The Buffalo Bills suffered their second loss of the season Sunday, falling to the New York Jets in New Jersey, 20-17. The defeat knocks Buffalo to 0-2 in the AFC East and 6-2 overall. Despite the L, the Bills are still atop the AFC, as they hold the tiebreaker over Kansas City. This game was pretty ugly all around. Here are my five “would you believe me if I said…” stats from your AFC-leading Buffalo Bills.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… Josh Allen had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?
You watched the game, so you believe me, but it was one of the worst games the Bills quarterback has had in years. Allen’s zero passing touchdowns obviously tie a career low. The blank in the passing TD department was his first of this season and something he hasn’t done since Week 17 of last year against Atlanta. Speaking of that game vs. the Falcons, Allen’s pair of picks was the most he has had in a game since he had three in that game against the Dirty Birds.
Allen’s 205 passing yards and 46.8 passer rating were also the fewest he’s had in those categories this season. What may have hurt the most is how many times he was sacked. Allen was brought down in the backfield five times, the most in a game since Week 9 of 2020 against Seattle. Those five sacks are also the third most of his career. The biggest bummer for Bills Mafia when referencing how bad it was vs. Atlanta and Seattle is that Buffalo managed to win both of those games. The good news is that, at worst, Allen is still a top-two QB in the league.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… Bills running backs aren’t really running?
Josh Allen did his thing on the ground again, rushing for 86 yards on nine carries and scoring a pair of touchdowns, but he didn’t get any help from his backfield mates. Devin Singletary toted the rock eight times for just 24 yards, and James Cook added four carries for 15 yards. Combine those two, and you have 12 rushes for just 39 yards – or 3.25 yards per attempt. To put that number on a grander scale, 3.25 yards per carry (ypc) is only better than the Rams’ 3.2ypc and the Bucs’ 3.0ypc.
I don’t want to place all the blame on those two. Dion Dawkins was the only Bills’ lineman to receive a good run-blocking grade via Pro Football Focus (PFF). Dawkins graded out at 91.6, which is really good. Sadly, after him, David Quessenberry and Rodger Saffold were barely average – at 68.2 and 64.5 grades, respectively. Meanwhile, according to PFF, Mitch Morse and Ryan Bates were below average at 54.7 and 53.6, respectively. In short, a lot needs to be fixed before Buffalo takes on the top-rated run defense in Minnesota.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… Hyde and Poyer are more important than we thought?
This isn’t even about how good they are at playing football, but also being the prototypical “coaches on the field.” The duo are both 31 years of age and have seen it all when it comes to playing the game, especially in Leslie Frazier’s system. Without them, Buffalo is relying on 26-year-old Jaquan Johnson and 24-year-old Damar Hamlin to man the middle of the secondary, and it wasn’t pretty Sunday.
Buffalo allowed Zach Wilson, who completed just 48.8% of his passes last week, to complete 72% of his throws. Their coverage grades, per PFF, weren’t pretty either. Jaquan earned a 62.2, and Damar just a 57.1. Add in Siran Neal’s 36.6, and the trio of safeties were subpar in their duties.
We know Hyde isn’t coming back this season, and sadly, it appears Poyer is closer to week-to-week than day-to-day, but some help is on the way in the form of Dean Marlowe. Brandon Beane sent a seventh-round pick to Atlanta ahead of last Tuesday’s trade deadline to bring Marlowe back to Buffalo, where he signed in 2017 after a couple of years in Carolina. Marlowe spent four years with the Bills. He hauled in a pair of picks in 15 games played back in 2020.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… Bills are oddly the AFC Least?
The Bills’ stats in division vs. their other six opponents don’t make sense. First, Buffalo is 6-0 against non-AFC East teams and 0-2 against the Jets and Dolphins. Buffalo is a league-best +102 in point differential through week nine but sits at -5 in those games against AFC East foes. Second, Buffalo is one of five teams to remain winless in divisional games. Only the Bengals and Cardinals are worse, with a 0-3 mark. Third, the Bills are the only team in the AFC playoff picture with zero divisional wins.
So, how is this possible? It could be as simple as the fact that the AFC East is way better than anyone predicted in the preseason. After week nine, the AFC East is the only division where all the teams have a winning record. The Patriots are in last at 5-4, which would be good enough for second in AFC North, AFC South, NFC North, and NFC West, as well as first in the NFC South.
Would You Believe Me If I Said… you can argue Greg Rousseau is the Bills’ best defender?
Greg Rousseau leads the Bills in pass rush grade at 83.7, according to PFF. That 83.7 mark is good enough for No. 6 in the entire NFL. This comes while any of those players rush the passer more often than Groot. He is currently 25th at rush percentage at 97.1% while teammate Von Miller comes in at 8th, rushing the passer 99.1% of the time. Rousseau’s win percentage leads the Bills, beating his opposition 22.6% of the time. This is fifth-best in the league, while Miller is second on the Bills and 25th overall. Note: these PFF stats are all for edge rushers with at least 50% of their teams’ snaps.
As for pure box score stats, Rousseau leads the Bills’ defensive ends in tackles at 21. He is only behind Von Miller in sacks. Miller leads the team with seven, and Groot has five. Rousseau’s 51-percent snap count is also second on the team as far as edge rushers, also only behind Von Miller. Yes, if you haven’t noticed, I’m counting Miller as an EDGE, even though many list him as a linebacker.