Josh Allen struggles immensely as Bills drop season opener to Jets, 22-16

09/11/2023
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A sloppy performance by the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen as they stumble against the New York Jets and drop their Week 1 matchup in overtime, 22-16. An early Aaron Rodgers injury looked to doom the Jets’ season early before the Bills decided to hand the game to them, scoring on only a single drive in the second half to bring the game into OT. 

To put it succinctly, the Bills had zero reason to lose this game. They had the better roster, and the Jets lost their starting QB not even a full series into the game. Instead, the Bills spent the entire game hoping the Jets would make more mistakes than they did. They were wrong, and the Bills will now reap the consequences of that. 

To put it in more detail, we’ll explore the players who gave the most inspiring performances of the night, a part of the offense that raises some questions, look at the part of the defense that requires a better performance, and explore the irksome performance of Josh Allen.

Inspire – Diggs, Kincaid, and Bass:

Stefon Diggs is him. There’s no question about that. He worked both Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed all night long, and scored the only TD of the night for the Bills on a Josh Allen scramble. If there was any doubt about Diggs and his abilities or his role on this offense, there should be zero questions moving forward. The other consistent performer of the night was rookie first-round pick Dalton Kincaid, who made his impact finding spots underneath and showing his smarts, good hands, and smooth athleticism. 

A big shout out to Tyler Bass, who has been a great kicker for this team since he joined the Bills in 2020. His clutch kicks saved the Bills’ anemic offensive drives, and he made a clutch kick at the end of regulation to tie it the game and send it into OT.

Inquire – James Cook & The Run Game:

Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey clearly made a concerted effort to get James Cook involved as the lead back in the run game. Runs to the outside found some success. Runs up the middle… not so much. The Jets have an excellent front seven with a DL that can punish anyone and a pair of LBs that can bring the heat in the run game. The Bills had some looks that worked on the outside, utilizing Cook’s speed. Overall there needed to be a bit more consistency, but there were flashes of plays that seemed to work and they found certain concepts that will likely be staples throughout the season, including the sprint draw concept that was utilized several times throughout the night. Overall not a bad start for the run game, but improvements could be made.

Require – Run Defense:

If there’s a part of a modern NFL defense that is allowed to be less than average, it should be the run defense. It’s a passing league, and passing defense simply matters more; with that said you can’t let your run defense be a liability. There are plenty of teams in the NFL that are capable of running the ball and can make the Bills pay for not fitting gaps properly or making tackles in the hole. It’s been an issue in some form or another for the Bills during McDermott’s tenure, and the Bills have still had plenty of success in spite of those issues. But some of the issues in the run game are less a deliberate schematic or personnel issues (playing more Nickel, having smaller LBs) and more the technical issues mentioned above. Regardless of what the problem is, the Bills have to fix it, as they are going to be facing the 2022 leading rusher in Josh Jacobs next week at home. 

Irk – Josh Allen:

Turnovers beget turnovers. There are plays that Josh Allen made that are classic Josh Allen; putting C.J. Mosley in concrete to pick up a first down with his legs, skirting the LOS to deliver a TD strike to Diggs for a TD. There were also four inexplicable, inexcusable turnovers that continued to give the Jets opportunities, and the Bills couldn’t stop the bleeding. Allen has struggled against the Jets in his career and with a talented, well-coached defense, no one was expecting a high-octane performance from Allen and the Bills’ offense. But there is a balance that has to be achieved with Allen where he simply doesn’t take nearly as many self-inflicted bad plays that plagued him for much of the 2022 season. The Jets only stayed in the game because of turnovers by Allen, picking the worst possible moments to falter and give the ball to the Jets, at times almost literally handing it to them. The turnovers and sloppy, undisciplined play have to be addressed because the Bills won’t have the benefit of facing Zach Wilson and Nate Hackett every week. Most of the time when you score 16 points and have four turnovers in the NFL, you get blown out, and deservedly so. 

The Bills will return to Buffalo for their home opener, and play the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The Raiders, who are 1-0, look to be a much easier out than the Jets. But given this abysmal start to the season, the Bills can’t afford to lay back and take it easy. They need to be able to make a statement at home against an inferior opponent.

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