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The Winners and Losers of Wild-Card Weekend


The Winners and Losers of Wild-Card Weekend

Every week this NFL season, we will celebrate the electric plays, investigate the colossal blunders, and explain the inexplicable moments of the most recent slate. Welcome to Winners and Losers. Which one are you?

Editor’s note, January 17, 2022: This story has been updated to include Monday’s wild-card game between the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals.

Winner: The Perfect Game

If you were asked to find the greatest offensive game in NFL history, what would you look for? Would you pick the game where a team simply scored the most points—the Bears’ ruthless 73-0 win in the 1940 NFL championship game? But the Bears scored multiple defensive TDs in that game, which doesn’t really reflect on the offense. Maybe the better answer is something like yards per play. Maybe you’re some nerd who cherishes a game where a team set a record in expected points added. There are a lot of ways to define success.

But I’d argue that the answer is simple: The most perfect offensive game in NFL history should be one where an offense scores a touchdown every single time. It’s a game where an offense gains every single yard available to them, and scores every point that they could have scored. On Saturday, the Bills played that game.

Buffalo beat New England 47-17, and although the Bills didn’t set a scoring record and didn’t gain 500 yards, they were inarguably perfect offensively. The Bills scored seven touchdowns. Josh Allen didn’t throw any interceptions, and the team didn’t lose any fumbles. The Bills didn’t attempt any field goals or kick any punts. In fact, the Bills never even faced a fourth down. (Apologies to punter Matt Haack, who was forced to stand outside in the Buffalo cold for four hours and entered the game only to hold the football on extra points.) The only time the Bills got the ball on offense and didn’t score was when they kneeled to end the game. It was the first game in NFL history where a team didn’t turn the ball over, kick a field goal, or punt.

Allen seems to have evolved into his final form, a galloping giant who also throws perfect passes. He finished the game…

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