After an ugly 9-6 loss at the hands of the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, the Buffalo Bills acknowledged that “tough conversations” took place throughout the week. And on Sunday, that soul-searching paid off, as the Bills romped the New York Jets 45-17. The team came out energized, scoring a touchdown on their opening possession and continued with 60 minutes of complete football in all three phases.
In such a dominant win, here are our studs and standouts from the game.
Stud: QB Josh Allen
Allen admitted that he played like “s–t” against the Jaguars, but bounced back in a big way against New York. The 25-year old attacked a weak Jets defense, completing 21-of-28 passes for 366 yards, throwing two touchdowns and a late interception. Allen averaged a whopping 13.1 yards-per-attempt and completed passes to eight different receivers. He played from the pocket – rushing just two times for three yards – and pushed the ball downfield, something that he’s struggled to do at times throughout the season due to facing extensive two-deep coverage looks.
This was a performance Allen – and Buffalo’s offense – needed to right the ship and prove that they could not only beat, but embarrass, inferior teams after a rough loss.
Stud: WR Stefon Diggs
Diggs has been relatively quiet – for his standards – throughout the first half of the 2021 season. But he looked like the 2020 version of Stefon Diggs Sunday, racking up 162 yards and a touchdown on eight catches (13 targets). Diggs scored his fourth touchdown of the season in the second quarter on a 13-yard fade route. Buffalo went to Diggs on the same play call one snap prior, but the receiver didn’t get both feet inbounds. Allen and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll trusted their No. 1 target against Javelin Guidry, going right back to him and he came down with the ball. Diggs exposed a young, inferior Jets secondary early and often. He reeled in a 57-yard grab on a stop-and-go route and routinely made the tough intermediate catches.
Diggs needed this type of outing, as he admitted earlier in the week that he’s been feeling down about his 2020 play thus far. Buffalo surely hopes this game is the catalyst the 27-year old needs for a second half of the season surge.
Stud: Added speed from RB Matt Breida, WR Isaiah McKenzie
Buffalo’s offense was lethargic for the majority of their previous three games. From a woeful offensive line to a lack of separation by receivers, the offense simply hasn’t lived up to its potential. To great success, Brian Daboll mixed things up Sunday, utilizing two of the fastest players on the team’s roster – Matt Breida and Isaiah McKenzie. Breida scored a pair of touchdowns – a 15-yard rush and a 15-yard reception – and finished the day with 50 total yards on six touches.
McKenzie scored on an eight-yard rush during the third quarter, finishing his afternoon with 55 all purpose yards. McKenzie and Breida’s presence both pre and post-snap benefitted Buffalo’s offense greatly. With a lacking offensive line, drawing defenders eyes to decoys will make a huge difference in the time Josh Allen has in the pocket, while adding to the overall explosiveness on offense.
Stud: Bills Pass Rush
Mike White entered Sunday’s game with more hype than most fifth-round draft picks could ever imagine having. But Buffalo’s No. 1 defense caused White to come crashing back down to reality, thanks to a relentless pass rush. The Bills sacked White just once, but hit him seven times and hurried him on the majority of his dropbacks.
White completed just 24-of-44 passes for 261 yards, with four interceptions. White accumulated a lot of garbage time yardage late in the game, but Buffalo’s strong pass rush, combined with sticky coverage on the backend was a recipe for disaster for Zach Wilson’s backup.
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Stud: LB A.J. Klein
Filling in for an injured Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker A.J. Klein was tasked with manning the middle of Buffalo’s defense without nose tackle Star Lotulelei in front of him to help keep him clean. And Klein thrived, racking up seven tackles, two tackles for loss and one pass breakup. Klein was dominant against the run, playing a large part in the team limiting New York to just 70 yards on 22 carries (3.2 yards-per-carry).
An average athlete, Klein fared well in coverage between the hashes and even chased down some screens to the sideline. All in all, it was a quality game for the reserve linebacker as he didn’t make any costly mistakes and kept the defense on track.
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