One of the most scrutinized moments of the Buffalo Bills’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings will be one that came in the fourth quarter while the Bills lead 27-17.

Facing fourth-and-two with the ball at the Vikings’ seven-yard line, Buffalo decided to go for it instead of turning a 10-point lead into a 13-point advantage. The play itself resulted in an interception that Patrick Peterson returned for 39 yards to set up Kirk Cousins at the Vikings’ 34-yard line.

On Monday, head coach Sean McDermott explained his reasoning behind the decision.

“Just felt like (Vikings) is a team that has multiple comebacks in the second half of games,” said McDermott. “It felt like it was an opportunity for us to put our feet in their throats a little bit. Obviously, it didn’t work out.”

But McDermott made a great point when noting that “sometimes going up by 13, two touchdowns beat you at the same time. It’s one of those gray areas.”

This is the way the Bills have been doing things all year long, too. That’s been one of their biggest strengths this season. One that’s accomplished with math-supported decisions and tremendous talent on the field.

“I want to be aggressive. I trust our players. I trust our quarterback. I felt good about it,” concluded the Bills’ head coach.

It ultimately didn’t pan out for Buffalo, but we must avoid falling into a result-biased opinion here.

The fact that the Bills didn’t convert the fourth-and-two attempt at the Vikings’ seven isn’t the reason why Cousins marched down the field for 66 yards to score a touchdown. Nor is it the reason why the Bills’ offense followed that up with a three-and-out.

And it was also unrelated to the Bills messing up a quarterback sneak at their own one-yard line.

In fact, no team in the NFL has been better in their decision-making on fourth down than the Bills, according to Ben Baldwin’s win probability model.

There are a lot of problems the Bills need to fix quickly but their fourth-down aggressiveness should be seen as a big strength, not a weakness.


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