TAMPA, Fla. (WKBW) — It was just a simple crossing route. It went to Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman; he hadn't had a catch all game. In fact, all season prior, Perriman had only mustered three catches for 24 yards.
But 58 yards later, the Bills were handed back-to-back losses for the first time this season, falling 33-27 in overtime to the defending Super Bowl champions.
"I just have to do a better job with my eyes. There's still no excuse for it," linebacker Tremaine Edmunds said of the game-winning play. "Based on the results, it doesn't look like we were in the right place, but like I said man, it's just execution at critical times of the game. Not executing at a high level, that's what we preach about week in and week out. And that's what we have to get fixed."
It felt like a miracle that the Bills made the fourth quarter a critical time of the game. When both teams went into the locker room at halftime, a Buffalo loss looked like a foregone conclusion. The Bills didn't hand the ball off once, but Josh Allen seemed to never have time to throw.
"We dug ourselves a hole in the first half communication wise," center Mitch Morse said. "Coming out of the half you can't win this game in one drive. You have to execute. Put drives together. and we were able to do that. The defense put us in great position to succeed in the second half. This one, like every loss, is tough."
The second half was one to remember. Allen scored all three of his touchdowns after the break. One of them was on the ground; the other two were through the air to Dawson Knox and Gabriel Davis. In fact, Allen placed himself among elite company with over 300 yards through the air and over 100 yards on the ground.
Josh Allen joined some pretty impressive company with 308 yards through the air and 109 more on the ground for the #Bills.— Adam Unger (@AdamUnger_7) December 13, 2021
But out of the four games where a signal caller throws for 300+ and runs for another 100+ those QBs are 1-3. #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/YIEDOPUAIW
"It is what it is. The score was what the score was," Allen said. "To come out and play that way, I'm proud of our team. Of how we did it. Honestly we wish the end result was different. But I'm super proud of our guys."
"Look, I know we came up short, right? [It's] an incredible, incredible, amount of heart and guts that they showed," McDermott said. "They made one more play than we did, but I love how the team fought."
Coming from behind has been something Buffalo has struggled to do all season long. Except for the 41-15 blowout at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, every other Bills loss has been a one-possession game. By comparison, Buffalo's narrowest margin of victory is 15 points.
This year's Bills either blow out their opponent, or they lose. There hasn't been an in between for Buffalo all season. They'll need to be able to win close games in the playoffs. And the lessons to learn to be able to do that start with Sunday's second half in Tampa Bay.
"It hurts, but we're going to take a lot of momentum away from this," tight end Dawson Knox said. "There's no other group of guys I'd rather go to war with. And we're going to take a lot of good things out of this."
"With the resilience we have to stay in the game, take things one play at a time, and fight back, you know, it says a lot about the guys that are in the locker room," safety Jordan Poyer said. "Tough loss, but we can build some momentum off how we played in the second half and carry it over into next week."
The good things the Bills did in the second half of the game stand a better chance at translating in one week's time. Buffalo will be back at home in Highmark Stadium and taking on a Carolina Panthers squad that's 5-8. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. on December 19.