Josh Allen goal line fumble: Why the Bills didn’t opt for a late-game safety vs. the Vikings

By | November 13, 2022

The Bills nearly fumbled away a win in regulation before they eventually gave it away it overtime.

NFL fans were treated to the game of the year on Sunday afternoon, with the Vikings upending the Bills 33-30 in OT. As is the case with games of this nature, there were more than a few notable momentum swings along the way.

The biggest came with less than a minute left in the game: After stopping the Vikings on fourth-and-goal from the half-yard line, Josh Allen fumbled the snap in the end zone and Minnesota would recover, leading to six points on the board and a 30-27 Vikings lead.

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While it wouldn’t be the death knell for the Bills — they would tie the game in regulation before losing in overtime — it led some to question Sean McDermott: Why not take the safety in that moment, rather than risk exactly what happened in that spot?

Well, it’s not that simple:

— A safety leads to a 27-25 score, and given the Vikings were moving the ball at will against the Bills defense in the closing stages of the game, a few first downs after a free kick would have put Minnesota in field goal range with an opportunity to win it.

— While 41 seconds isn’t a ton of time, Minnesota had one timeout left in their pocket and likely wouldn’t have needed a lot to get into field goal range.

— All the Bills needed in that spot was few yards (if that) and they would have been able to kneel out the clock for the win.

Following the game, Bills coach Sean McDermott was not asked about the playcalling sequence that led to the fumble. Josh Allen took responsibility for the dropped ball when he had an opportunity to ice the game.

“It’s (the fumble) was on me,” Allen said. “Can’t have that.”

While the entire loss might not have been, at least Allen is a little self-aware.