over 49ers". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
- "Josh Allen made sure to mention JuJu Smith-Schuster's dance during pregame pep talk". For The Win. 2020-12-14. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
- @BuffaloBills (December 14, 2020). "That's our quarterback! Raising hands #GoBills" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Louis-Jacques, Marcel (2020-12-20). "Bills blast Broncos, capture elusive division title". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
- "Josh Allen has only second 4,000-yard passing season in Bills history". The Buffalo News. 2020-12-19. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
- "What we learned from Bills' victory over Patriots on Monday night". NFL.com. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
- "Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs Results". FootballDB.com. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
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