An uncharacteristic performance by the Vikings led to a thrashing at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. When all was said and done, the Vikings dropped a 27-6 decision to the Bills at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. Here are five takeaways from the game.
1. Bills create and take advantage of short fields
Buoyed by two takeaways and mistakes by the Vikings on special teams, Buffalo created and took advantage of outstanding field position in the first half to build a 27-0 lead. Three of the Bills first five possessions began in Vikings territory, including two series that resulted from Vikings fumbles. Buffalo turned those first five possessions into 27 points, with three touchdowns and two field goals. That was more than enough of a cushion for the visiting Bills to settle comfortably into U.S. Bank Stadium to collect their first win.
2. No spark for Vikings offense
The synergy and spark the Vikings offense displayed in a furious 4th-quarter comeback last week in Green Bay was absent against the Bills on Sunday. The Vikings struggled to generate explosive plays, run the ball and convert on 3rd down, which is a tough collection of shortcomings for an offense to overcome and contributed to Buffalo possessing the ball for nearly 12 minutes more than the Vikings. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Vikings hadn't yet generated 100 yards of offense and they had converted just two of 10 3rd downs.
3. Bills kept pressure on Cousins
As the Vikings fell further and further behind, the passing game became more and more important. And it became more and more difficult for Kirk Cousins to get something going through the air because of Buffalo's pass rush, which generated four sacks and prevented Cousins from looking comfortable while scanning the field for open receivers.
4. Josh Allen got loose too often
Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen may be inexperienced, but when you don't know what you don't know sometimes good things can happen. The talented rookie passer used his legs to set up opportunities to make plays with his arm. Whether it was escaping pressure to buy receivers time to break open or leaving the pocket to pick up yardage, Allen's mobility was a problem for the Vikings defense. Allen ran 10 times for 39 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the 1st quarter.
5. Injuries mount as Vikings begin prep for LA Rams on short week
The Vikings began the game with key contributors such as Dalvin Cook, Everson Griffen, David Morgan and Marcus Sherels inactive and then starters Rashod Hill, Sheldon Richardson and Trae Waynes were forced from the game because of injuries, too. The status of those players will bear monitoring early in the week as the Vikings prepare for their next game, which is against the Los Angeles Rams in only four days.