Well, that certainly felt better than last week.
The Buffalo Bills returned to form as they crushed their division rival New York Jets in a 45-17 blowout win, moving them to 3-0 in the division. This was a game that saw the Bills get five turnovers, and rack up over 500 yards of total offense, while also committing only seven penalties for 50 yards, many of which came late when the game was already wrapped up.
A bounce-back game for the offense and a nearly perfect performance by the defense is exactly what you want against a divisional opponent, especially coming off a bad loss to the Jaguars last week. Below we’ll talk about what was most Inspiring, what unit forced us to ask some questions, who requires a better performance, and faux “irk” of sorts.
Inspire: Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs return to form
Josh Allen struggled last week, along with the entirety of the Bills offense. This week, against the rival Jets, Allen exploded, finding a great rhythm early, and while he slowed a bit in the second quarter, finding his BFF re-ignited things along the way to a blowout win.
Much has been made about Stefon Diggs’ supposed lack of production this season coming into this game, and if those concerns were in any way accurate (they weren’t), then Bills fans should feel much more comfortable about their star WR after his performance today. Diggs finished with 8 catches for 162 yards and 1 TD, in what was easily his best game of the season. Diggs and Allen looked electric, the BIlls’ offense as a whole looked fantastic. If you were to script a bounceback game for Josh Allen, this is what it would have looked like
Inquire: The Bills OL
Normally the Inquire section is for asking questions of a player, unit, or coach that made things a bit unclear by the end of the game, which is typically not a good thing. This time, I am wondering how important it is for the Bills to have this particular offensive line combination of Dawkins, Boettger/Feliciano, Morse, Williams, and Brown.
The Bills OL held up 100% better than it did last week against the Jaguars, and against a Jets DL that is notorious for pinning its ears back and attacking, it’s actually quite impressive how well they responded. That being said, Boettger is playing because of an injury to Jon Feliciano, and if he’s healthy, will they look to bring him back and put Boettger on the bench? Feliciano is a much better run blocker than pass blocker, and perhaps the Bills will feel like in order to give the run game more consistency, they will need to get Feliciano back in the starting lineup.
They were by no means perfect, still giving up some pressures up the middle, and a miscommunication on a blitz got Josh Allen lit up, however, it is clear that this combination is their best shot moving forward. Williams functions better as a guard, Brown’s pull and pancake sprung Matt Breida on his TD run, and Dawkins and Boettger looked much better today.
Require: The Run Game
Another week, another example of the Bills’ run game being very inconsistent. Matt Breida’s limited snaps yielded two TDs, one receiving, and a fumble lost. Singletary had a few good runs, but also fumbled with zero contact, and thankfully recovered it on his own. Moss had a goal-line carry for a TD, and had little outside of that.
While the Bills finished with 139 total rushing yards, only 95 of those yards came from their 3 RBs, essentially less than 33 yards for each back. The Bills simply need more from their running backs. If or when Allen struggles again, and he might, the Bills have to be able to find some measure of balance with the ground game. For now, it remains missing, and the pictures on the milk cartons will still be circulated until it is found.
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“Irk”: No Shutout?
It feels mean-spirited to mention the Bills defense as an “irk” given they played lights out today, with Tremaine Edmunds and Star Lotulelei out. Therefore, this will only be irksome in that they didn’t maintain their shutout. Outside of that, the Bills’ defense got five turnovers, all from their starting members in the secondary. Tre White, Jordan Poyer, Taron Johnson, and Levi Wallace all notched INTs, and Micah Hyde made an incredible play to rip the ball out of Corey Davis’ hands right before halftime and recovering it as well.
AJ Klein played quite well in Edmunds’ absence, calling the defense exceptionally, and making some good, splashy plays of his own. He is another Brandon Beane bargain bin signing that has panned out exceptionally well. In other weeks, there are things to be irksome about, but frankly? This is as complete a performance the Bills have had all season, which is extremely impressive.
The Bills play the Indianapolis Colts next, a tough opponent likely looking to avenge their Wild Card playoff loss from this past January. The Colts are no pushovers, but can be beaten. If the Bills want to keep pace ahead of the surging Patriots in a now tight AFC East, they need to keep winning games, and especially against good or even middling opponents.