The Buffalo Bills won Sunday's game, 18-10 over the New York Jets, and that is what matters the most.
They beat a Jets team we expected them to beat. It just didn’t play out as most of us expected.
If you were nervous about the Bills after back-to-back losses to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, even in victory you might not feel much better. Especially when you look at the next two games against the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Once again, a Bills opponent decided to play a lot of soft zone coverage in an attempt to take away any big pass plays from the Bills and the Jets were successful with that plan.
However, Josh Allen did a good job of taking what was being given to him. There were a couple of near interceptions, but he played a solid game while completing 69% of his passes (30-of-43) for 307 yards. As he did in the Week 1 triumph over the Jets at Bills Stadium, Allen used his legs as a weapon too. He was the Bills' leading rusher with 61 yards on 11 carries.
It was a strange day for the Bills offense, which got into Jets territory on all nine of its possessions (not counting the kneel down at the end of the game). They totaled 422 yards, but just couldn’t figure out how to get the ball into the end zone.
They actually did one time but a touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis was negated by an illegal formation penalty.
Tight end Tyler Kroft also would have had a touchdown catch, but stumbled on his run after a leaping grab. It wasn’t as bad as New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones on Thursday Night Football this week, but it was the same concept.
The Bills offense managed to get inside the Jets' 20-yard line five different times and settled for a field goal every time. Rookie kicker Tyler Bass was the star of the game, going 6-for-8 on field goal attempts and tying the franchise record for most field goals made in a game. Bass made kicks from 53, 48, 46, 37, 29 and 40 yards. He missed kicks from 45 and 37.
The star of the passing game was definitely Cole Beasley. The Bills were without John Brown and it's clear the passing game just isn’t the same when Brown isn’t available. The Jets did a good job on Stefon Diggs limiting him to 48 yards on six catches. Beasley consistently got open against the zone and had a team-high 11 catches for 112 yards.
Rookie running back Zack Moss had his best game of the season with all seven of his carries and 47 yards coming in the second half. Fellow back Devin Singletary just can’t get going this season. He had just 29 yards on eight carries.
The Bills defense was a tale of two halves.
In the first half, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold effectively guided their offense and was 11-of-15 for 116 yards, while getting them into the red zone on three of the four drives. Darnold was getting the ball out fast and on target. Former Bills running back Frank Gore looked like a younger version of himself with 46 yards on eight carries. They scored 10 points, which isn’t a lot, but keep in mind they were averaging just 12 points a game through an 0-6 start.
The second half was the exact opposite as the Jets offense did nothing, almost literally. The Bills defense took over their matchup with the Jets offensive line and shut out Gang Green. New York had five drives in the second half and ended up with four net yards and just one first down. That is not a typo. The Jets never got the ball beyond their own 38-yard line in the entire half, a half where they had the ball for just six-and-a-half minutes. Darnold completed 11 of his first 13 passes and went 1-for-10 the rest of the game.
Jerry Hughes was a one man wrecking crew as he ended up with two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss.
Rookie cornerback Dane Jackson made his NFL debut and got the start in place of an injured Josh Norman. Jackson’s first game included his first NFL interception, and the first by a Bills defensive back this season.
As far as the big picture, the Bills got a badly needed victory to improve to 5-2. However, they have a number of things to work on with the Patriots coming to town next week.
The offense needs to find a way to combat the approach opponents have taken against them in the last three games. The Bills have been held under 20 points in each of those games, after averaging 30 points a game in a 4-0 start.
Happy Patriots week, everyone!