ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo offense started the team's home opener Sunday the same way the unit ended an overtime loss to the New York Jets just six days prior: with a three-and-out. Scattered boos were heard in a Highmark Stadium filled to the brim in blue and red as the Bills gave the ball back with an early 7-0 deficit.
But those three plays were quickly forgotten. After linebacker Terrel Bernard intercepted Las Vegas quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on the Raiders' second drive, the Bills scored on every drive that followed but one -- a turnover on downs at their opponent's 1-yard line. The team was led by a tremendous bounce-back performance from quarterback Josh Allen, who went from a four-turnover outing against the Jets to an almost perfect one in the Bills' 38-10 win over the Raiders.
Allen completed 31 of 37 passes (83.8%) for 274 yards and three touchdowns as the Bills improved to 1-1 on the season.
Allen said after the win that he didn't pay any attention to what was being said and written about him, but that his performance the previous week affected him.
"The thing is with this game, man, it gives you the lowest lows and it gives you the highest highs. I love feeling how I felt last week," Allen said. "I really do because it makes the good feel that much better. It forces us to be better, and I want to be the best I can be playing this game and being the best quarterback I can be for the Buffalo Bills. So, I take the bad with the good, I understand it, and I'm just trying to let it fuel me and use it to my benefit."
The benefit this time was a Week 2 turnaround in which Allen, 27 and in just his sixth season, had his fifth career game with three or more touchdowns and an 80% or better completion percentage, the most by an NFL player before turning 30.
He didn't throw his first incompletion until the second quarter, and his 13 straight completions were a career best and the longest streak by a Bills quarterback to start a game since Jim Kelly had 14 in Week 1 of 1990, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The "wow" plays Allen is known for remained, notably a touchdown pass to wide receiver Khalil Shakir, but he also made smart decisions throughout the day.
"Everything happens for a reason, and obviously, you've seen [Allen] go out there today and hit on all cylinders," wide receiver Gabe Davis said. "I feel like [last week] helped us understand each other better, work harder and know that we have to stay on our p's and q's in order to be able to go out there and execute."
The Bills came into Sunday's game off a short week following "Monday Night Football," but center and team captain Mitch Morse described the team bringing "a certain edge" to practice in the days leading up to facing the Raiders.
"It was more of a sense of urgency than anything, right, and I've said that in the past," Morse said. "That set the precedent for this week. I think it started on Wednesday when we had that walk-through practice [as opposed to the team's typical full practice], being intentional. I think what we did was we went out there and understood that Coach gave us a bone by taking some of the physical reps off, and that's tough for a coach after a loss. ... They kind of put the ball in our court."
The "good workweek," as Morse described it, resulted in Allen spreading the ball around, unlike the more concentrated production wide receiver Stefon Diggs saw the previous week, with nine players catching passes and three with five or more receptions -- Diggs, Davis and tight end Dalton Kincaid. Three players -- Davis, Shakir and tight end Dawson Knox -- scored receiving touchdowns.
Unlike last week, the receivers were able to get yards after the catch as Allen's yards per attempt increased from 5.8 in Week 1 to 7.4 in Week 2, while his air yards per attempt decreased from 7.4 last week to 3.9. He also limited unnecessary hits with three carries for 7 yards and two sacks.
"The discipline, like I mentioned, was present really with the whole team, in particular Josh," coach Sean McDermott said. "When he does that, when he's willing to take what they give him, and take those checkdowns, and then use his legs as well in a decisive way, he makes it really hard to defend."
Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey partnered the passing game with a strong rushing attack that enabled the Bills to put together two 11-play drives and a 15-play touchdown drive that took 9 minutes, 1 second off the clock to start the second half after Buffalo scored a TD just before halftime.
Good performances from the offensive line and running back James Cook's first career 100-yard rushing performance, in addition to rushing touchdowns by Damien Harris and Latavius Murray, helped balance the attack. On the defensive side, the Bills tallied three turnovers and limited running back Josh Jacobs to minus-2 yards on nine carries, the first time since the 1970 merger that a reigning NFL rushing champion finished a game with negative rushing yardage, per Elias.
The confidence in Allen never left the locker room, as players and coaches reiterated all week, but the team feeding off the quarterback's approach paid off.
"I've always seen [Allen] bounce back," defensive end Shaq Lawson said. "Always. Every time. Since he's been here and I've been here, he always bounce back and I think they really woke up, they woke him up. From here on out, I think it's going to be crazy."