The Chargers started the game on offense with Philip Rivers working with an empty backfield. He was flushed from the pocket and picked up 7 yards on the ground. They tried a jet sweep to J.J. Jones on 2nd down, but it was easily stopped by the Bills. Melvin Gordon caught a pass in the flat and only had to get by one guy to get the easy 1st down, but in a surprise to nobody at all he lost his feet and fell. That brought on the punt team.
Josh Allen’s first drive as a starter was ended by rookie Uchenna Nwosu picking up his first career sack.
After a punt, the Chargers took over with good field position and an opportunity to take an early lead. Virgil Green took a short pass over the middle, broke a tackle, and picked up a big gain. Gordon followed that with a short gain on the new 1st down. Mike Williams then made his presence felt with a very impressive catch high and over the middle. Williams took a big shot and held onto the ball for a touchdown.
LeSean McCoy caught a short pass for 6 yards, but the Chargers took that right back when Derwin James picked up yet another sack getting to Allen before he could even look up. An off target Allen pass later and the Bills were punting again.
Austin Ekeler picked up consecutive chunk plays on a short pass to the flat and then a jet sweep. Melvin Gordon was then stopped for no gain or negative yardage on consecutive plays. On 3rd & long, Rivers was able to find Mike Williams for a 1st down. On the next play, Gordon had a clear path 20 yards for a touchdown in large part thanks to a pulling Mike Pouncey who just buried his guy.
The Bills started their next drive by going back to McCoy through the air. He picked up 9 yards and Allen was able to scramble for the 1st on the next snap. McCoy got a carry after that and looked good picking up 5 yards up the middle. Robert Foster then took a jet sweep action for 11 yards on 2nd down (the same thing the Chiefs torched the Chargers with last week). Allen ran a bootleg and threw short but Kyzir White broke up the pass. A big run by McCoy was then called back due to holding that was largely unnecessary. On 2nd & 20 and 3rd & 20, Allen threw incomplete. An incredibly stupid penalty by Desmond King gave the Bills 15 yards and a first down. On the new set of downs, Charles Clay was “covered” by Kyle Emanue and Jahleel Addae. That, of course, resulted in a 21-yard reception. McCoy was stuffed for no gain to end the 1st quarter.
On the first play of the 2nd quarter, Melvin Ingram and Damion Square met at the quarterback for an 11-yard sack. On 3rd & 21, McCoy took a swing pass for 8 yards to make the field goal attempt a bit easier. Stephen Hauschka converted the 43-yard attempt.
Running to the left side of the line, Austin Ekeler picked up a easy 20+ yards that he finished hard running through a tackle. Virgil Green then picked up a nice gain on an intermediate pass. On an endaround, Ekeler picked up another big gain. Gordon followed it with his best run of the day that went for 5 yards. After that he was left wide open for an easy pitch and catch touchdown.
A short pass by Allen and two short runs by Marcus Murphy including a 3rd down run that was stopped behind the line of scrimmage by Darius Philon result in a three-and-out.
After a screen failed to develop, Rivers went to Keenan Allen on 2nd down and Allen picked up a 1st down after an impressive run after catch. Tyrell Williams on a crossing route immediately got out of bounds instead of cutting upfield but he still picked up a 1st down. Tyrell then caught another long pass and fumbled, but he was lucky that the Chargers recovered. The Bills challenged the ruling but it stood. Melvin Gordon picked up some decent yardage on consecutive receptions but showcased his poor openfield running on both. Keenan Allen ran a beautiful route, beat his man, then picked up good yardage after the catch. A bad snap and a false start later the Chargers were looking at a 2nd & 10 from the 10. Rivers shoveled a pass to Gordon after quick pressure forced him to improvise and Gordon made it to the 2. On 3rd & 2, Rivers looked for and found Gordon again for their third touchdown connection of the day.
A 57-yard pass to Zay Jones eclipsed the Bills’ total offensive output on the day to that point. A couple ineffective passes and a Melvin Ingram sack later the Bills brought on the kicking team again. Hauschka was good from 41 yards.
The Bills’ first possession of the second half started out as the LeSean McCoy show, but ended up being successful largely because of Josh Allen’s ability to elude pressure and scramble. A dumb horse collar tackle penalty by Melvin Ingram essentially guaranteed the Bills would get their first touchdown of the game and then Chris Ivory punched it in from the 1.
A quick three-and-out by the Chargers was followed by a bizarre series of events on the ensuing punt. The returner failed to signal for a fair catch and was blown up immediately. Taiwan Jones recovered the ball in the end zone. His helmet was knocked off. The referees allowed the play to continue and then flagged the Chargers when they tackled him.
The defense largely stood strong allowing only one 1st down on a very nice throw by Allen to Kelvin Benjamin. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to get anything going as they went three-and-out including a big sack on 3rd down.
With great field position, the Bills took a shot deep on their first play, but Casey Hayward was there to knock the ball away. On 2nd down, McCoy appeared to be injured on a 1-yard run. On a play that almost definitely should have been blown dead due to Allen being “in the grasp,” Allen threw a pick to Adrian Phillips.
The Buffalo defense stepped up big after the turnover and very nearly forced a fumble when they sacked Rivers on 2nd down. A bad punt by Drew Kaser took a lucky bounce and saved it from being as awful as it could have been.
The 4th quarter began with the Chargers holding a 28-13 lead and looking like they were already ready to go home. It was all Derwin James as he almost single-handedly ruined the Bills’ drive and forced them to punt.
Tyrell Williams showed up again hauling in an 18-yard reception to start the drive. Gordon then came on to lose 4 yards and appeared to be injured though he walked off the field. Allen then caught another pass this time good for 16 yards. Virgil Green appeared to fumble along the sideline but was ruled down by contact and a review confirmed that. On 3rd & 10, Austin Ekeler nearly managed to make something from nothing, but he was unable to and the Chargers elected to punt after taking a delay of game penalty.
The Chargers appeared to touch the ball in the end zone which should have resulted in a touchback, but the referees missed that and the Bills started inside their own 5-yard line. Josh Allen quickly made matters worse by throwing a pass that was intercepted by Kyzir White.
A Keenan Allen reception brought the Chargers to the 1-yard line. An aborted snap moved them back to the 5. Luckily, Ekeler recovered. Ultimately, the Chargers settled for a field goal attempt that put the game out of reach for the Bills.
Allen and the Bills offense took over with about 4 minutes left in the game and went hurry-up hoping to give themselves a chance to score quickly. Allen scrambled early in the drive for yards, but his first pass fell incomplete. He managed to hit Logan Thomas for a 1st down on the next play. From there, the Chargers were content to let the Bills complete anything they wanted underneath and focused on tackling to prevent any yards after catch. Eventually, the failure to tackle resulted in Chris Ivory taking a short pass a long way to set up a 1st & goal from the 3. Kelvin Benjamin then caught a touchdown pass to make the game appear closer than it was.