The victory remains on the resume of their rookie quarterback Josh Allen, but what the Buffalo Bills managed with their running game last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans proved as instrumental to their win as anything Allen did during his continued development under centre.
The Bills rushed for a season-best 144 yards on a season-high 43 attempts in the 13-12 victory, alleviating some of the pressure that's heaped upon Allen, who has been sacked a league-high 19 times for 151 yards. Running backs LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory combined for 38 attempts and 128 yards as Allen attempted 19 passes, his fewest as a starter, and was sacked only once.
"To me, they go hand-in-hand when you're trying to be responsible with a young player, a young quarterback in particular, that some form of balance is important," Bills coach Sean McDermott said of the running game. "Then you also look at what it takes to win the game when you put together a complete game plan."
Allen has been a willing participant in the running game as well with 135 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
While headlines in Buffalo centred around McCoy possibly being available via trade, the Bills are looking to keep pace in the AFC East thanks in large part to their defence.
"Very strong arm, very smart guy; he's got great enthusiasm about him," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said of Allen. "He's really good with his feet - just because he's a big guy (listed at 6-5 and 237 pounds) doesn't mean he can't move. He can move. He's making a lot of plays with his feet, as well as his arm, can make all the throws. Very, very dangerous guy and a young player."
Texans second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to negotiate between his ability to scramble and the need to protect himself. While joining Hall of Famer Steve Young as the only quarterbacks to register at least 375 passing yards and 40 rushing yards three times, Watson absorbed 10 hits, some of the jarring variety, in the Texans' 19-16 overtime victory over Dallas.
"It's a fine line between trying to - I guess it's the situation of the game," Watson said. "Because it was early on in the game where we had those two opportunities to get in and me was trying to make it in, but if you put that same situation in overtime and it's 4th-and-1 and we need a touchdown and the ball is in my hands, you're going to kind of want me to get in that end zone. It's a fine line. You've got to pick your spots and pick your situations, but those guys did a good job of being stingy and not letting me in (the end zone). They just took me out."
(With inputs from agencies.)