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Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips reacts after they defeated the Denver Broncos.
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips reacts after they defeated the Denver Broncos.
Image: David Zalubowski

Bills clinch division title with big win over Broncos

Quarterback Josh Allen passed for 359 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two scores.
Dec 20th 2020, 9:23 AM 2,539 0

THE BUFFALO BILLS clinched their first AFC East divisional title in 25 years on Saturday with a 48-19 victory NFL victory over the Denver Broncos.

Quarterback Josh Allen — who was born the year after Buffalo last won the AFC East in 1995 — passed for 359 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two scores as the Bills dominated at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

The rising star said the team would savor the moment, without forgetting about the task remaining: winning a Super Bowl title.

“It’s great that we’re able to do it the first time in 25 years,” Allen said. “To be the team and to be the quarterback on the team that does it, obviously feels really good.

“At the same time, that’s not our end goal. We set out to do this in order to get the chance to do what we really want to do, and that’s to win a Super Bowl championship.

“There’s still a lot on the table,” he said.

There was no let-down for the rapidly maturing Allen and the Bills, coming off a 26-15 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Allen connected with a nine-yard TD pass to Dawson Knox and a 22-yard touchdown throw to Jake Kumerow.

He scrambled 24 yards up the middle for a touchdown in the first half and scampered one yard for another score in the second.

For the second straight game the Bills defense scored a touchdown — Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes grabbing a fumble by Broncos quarterback Drew Lock on his first possession of the second half and sprinting 21 yards for the score.

“We’re going to enjoy it on the flight back home, but we know the job ain’t done yet,” Hughes said. “We still have a lot more to accomplish.”

The Broncos had narrowed the deficit to 21-13 to close the first half, but the Bills responded with two touchdowns and a field goal in the third period as they turned it into a rout.

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The Bills had 543 yards in total offense in the third quarter, Allen accounting for 392 of them.

Stefon Diggs had a big night for the Bills, catching 11 passes for 147 yards before leaving late with a foot injury.

The Bills win officially ended the New England Patriots’ 11-year reign atop the AFC East.

They’re back on top in the division for the first time since the days of team icons Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, who starred as the Bills notched their sixth division title in eight years back in 1995.

The Bills were a dominant force in the AFC in the early ’90s, winning the conference four straight seasons from 1990 through 1993 — although they came up short in the Super Bowl each of those seasons.

In Saturday’s other game, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers notched another record in the Packers 24-16 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Rodgers threw his league-leading 40th touchdown in the first quarter, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 40 touchdowns in three seasons.

The record-setting throw went to tight end Robert Tonyan from 1-yard out to cap Green Bay’s opening drive.

Carolina’s defense pressured Rodgers the rest of the night, sacking him five times and limiting to a season-low 143 passing yards.

The Packers scored a touchdown on all three of the first three drives, Rodgers scrambling for a six-yard score.

Carolina’s defense clamped down in the second half but the Packers — already winners of the NFC North division — maintained their lead in the conference.

© – AFP, 2020

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