LOS ANGELES — Three weeks ago, it looked as though the Buffalo Bills’ season was about to go up in flames.
Now? The Bills are on fire. It might be too early to say they’re red-hot, but with their 30-19 win Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo has mounted its first three-game winning streak since 2011.
So much for Rex Ryan feeling the heat. At this point, it’s full steam ahead for the Bills coach and his team.
The 3-2 Bills have a chance to sustain their success against the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, both 1-4, over the next two weeks. A four-game winning streak would be their first since 2008, and a string of five consecutive victories would be their first since 2005.
Yet as Sunday’s win over the Rams proved, the Bills can’t afford to look too far down the road because they’re simply not good enough yet. Yes, the Rams entered the game with a surprising 3-1 record, but their 32nd-ranked offense moved the ball better than most expected against a mostly healthy Bills defense that benefited greatly from two early red zone stops.
Had Rams quarterback Case Keenum not made his only major error of the game and been picked off by Nickell Robey-Coleman for a 41-yard touchdown return in the third quarter, the outcome might have been different. At 2-3, the Bills would have had a long plane ride home as the 4-1 New England Patriots’ grip on the AFC East tightened.
Even so, credit the Bills for making the plays when they needed them. Robey-Coleman jumping Keenum’s pass was the best example, but the Bills’ offense contributed in the first half, too. For much of the early going, LeSean McCoy had rushing lanes wider than Hollywood Boulevard — and he took advantage on a 53-yard run in the second quarter, setting up Mike Gillislee‘s touchdown run on the next play.
McCoy was explosive, but Tyrod Taylor continued to raise red flags as the Bills’ potential franchise quarterback. Even with three-quarters of the Rams’ potent starting defensive line inactive because of injuries, Taylor managed just 12-for-23 passing and 124 yards. He made some plays with his feet and tossed two short touchdown passes, but he missed on other throws that a 19-game starter in the NFL should make.
Yet on Sunday, it was enough to win, and the Bills will surely take it after their horrid start to the season.