How Shorthanded Bills Offensive Line Fended Off Patriots Defense

Josh Allen wasn't sacked in a huge win for the Bills


December 26, 2021

FOXBORO, Mass. — For the first time since Week 7, Josh Allen managed to stay upright during a football game. And the Buffalo Bills quarterback did so in perhaps the most unlikely game.

Allen wasn’t sacked once in Sunday’s defeat of the New England Patriots, even though his already-shorthanded offensive line became even more depleted in the first half of play.

The Bills already were missing starting guards Jon Feliciano and Cody Ford to the reserve/COVID-19 list when backup Ike Boettger suffered a ruptured Achilles in the second quarter. Suddenly it was up to Ryan Bates — who entered having played just 7% of offensive snaps this season — and right tackle Daryl Williams to fill in at guard, with Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown flanking at tackle.

Simply put, it was a departure from the norm for Buffalo — and it worked surprisingly well.

“I’m so happy for our guys, how they responded,” Allen said, joking that his Christmas gift to his O-line (watches) may have made them want to step up a bit.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott also praised the effort up front, especially after Boettger’s injury.

“Resilient group,” he said. “Never good to see a guy go down. On the field or off the field, losing guys due to COVID, losing some coaches due to COVID, I thought it was a very, very resilient approach by the guys.”

The Bills — and perhaps some of their usual offensive line — will be back in action against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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