Buffalo Bills enter the AFC Playoff Picture and control their destiny to the postseason

The Buffalo Bills triumphed over the Los Angeles Chargers with a close score of 24-22, maintaining their strong position in the playoff race during a match at SoFi Stadium on Saturday.

Under the interim leadership following the recent dismissal of head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco, the Chargers showcased a spirited performance. Kicker Cameron Dicker contributed significantly with five field goals, briefly giving the Chargers the upper hand toward the end of the fourth quarter. However, a decisive field goal by Tyler Bass in the final 28 seconds clinched the victory for the Bills.

This win advanced the Bills’ record to 9-6, setting the stage for their upcoming pivotal matches against the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. Conversely, the Chargers’ hopes took a hit as they fell to a 5-10 record for the season.

Buffalo Bills:

The Buffalo Bills’ recent performance, in stark contrast to their dominant win over the Dallas Cowboys just six days earlier, was a struggle. Despite the challenging game, they managed to scrape together a necessary win against the Los Angeles Chargers, overcoming various errors and a defense that allowed Chargers’ backup quarterback Easton Stick to lead four consecutive field-goal drives in the second half.

Despite these challenges, the Bills’ defense stepped up, limiting the Chargers to only one touchdown and making a crucial stop toward the game’s end – a feat they’ve struggled with this season. The offense, although not at its best, managed to convert longer drives into touchdowns. Josh Allen, achieving personal season records with a passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns, had a mixed performance, completing 15 out of 21 passes for 237 yards.

This game was a must-win for the Bills, who aim for more than just a playoff spot, yet there’s room for improvement.

Summarizing the game in two words: “Underwhelming Victory.” Despite their recent commanding victory over the Cowboys, the Bills’ performance against the Chargers, who have been weak defensively and started a backup quarterback, was not as convincing.

Regarding standout performances, Gabe Davis had a notable game with four catches, 130 yards, and a touchdown. However, given his inconsistent track record, it’s premature to expect continuous standout performances. Before this game, Davis had a mixed record, with no receptions in three of the last four games, save for a notable showing against the Philadelphia Eagles.

A concerning trend is James Cook’s reliability with the ball. The second-year running back showed promise against the Cowboys but fumbled twice against the Chargers, losing one in the crucial final quarter. His issues with ball security and consistency are becoming apparent.

A key moment in the game was Allen’s impressive 57-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gabe Davis in the second quarter. This pivotal play ignited the Bills’ offense, marking a significant turning point in the game with its distance and impact.

Looking ahead, the Bills’ next challenge is a game against the New England Patriots, scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Chargers:

In their “Thursday Night Football” matchup, the Los Angeles Chargers, looking disheartened and unfocused, suffered a staggering 63-21 defeat to the average-performing Raiders. Their inability to score, coupled with a defense that couldn’t stop the opposing team, and a season-high of five turnovers marked the game.

This demoralizing defeat led to the dismissal of Staley and Telesco, with only three games left in the season. However, in their next game on Saturday, under interim head coach Giff Smith, the Chargers showed a renewed spirit against the Buffalo Bills, who were vying for a playoff spot.

A concerning aspect of the game was the deployment of Derwin James Jr. After signing a significant four-year contract in 2022, James had been a versatile asset in the Chargers’ defense, primarily playing as a safety but also filling in at outside linebacker and slot cornerback under Staley. In his first game post-Staley, James only played as a safety in the final offensive drive of the fourth quarter against the Bills.

One bright spot for the Chargers was the performance of kicker Dicker. He was pivotal in their game against the Bills, achieving his best game of the season with five successful field goals, including a remarkable 53-yarder that briefly gave the Chargers a lead in the fourth quarter.

An interesting statistic from NextGen Stats: For the first time since Week 9, the Chargers managed to secure a 10-point lead. They achieved this in the second quarter, marking their first significant lead since Week 13. Despite using a third-string center and a backup quarterback, the Chargers displayed a level of confidence against a Bills defense that had previously restricted the high-scoring Dallas Cowboys to only 10 points.

Looking ahead, the Chargers are set to face the Denver Broncos in their next game, scheduled for Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.

Key Highlights and Notable Achievements:

  • Josh Allen’s rushing touchdown in the second half marked a significant milestone, being his 50th in his six-year NFL tenure. He now follows only O.J. Simpson in achieving the second-highest number of rushing touchdowns in Buffalo Bills history.
  • Allen also accomplished a notable feat with his touchdown pass, bringing his season total to 27. This ranks as the fifth-highest number of touchdown passes in a single season by a Bills quarterback.
  • Remarkably, Allen became the first player in NFL history to amass over 40 total touchdowns in four consecutive seasons. Additionally, he continued his impressive run of games with at least two offensive touchdowns, extending the streak to 14.
  • Stefon Diggs made his mark by surpassing Eric Moulds and Peerless Price, securing the fourth-highest number of receptions in a single season for the Bills with his five catches.
  • James Cook’s performance was noteworthy as well, with his 70 rushing yards propelling him past the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. He’s the first Bills player to reach or exceed 1,000 rushing yards in a season since LeSean McCoy in 2017.
  • Ed Oliver’s defensive prowess shone through with two sacks in the fourth quarter, elevating his season tally to a personal best of 8.5 sacks.


  • 6:32 in the 1st Quarter | Bills 0, Chargers 3 | Cameron Dicker successfully kicks a 20-yard field goal.
  • 13:49 in the 2nd Quarter | Bills 0, Chargers 10 | Easton Stick scores a touchdown with a 1-yard run to the right.
  • 9:02 in the 2nd Quarter | Bills 7, Chargers 10 | Josh Allen connects with Gabe Davis for a 57-yard touchdown pass, deep to the right.
  • 0:38 in the 2nd Quarter | Bills 14, Chargers 10 | Josh Allen dashes to the right for a 2-yard touchdown run.
  • 7:22 in the 3rd Quarter | Bills 14, Chargers 13 | Cameron Dicker nails a 40-yard field goal.
  • 1:28 in the 3rd Quarter | Bills 21, Chargers 13 | Josh Allen charges up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown run.
  • 12:36 in the 4th Quarter | Bills 21, Chargers 16 | Cameron Dicker hits a 47-yard field goal.
  • 7:19 in the 4th Quarter | Bills 21, Chargers 19 | Cameron Dicker adds another with a 45-yard field goal.
  • 5:26 in the 4th Quarter | Bills 21, Chargers 22 | Cameron Dicker puts the Chargers ahead with a 53-yard field goal.
  • 0:28 in the 4th Quarter | Bills 24, Chargers 22 | Tyler Bass secures the Bills’ win with a 29-yard field goal.

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