Singletary, Cook lead way as Bills beat Bears for AFC East

Dec 23, 2022, 11:40 PM | Updated: Dec 24, 2022, 8:53 pm
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) leaves the field following an NFL football game against...

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) leaves the field following an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. The Bills defeated the Bears 35-13.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) leaves the field following an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. The Bills defeated the Bears 35-13.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) dropS back to throw against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              A fan watches from the standS in the second half of an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen attends a news conference barefoot after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Chicago. The Bills won 35-13. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott talks with reporters after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Chicago. The Bills won 35-13 and McDermott had to tell the team they were staying one more night in Chicago because of weather in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) cuts away from Chicago Bears cornerback Jaquan Brisker (9) on his way to a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) dropS back to throw against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              A fan watches from the standS in the second half of an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen attends a news conference barefoot after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Chicago. The Bills won 35-13. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott talks with reporters after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Chicago. The Bills won 35-13 and McDermott had to tell the team they were staying one more night in Chicago because of weather in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) cuts away from Chicago Bears cornerback Jaquan Brisker (9) on his way to a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) leaves the field following an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. The Bills defeated the Bears 35-13.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) dropS back to throw against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              A fan watches from the standS in the second half of an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen attends a news conference barefoot after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Chicago. The Bills won 35-13. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott talks with reporters after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Chicago. The Bills won 35-13 and McDermott had to tell the team they were staying one more night in Chicago because of weather in Buffalo. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) cuts away from Chicago Bears cornerback Jaquan Brisker (9) on his way to a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) and Chicago Bears wide receiver Dante Pettis (18) come off the field following a touchdown catch by Pettis in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon (6) celebrates after an interception against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus watches from the sidelines in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              A Chicago Bears fan watches from the stands in the first half of an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Bears linebacker Matthew Adams (44) celebrates as Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass (2) misses a field goal in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass (2) kicks a field goal that missed right from the hold of Sam Martin in the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott watches from the sideline as his team played against the Chicago Bears in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears linebacker Joe Thomas (45) tackles Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) drop back to throw against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) scrambles against the Chicago Bears in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Buffalo Bills running back James Cook (28) runs in for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) jumps into the arms of tackle Spencer Brown (79) after a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills came into the season with soaring expectations and their sights set on a deep playoff run.

They earned one big prize by clinching their third straight division title. It’s just the next step in what they hope is a path toward their ultimate goal.

Devin Singletary and James Cook ran for long touchdowns in the third quarter, and the Bills locked up the AFC East title by beating the Bears 35-13 on Saturday in one of the coldest games played in Chicago.

Allen ran for a TD and threw for another in the game’s closing minutes after breaking a tie early in the game with Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the most touchdowns in a player’s first five NFL seasons. His three TDs in the game highlighted an otherwise subpar outing, but the Bills (12-3) secured their third straight division title with their sixth win in a row.

“It’s the next progression in our goal — playoffs, division title and we know what the next one is,” Allen said.

Buffalo remained on track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Bills and West leader Kansas City, which beat Seattle, have identical records. But Buffalo owns the head-to-head tiebreaker after defeating the Chiefs in October.

“The standard has always been playoff caliber, after you set a playoff berth, then it is championship caliber,” defensive tackle Ed Oliver said. “And championship caliber is winning your division, winning our side then obviously playing in that game (Super Bowl) and winning that game. I just feel like there are bigger things out there.”

Chicago’s Justin Fields threw for 119 yards and a touchdown. But he ran for a season-low 11 yards after joining Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson as the only QBs with 1,000 yards rushing last week with the Bills containing him and keeping him in the pocket.

“The reality of it is I’m not going to be running for like 100 yards a game,” Fields said. “When a defense does a good job of taking my legs away, take a defender with me, maybe take two with me and allow (the running backs’) legs to work.”

BUNDLE UP

The temperature at kickoff was 9 with a minus-12 wind chill — only three degrees warmer than the record low for a Bears home game. It was Buffalo’s coldest road game by temperature since at least 1967.

A small gathering of bundled-up fans watched as the Bears (3-12) matched a franchise record with their eighth straight loss.

RUNNING AWAY

Singletary ran for 106 yards and became the first Bills player this season to hit triple-digits in a game. He scored on a 33-yard run on the opening drive of the second half to put Buffalo on top, a 2-point conversion pass from Allen to Khalil Shakir making it 14-10.

Cook added a career-high 99, including 27-yarder in the third following a fumble by the Bears’ David Montgomery gave the Bills a 21-10 lead.

Chicago’s Cairo Santos kicked a field goal early in the fourth quarter that Nicholas Morrow set up by picking off an ill-advised pass. Allen scored from the 4 with just under four minutes remaining and threw a 13-yard TD to Dawson Knox with about a minute to play.

Allen broke the tie with Marino when he hit Gabe Davis with a 19-yarder in the first quarter. He now has 174 touchdowns — 135 passing, 38 rushing and one receiving.

Allen finished with 172 yards, two TD passes and two interceptions even though he was facing a short-handed secondary. Along with the interception by Morrow, he got picked off by Kyler Gordon near the goal line in the second quarter.

“It’s not so much the cold as it was the wind,” Allen said. “It just gusts. You don’t know really where it’s coming from. Sometimes the flags are blowing one way. The next, they’re blowing the opposite way.”

Stefon Diggs caught just two passes for 26 yards. He wasn’t targeted in the first two quarters even though the Bears placed top cornerback Jaylon Johnson (ring finger) on Friday.

But even without big contributions from their star quarterback and receiver, the Bills racked up 426 yards. They ran for 254 and averaged 8.2 per carry.

Dante Pettis had a touchdown catch for Chicago. But the Bears joined the 1978 and 2002 squads as the only ones in franchise history to drop eight in a row.

CHRISTMAS IN CHICAGO

The Bills were spending Christmas Eve in Chicago because of the snow in Buffalo. They were scheduled to fly to Rochester, New York, on Sunday morning.

INJURIES

Bills: RG Ryan Bates (knee) was hurt while blocking for Allen on a scramble late in the second quarter. He returned in the third.

Bears: Fields’ non-throwing shoulder — the same one he separated late last month — bothered him during the game. He was also hobbling at the end after someone stepped on his foot, though he said he should be “good to go.” … OL Michael Schofield III (thumb) was injured on the opening drive, but returned in the second quarter.

UP NEXT

Bills: Visit Cincinnati on Jan. 2.

Bears: Visit Detroit on Jan. 1.

___

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Singletary, Cook lead way as Bills beat Bears for AFC East