Buffalo Bills edge undefeated Falcons in road win

Bills head coach Sean McDermott has Buffalo riding high after a stunning 23-17 win over the previously undefeated Falcons in Atlanta. Here's what we learned ...

  1. This is rookie head coach Sean McDermott's signature win on the season. The Falcons, trailing by six points deep in Buffalo territory, attempted a cheeky play action fake on fourth-and-1 only to find all available receivers covered beautifully. If there has been a hallmark of the early McDermott regime it was encapsulated in this moment -- tight, smart defense. The win over Atlanta shows just how tight. It took until the seven-minute mark in the fourth quarter for the Bills to give up their first passing touchdown of the season. Matt Ryan was hit seven times and picked twice. Tre'Davious White returned a Jerry Hughes forced fumble more than 50 yards for a score. Throughout the tail end of the Rex Ryan regime, one couldn't help wondering what another coach would do with this glut of first-round picks on defense. It seems McDermott, who has the Bills in first place in the AFC East, has found a temporary solution.
  1. Kudos to the Falcons, who battled despite losing both Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu at the half. Jones' hip injury may be one of the most significant developments on a Sunday with a few high-profile injuries. Early on in the third quarter, after already having a fumble returned for a touchdown, Ryan attempted to get Atlanta's high-flying offense in gear with a deep bomb. Who was left? Taylor Gabriel, who, unfortunately, was bodied by Micah Hyde. Hyde came up with a crucial pick.
  1. If the Bills are able to find a breakthrough on offense, this team will be extremely hard to stop. Tyrod Taylor's only deep threat seems to be tight end Charles Clay, who finished Sunday as the team's leading receiver with five catches for 112 yards. It's not for lack of trying -- Taylor has the ability to hit receivers on deep passes and lofted a few beautiful downfield balls on Sunday -- but something still seems stagnant on offense.
  1. LeSean McCoy needs to be freed. His 20-carry, 76-yard stat line did not do his performance justice on Sunday. McCoy has been Le'Veon Bell in-his-prime at points during the team's early stretch but still cannot manage to find more than four yards per carry. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison needs to find a way to get eight defenders out of the box.
  1. With two of their next three games against the struggling Dolphins and the Jets, this is an okay time for the Falcons to hit their slump. Head coach Dan Quinn has done a wonderful job helping his team stiff-arm the Super Bowl hangover all offseason and through the early weeks of 2017 but eventually, this was going to happen. Atlanta can still win games without Jones and Sanu if they have to.
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