The Buffalo Bills defense finally, and I mean finally drew a line in the sand after a recognizably disappointing first half performance against the worst team in football.
Heading into Sunday’s matchup, the New York Jets led for less than 20 minutes the entire season, but found success against the Bills early and often, and led the Bills after a field goal on their first possession. The Jets would hold that lead until late in the third quarter when rookie kicker Tyler Bass made his fourth field goal of the afternoon.
The Bills offense possessed the ball just once in the first quarter and worked their way up to 189 yards by the time the first half came to a close – out-gaining the Jets 189 to 186. The game ended with the Bills out-gaining the Jets 422 to 190 – just four second half yards for the Jets.
If you believe in turning points to a season, perhaps that second half performance will create some forward momentum and carry this defense to some better days. Coming into Sunday, the Bills were in the bottom-five in nearly every key defensive category and came off two consecutive poor performances.
They were in desperate need of a statement game, and the first half was anything but that. That second half very well could have changed the outlook for the rest of the season for this Bills defense and, frankly, it feels long overdue.
Making Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, with the weapons he’s had at his disposal, look like an All-Pro in the first half had to have been a gut punch for head coach Sean McDermott and the Bills defense. They played like it in the second half, holding Darnold to just one completion.
Any way you slice it, it was a welcomed sight seeing what resembled the defense Bills fans have grown accustomed to seeing week-in and week-out during the McDermott era.
It felt like for weeks that the defense was playing with the weight of the world on their backs. You can especially say that about linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who’d looked like a shell of the player we saw through his first two seasons.
Yes, it was the Jets. Yes, nearly all of us considered launching the remote through the flat screen, but it was a “get right” game.
No, it wasn’t a 40-point route, but the Bills had been in the midst of a significant defensive slump, coming off of their most difficult two-game stretch of the season. Our hope is that the second half goes a long way for the confidence of a unit that had been facing an identity crises.
The competition level becomes far more substantive next week when they host the New England Patriots with an opportunity to go to 4-0 in the division and 6-2 overall heading into a pivotal Week 9 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
That's a mark every Bills fan would have taken in August.