Bills quarterback Josh Allen is tackled from behind by Steelers Cameron Heyward.  Allen recovered his own fumble on the play.

Jg 091221 Bills 4

Bills facing added pressure to win in Miami

The Buffalo Bills are under pressure.

Pressure to win games.

Pressure to defend their first AFC East title since 1995.

Pressure to protect Josh Allen.

On Sunday, the Bills (0-1) visit the Miami Dolphins (1-0) in a key division battle.

The Bills have won five straight games in their series against the Dolphins, but — even though it’s early in the season — there’s a sense of urgency for Sunday’s matchup.

That’s because the Bills lost 23-16 to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday.

Allen was pressured 24 times, making it a dreadful day for Buffalo’s offensive line. He was also sacked three times, and he fumbled twice, losing one.

There were also six penalties called on Buffalo’s offensive line, including four that were accepted.

“I’ve got to play better,” said Allen, taking the blame. “I know that.”

Allen was the toast of Buffalo last season, passing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. This past Sunday, Allen completed 30 of 51/ passes for 270 yards and one touchdown. He wasn’t intercepted, but the Bills had issues on special teams and along their entire offensive line.

Buffalo blew a 10-0 lead, and it was a blocked punt for a touchdown that allowed the Steelers to finally take the lead in the fourth.

As for Buffalo’s blockers, the lowest grades assigned by Pro Football Focus went to guards Jon Feliciano and Ike Boettger.

The Bills were stopped twice on fourth down in Sunday’s second half, and they also lost the aforementioned Allen fumble.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins — who are listed as 3 1/2-point favorites on Sunday — are coming off a 17-16 win over the New England Patriots.

The Dolphins recovered two Patriots fumbles, including one at Miami’s 9-yard line with just 3:31 left in the game. Miami led by just one point at the time that Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard recovered that fumble, and that turnover denied the Patriots a shot at taking the lead.

“We needed the ball,” Howard said. “I made it happen.”

Howard led the NFL in interceptions last year, and he keys Miami’s defense.

“He’s a great player,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said.

Offensively, the Dolphins are led by a pair of former Alabama stars: second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

Tagovailoa completed 16 of 27 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown with one interception against the Patriots. Waddle, Miami’s first-round pick, caught four passes for 61 yards and one touchdown in his NFL debut.

With his speed, Waddle averaged 3.6 yards of separation against the Patriots. Last year, the Dolphins ranked next-to-last in the NFL (2.96) in that statistic.

Tagovailoa targeted Waddle six times last Sunday. Tagovailoa’s passer rating during those targets was a near-perfect 157.3.

Those two players had a good connection while at Alabama, but it has grown now that they are pro teammates.

“His biggest improvement is his communication,” Tagovailoa said of Waddle.

On the sideline, Waddle is now telling his quarterback what he sees and where he wants the ball on the next throw.

“He’s not asking,” said Tagovailoa, who has encouraged this communication. “He is telling me.”

Besides Waddle, Tagovailoa’s other big target is 6-3 receiver DeVante Parker, who has nearly 2,000 yards in receptions the past two years.

Miami also used backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett as a runner on Sunday, gaining a crucial first down on a third-and-1 play.

But not everyone was impressed with the Dolphins.

“That’s what Tua (does),” Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson said when asked about Tagovailoa’s interception. “If he doesn’t have his first read, he’s just going to throw the ball up.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2021; Conway, South Carolina, USA;  Coastal Carolina Chanticleers wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh (6) moves the ball against Kansas Jayhawks safety O.J. Burroughs (5) during action at Brooks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Coastal Carolina gets stiff road test at Buffalo

With a growing reputation as a winner capable of moving up in class, No. 16 Coastal Carolina takes its show on the road for the first time this season.

The Chanticleers (2-0) face off with Buffalo (1-1) in a nonconference matchup Saturday afternoon at Buffalo, N.Y. The team is embracing the opportunity to extend its proving ground.

Coastal Carolina is nationally ranked for the 14th consecutive polling week dating to last season. Last week’s 49-22 victory against visiting Kansas didn’t hurt matters.

“We know we can get better,” Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell said. “Especially on defense. I would have liked to see us be better.”

This will be the first-ever meeting between Buffalo and Coastal Carolina, as the Chanticleers aim for their eighth consecutive victory in a regular-season nonconference game.

Buffalo opened the season by winning at home against Wagner before last week’s 28-3 loss at Nebraska. The Bulls have only two losses in their last 18 home games.

“We have to go back to the systematic approach that we carry with us every single week to fix what we have to fix,” first-year Buffalo head coach Maurice Linguist said. “Build on the positives from the (Nebraska) game and prepare ourselves for a very good Coastal team.”

In defeating Kansas on Friday, Coastal Carolina made quick work of Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold, who was Buffalo’s previous coach. Now they face the program Leipold left behind with his move to the Big 12.

In each of its first two games, opponents had more snaps from scrimmage than Coastal Carolina. That translated to more possession time for those foes.

“We need to make sure we get back to milking some of the clock a little bit,” Chadwell said.

Buffalo has shown it can stay on the field and manage drives, taking 83 snaps last week compared to Nebraska’s 61. Now it must finish those drives and prevent big plays from opponents. Coastal Carolina is keen on preventing Buffalo from making progress.

“I know our defense will get us playing better,” Chadwell said.

The performance of Chanticleers defensive end Josaiah Stewart was notable last week as the freshman posted a school-record 3.5 sacks in the Kansas game in just his second collegiate outing.

While Coastal Carolina has emerged in the past couple of seasons, Buffalo has built a strong foundation. With 31 total wins since the 2017 season, the Bulls own the most victories of any Mid-American Conference team during that period.

The Chanticleers have never won in three all-time matchups with MAC opponents.

Buffalo has allowed just two opposing players to reach 100 rushing yards across its last 24 games. One of those was Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez, who had 115 yards on nine carries last week, including a 71-yard burst.

Coastal Carolina junior running back Reese White is coming off his first 100-yard rushing outing after posting 102 yards on 14 carries against Kansas.

“It just makes me think it’s only the beginning,” said White, who was dubbed the Sun Belt Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week. “I can’t wait to see what happens in the future.”

Receiver Jaivon Heiligh has four consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards for the Chanticleers.

Coastal Carolina is one of three first-time foes on Buffalo’s 2021 schedule. The Bulls serve as the lone first-time opponent on Coastal Carolina’s slate.

Coastal Carolina is 0-6 all-time (one game vs. Colgate, five vs. Stony Brook) against teams from the state of New York.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) tries to outrun Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Tre Norwood (21) in the first quarter of a game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers score 20 straight to rally, beat Bills, 23-16

Dominant defense and a special teams score helped the Pittsburgh Steelers overcome a sleepy first half and knock off the Buffalo Bills 23-16 in Orchard Park, N.Y. on Sunday.

The Steelers’ special teams crashed a defensive struggle with 9:45 left on the game clock. Safety Miles Killebrew blocked Matt Haack’s punt at the Buffalo 10-yard line and Ulysees Gilbert III scooped up the ball for Pittsburgh’s 20th unanswered point, all in the second half.

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson made a juggling catch in the back corner of the end zone to give the Steelers their first lead, 13-10, with 11:19 to play.

Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt had two sacks and Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 30 of 51 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown.

Ben Roethlisberger rarely attacked downfield and completed 18 of 32 passes for 188 yards behind the Steelers’ new-look offensive line, which has four new starters. Rookie first-round pick Najee Harris had 45 yards on 16 carries.

Chris Boswell netted a 45-yard field goal to push the Steelers ahead 23-13 with 2:42 remaining in the game.

Tyler Bass knocked in a chip shot field goal with 5:23 left, trimming the Bills’ deficit to 20-13.

Pittsburgh grabbed momentum on defensive back Cameron Sutton’s stop on a fourth-down attempt by the Bills near midfield with 13:42 left in the game. Sutton didn’t fall for a fake run up the middle from a power formation and tripped up Matt Breida for a seven-yard loss.

On successive plays, Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool drew a pass interference flag — 26 yards on cornerback Levi Mitchell — and Harris burst up the middle for 18 yards on a draw play before Johnson’s circus catch.

The Bills lost a regular-season game for the first time since Nov. 15, 2020 at Arizona.

The Steelers were shut out in the first half but cut it to 10-6 on Boswell’s pair of field goals in the third quarter, including a 20-yarder after a spoiled first-and-goal situation.

With 22 seconds left in the first half, Allen floated a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gabriel Davis for a 10-0 Bills lead. The TD capped a 13-play, 91-yard drive for the Bills. Allen took a jarring blow to the back from Watt as he let the pass go and Sutton heavily contested the reception.

Watt closed from behind to strip the ball from Allen for the first takeaway of the game midway through the second quarter, but Pittsburgh lost 10 yards on three plays and punted the ball back to the Bills.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) runs against the Fordham Rams in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska braces for test from Buffalo

Nebraska hosts Buffalo in an intriguing nonconference matchup of teams coming off of wins over FCS opponents.

Buffalo opened the 2021 season with a 69-7 home romp over Wagner, making Maurice Linguist a winner in his head-coaching debut. Nebraska crushed Fordham 52-7 in its home opener, bouncing back from a 30-22 loss at Illinois during Week 0.

Linguist, who spent last season coaching defensive backs with the Dallas Cowboys and was set to be Michigan’s co-defensive coordinator this fall, took over the Bulls program in May after Lance Leipold left for Kansas. Despite coming in late, the one-time Buffalo assistant appears to have his team up to speed already.

“He is consistent in how he leads this team, and he brings energy and the juice, everyday,” Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease said of Linguist. “I’m really excited to be playing for this coaching staff and this team.”

Nebraska’s victory was part of an offensive display — 633 total yards, 329 on the ground — and welcome result after the Cornhuskers lost their conference opener for the third time in four seasons under Scott Frost.

“We needed it,” Frost said. “We had such a good camp and going into that first game, we had high hopes, and I think that the kids really believe how much progress they made and how much better of a team they are. Then game one didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but that doesn’t change the progress that we’ve made.”

Adrian Martinez was 17 of 23 for 254 yards with a touchdown and also ran for two scores as the fourth-year junior became the third Nebraska quarterback in school history to reach 6,000 passing yards.

Buffalo rushed for 312 yards against Wagner, but is 3-14 all-time against current Big Ten members, winning at Rutgers in 2018. This is the Bulls’ first meeting with Nebraska, which is 6-1 against Mid-American Conference schools. The lone loss came in Lincoln at the hands of Northern Illinois in 2017.

“We’ve watched them on tape already,” Frost said of Buffalo. “It’s a really good team. They were in the MAC Championship last year. They’ve lost some pieces and added some really good pieces.”

–Field Level Media

Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) celebrates a first down against the Bills during the first half of the preseason game at Ford Field on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021.

NFL roundup: Bills spoil Jared Goff’s Lions debut

The home team Detroit Lions stormed back with 12 fourth-quarter points — including a 28-yard go-ahead field goal from Randy Bullock — to grab a 15-13 lead over the Buffalo Bills Friday night, but Jake Fromm drove the Bills down the field in the closing moments and Tyler Bass nailed a 44-yard field goal to give the Bills a 16-15 win in the preseason opener for both teams.

Fromm completed 8-of-13 passes for 65 yards, while Davis Webb completed 11-of-16 for 90 yards and a touchdown pass to Devin Singletary at the end of the first half that gave the Bills a 10-3 lead. They tacked on another field goal for a 13-3 halftime lead.

Jared Goff, making his Lions debut, led an 18-play, 70-yard drive in the first half that culminated in a game-tying field goal. He finished 7-of-9 through the air with 56 yards.

The Lions got a spark in the fourth quarter from running back Craig Reynolds, who carried the ball six times for 49 yards and had a 24-yard touchdown run that brought the Lions within 13-12.

Titans 23, Falcons 3

Holding out many of their key starters, Tennessee nevertheless rolled past Atlanta in the preseason opener for each team.

The host Falcons, who also sat several starters, couldn’t manage much of anything offensively with just 138 yards, while the Titans chipped away with 18 more plays and 36:33 time of possession to wear Atlanta down.

Logan Woodside and Matt Barkley each threw a touchdown for the Titans while combining for 106 yards passing. Falcons rookie quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 16 yards and ran for a game-high 76 yards on four carries, including a long of 52.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; Montgomery, AL, USA; Buffalo Bulls hoist the trophy after winning the Camellia Bowl against Marshall Thundering Herd during the second half at Cramton Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo names Maurice Linguist its new football coach

Buffalo hired veteran assistant Maurice Linguist to succeed Lance Leipold as its football coach.

Leipold, who led the Bulls to three straight bowl berths, accepted the top coaching job at Kansas on April 30.

Buffalo announced Linguist’s addition Friday night on social media.

It’s the first head coaching job for Linguist, 37, and also a homecoming. He coached defensive backs and was the defensive passing game coordinator for the Bulls in 2012-13, working with a group that included future NFL All-Pro Khalil Mack.

A native of Dallas, Linguist played strong safety at Baylor from 2003-06. He entered coaching in 2007 and has put together a resume that includes stops at Valdosta State, James Madison, Iowa State, Mississippi State, Minnesota and Texas A&M.

He spent the 2020 season as cornerbacks coach of the Dallas Cowboys before accepting the job as defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator at Michigan – a position he’s leaving after four months.

Linguist is known as a strong recruiter who had a big hand in Texas A&M landing top-six recruiting classes in 2019 and ’20, as ranked by the 247Sports composite.

The Bulls, who play in the Mid-American Conference, were 6-1 in the shortened season in 2020, which ended with a 17-10 win over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl on Christmas Day.

–Field Level Media

Sep 7, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo RB Patterson entering NFL draft

Buffalo star running back Jaret Patterson said Tuesday that he will bypass his senior season and declare for the NFL draft.

Patterson rushed for 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns in just six games this season. He led the nation in rushing yardage per game (178.7) and tied for second in rushing touchdowns behind Alabama’s Najee Harris (24).

Patterson finished his college career with 3,884 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns. He also had one receiving score.

“To the University at Buffalo, when I committed here, I couldn’t imagine the growth I would have as a football player, but more importantly as a young adult,” Patterson said in his announcement on Twitter. “Thank you for helping to shape me into the man I am today. …

“After much prayer, consideration, and speaking with my family, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter the 2021 NFL Draft. I am eager and excited to pursue my dream of earning a position in the NFL.”

The 5-foot-9 Patterson raised his stock with NFL scouts after rushing for 710 yards over a two-game stretch this season. He rushed for 301 yards and four touchdowns against Bowling Green and followed up with 409 yards and eight scores against Kent State.

The 409 yards are the second most in major college history behind Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine (427 in 2014). The eight touchdowns tied the record set by Howard Griffith of Illinois in 1990.

Patterson, who was named Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year, missed the Bulls’ 17-10 victory over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl. Buffalo finished 6-1.

Patterson rushed for 1,013 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman before exploding for 1,799 yards and 19 scores as a sophomore.

–Field Level Media

Sep 7, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo-Ohio canceled, allowing Bulls to clinch title-game spot

Saturday’s game between the University of Buffalo and host Ohio University was canceled on Friday due to COVID-19 issues in the Ohio program.

The cancellation allowed Buffalo to clinch the Mid-American Conference East Division title and a spot in the conference title game.

The Bulls reportedly learned they were division champions about 2 1/2 hours into the approximately 390-mile bus ride from Buffalo to Athens, Ohio. The Bulls reportedly stopped at a rest stop in Mentor, Ohio — located just east of Cleveland — and turned the bus around on Interstate 90 to head back to Buffalo after learning of the cancelation.

The MAC released a statement that said, “The University at Buffalo at Ohio University football game on Saturday, December 5 has been canceled due to roster issues with the Ohio football team related to positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing. The game has been declared a no-contest.”

Buffalo (4-0, 4-0 MAC) would have preferred to clinch the spot in the Dec. 18 title game at Detroit on the field.

“While we are disappointed our game at Ohio has been canceled, the health and safety of our student-athletes continues to be our top priority,” Bulls coach Lance Leipold said in a statement. “I’m extremely proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. They have done everything the right way during these difficult times. In fact, we didn’t have a single positive case this week. We were looking forward to playing Ohio, but we will now shift our attention to our next opponent, Akron.”

The Bulls are scheduled to host Akron on Dec. 12. The Bobcats (2-1, 2-1) visit Kent State on the same day.

Buffalo is led by star running back Jaret Patterson, who rushed for 409 and eight touchdowns in last week’s 70-41 win over Kent State. The yardage was second-most all-time behind Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, who had 427 against Kansas in 2014.

–Field Level Media

Sep 7, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo RB Patterson ties NCAA mark with eight rushing TDs

Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson tied an NCAA record with eight rushing touchdowns in a 70-41 win over Kent State on Saturday.

Patterson carried the ball 36 times for 409 yards and scored on runs of 3, 31, 42, 49, 1, 7, 11 and 58 yards. Five of those scores and 267 yards came in the first half at UB Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.

The 5-foot-9 junior from Glendale, Md., became the first player since Ricky Williams of Texas in 1996 to gain at least 300 yards in consecutive games following a 301-yard performance at Bowling Green on Nov. 17. He broke his own school rushing record for the second straight game.

Howard Griffith of Illinois ran for eight touchdowns on Sept. 22, 1990.

–Field Level Media

Andre Reed has harsh words for Jon Bon Jovi and Johnny Manziel

<p> Former Bills receiver Andre Reed, and soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee, offered some harsh words toward musician Jon Bon Jovi and Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel in a lengthy story published in New York Magazine.</p> <p> While the story's overall focus, written by Reeves Wiederman, is on the <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/jon-bon-jovi-buffalo-bills-2014-7/">dedication from Buffalo's fans to keep the franchise in the city</a> and away from Bon Jovi's potential ownership, Reed's quotes stood out due to the candor they were spoken in.</p> <p> When it came to the notion of the New Jersey-born Bon Jovi buying the franchise and potentially moving it to Toronto, Reed had this to say:</p> <p> "Man f--- Bon Jovi! You might as well just take this city, throw it in the river, and let it go down Niagara Falls.”</p> <p> Reed later admitted that if the franchise was moved to Toronto, that the organization would have to pay him to keep his association.</p> <p> In addition, Reed, at a Buffalo casino, looked up at a television and saw a tweet from Manziel on ESPN, which stated that LeBron James was "my guy" after he announced he would be returning to Cleveland. That prompted Reed to voice his opinion on the rookie quarterback, who has drawn a lot of criticism this offseason for being photographed partying in various locations across the country.</p> <p> “Who the f--- is Johnny Manziel?” Reed stated. “LeBron ain’t your guy! You’re not 'Johnny Football.' You’re 'Johnny Rookie B----.'"</p> <p> Reed then added the city of Buffalo wouldn't put up with Manziel's antics the way Browns have.</p> <p> "They’d boo that motherf----- outta here,” Reed said. “The fans would put him in his place."</p> <p> Aside from Reed's comments, Wiederman's story is a great read about a city doing what it can to keep its football team in place at a grass roots level. It would definitely be a shame if the Bills left town based on the franchise's longstanding NFL legacy, whether it was due to Bon Jovi buying the team or anyone else for that matter. </p> <p> But that is the business side of the NFL. It's an unfortunate reality at times.</p> <p> Follow me on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/jasonhbutt">@JasonHButt</a></p>