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Analysis: Josh Allen and the Bills Show How Quickly Things Can Turn Around in the NFL
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By Associated Press
Published 4 months ago on
December 18, 2023

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Turnarounds happen quickly in the NFL.

Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have quieted talk about coach Sean McDermott’s job security with a pair of impressive wins.

The Dallas Cowboys suddenly look like pretenders because they can’t win on the road.

Joe Flacco has gone from his couch to becoming a Cleveland folk hero in less than a month.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs just needed a trip to New England to get back on the winning track.

Tommy DeVito was the toast of New York and New Jersey until the Saints whipped the Giants and mocked his celebrations.

The Eagles are shaking things up like a desperate team searching for answers instead of a division leader battling for the No. 1 seed.

The up-and-down Jaguars still sit in first place despite three straight losses.

At least Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and the San Francisco 49ers are consistent.

Game of Week 15

The game of Week 15 turned into a dud when Buffalo dominated Dallas and exposed the Cowboys in a 31-10 victory Sunday.

In the process, Dak Prescott’s MVP bid took a hit.

Allen helped the Bills (8-6) save their season in a win at Kansas City last week and watched James Cook carry the offense by leading a stellar rushing attack against the Cowboys.

Allen completed only seven passes against Dallas because Micah Parsons and the rest of the defense couldn’t stop Cook, who ran for 179 yards.

“We weren’t physical enough,” Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore said. “They were more physical than we were.”

Now, nobody is talking about firing McDermott. Buffalo still has a shot to win the AFC East. The Bills need to gain one game on the Dolphins (10-4) to make their showdown in Miami in Week 18 for first place. The Cowboys (10-4) visit the Dolphins next week while the Bills visit the Chargers (5-9).

“The NFL is a one-week-at-a-time league,” McDermott said. “We’re on a short week. We’ve got a couple guys banged-up. We have to go out West so that’ll be a challenge in itself.”

Life in the NFL

Flacco knows all about the fickle nature of life in the NFL.

The former Super Bowl MVP was unemployed before the Browns signed him to the practice squad on Nov. 20. He stepped into the starting lineup three weeks ago and has led Cleveland to consecutive wins with 300-yard passing performances in both games.

Flacco overcame three picks and rallied the Browns to a 20-17 victory over Chicago. Cleveland (9-5) leads the AFC wild-card race despite starting four quarterbacks this season.

“Obviously, Joe made some unbelievable throws there when we needed them,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “Just can’t say enough good things about how he played in that fourth quarter.”

The Chiefs avoided the first three-game losing streak in the Mahomes era with a 27-17 win over the hapless Patriots.

Mahomes threw for 305 yards and two TDs and also had two interceptions, including one on a ball that bounced out of Kadarius Toney’s hands. Mahomes, who threw a tantrum on the sideline last week after Toney’s offside penalty negated a go-ahead score in a loss to Buffalo, was fuming after the play.

But Toney’s mistake didn’t cost the Chiefs this time around.

“Losing three straight in this league really puts you in a tough spot and I thought the guys did a good job,” Mahomes said. “That’s a really good defense. Offensively, we scored points early. On defense, shut the door, kind of like they’ve been doing these last few weeks, but we have to continue to get better and better.”

The Giants had won three in a row behind DeVito before running into New Orleans. DeVito was sacked seven times in a 24-6 loss and the Saints mimicked his finger celebration after big plays.

The loss put New York (5-9) on the brink of playoff elimination.

The Eagles clinched a playoff berth without taking the field but they made a big change. Coming off lopsided losses to San Francisco and Dallas, coach Nick Sirianni stripped defensive coordinator Sean Desai of playcalling duties and gave senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia that role.

With Jalen Hurts questionable because of an illness, the Eagles (10-3) have to beat Seattle (6-7) on Monday night to keep pace with the 49ers in the race for the No. 1 seed.

Purdy tossed four TD passes and McCaffrey had 187 scrimmage yards and three scores in a 45-29 rout over Arizona.

The 49ers (11-3) have won five in a row after losing three straight. They’ve been the NFL’s most complete team and have the inside track on the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

But with a showdown against the AFC-leading Baltimore Ravens (11-3) coming up Christmas night, that can change in a hurry.

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