Bills bend, don’t break in 20-12 win over Jets


An ugly win is always better than an ugly loss, and that has never been more true than Sunday’s 20-12 Buffalo Bills win over the New York Jets. After what seemed to be a game destined for endless punting, the Bills finally broke the scoring drought with a spectacular play from Dawson Knox before the end of the first half, and from there the Bills had control of the game. While the Jets scored right after halftime to tie it up, the Bills had total control throughout the game, despite a very tough Jets defense and a resilient Mike White-led Jets offense. In the end, the Bills did exactly what they needed to do and notched a second division win, and earned their 10th win overall on the season.

Below we’ll take a look at the players who had the most inspiring performance this game, the area that left some questions on the field, the coaches that require a better performance, and an offense that was extraordinarily irksome today.

Inspire – Defense and Tyler Bass:

One bad drive. That was all the defense had in this game. The Bills’ defense held a fairly hot Jets offense to a paltry seven points, which could have easily been three or zero had the Bills made a few tackles or covered Garrett Wilson on third down. Regardless, the Bills’ defense played very well overall today, with Matt Milano laying hits all over the field and Greg Rousseau being a disruptive force throughout the whole game to the tune of two sacks, one pass deflection, and one forced fumble. Edmunds made several TFLs, and Damar Hamlin came up clutch with a critical forced fumble late in the game.

In addition, Tyler Bass was spectacular hitting all of his kicks in extremely bad weather. PATs, FGs, it didn’t matter, as Bass continues his stellar, borderline All-Pro season,

Inquire – Run Game:

After a very promising showing from James Cook and Devin Singletary last week, the Bills’ run game was almost entirely absent against the Jets this week. Allen finished as the Bills’ leading rusher (again) with 47 yards on 10 attempts, with Singletary being the lead RB with eight attempts for 39 yards and James Cook getting four measly carries for six yards. The Jets certainly have a good defense, and their front seven in particular can play at a high level, but after the injury to Quinnen Williams in particular, the Bills should have leaned more on the ground game to keep the Jets off-balance. Instead, they stuck with their spread, heavy passing attack. The OL certainly did the Bills no favors with their blocking, but regardless, the Bills need to use the ground game more effectively. More than that though, they need to use their RBs more effectively. Their rushing offense should not start and end with Josh Allen.

Require – Leslie Frazier and Sean McDermott:

Let me be clear, the defense played exceptionally well today overall. The pass rush laid hit after hit on Mike White and held the Jets’ run game to 76 total rushing yards. The defense held a fairly good Jets offense to seven points (with two of their eventual nine coming off a blocked punt for a safety). The defense did well overall. The problem is with two things. the first being a persistent problem for the Bills’ defense on third-and-long. The Bills have given up what feels to be an unnecessary amount of first downs on third-and-long this year. It feels like the Bills get too safe and comfortable in third-and-long situations, relying too much on the talent they have and not getting creative enough in those situations. 

The second problem is the baffling decision to keep playing Dane Jackson over Kaiir Elam. Jackson, while not as awful as some might believe, has certainly been struggling in recent weeks. Elam is the player the Bills spent a first-round pick on for a reason, and the Bills need to see what he can bring to the table at this point. Bare minimum, he struggles. As Jackson has been doing for weeks now. At best he provides some much-needed athleticism at the CB position and creates some plays. There’s really no legitimate reason for this coaching staff to keep Elam out of the starting lineup, other than stubbornness on the part of the coaching staff with regard to vets vs rookies. 

Irk – Offense (again):

Ineptitude all around for the Bills’ offense today. Drops, bad throws, bad play calling, bad blocking. Hardly anything went right for the Bills’ offense today. 20 points were good enough against this Jets team, but it’s not good enough for the rest of the season, especially with the Dolphins and their high-octane offense on the horizon. Yes, the weather was bad but the Bills’ offensive issues went beyond the weather. After what seemed to be a good step forward against the Patriots in terms of play calling and design, it felt as though Dorsey reverted back to bad habits, with constant empty formations, minimal play action, and little motion. Not to mention a severe lack of a run game. An ugly win is certainly better than an ugly loss, but it feels like one step forward, two steps back for the Bills’ offense this week. To put it simply, the Bills need a better performance all around from their players and coaches on offense, especially if they have aspirations for the No. 1 seed in a tight AFC this year.

The Bills will face one of their toughest remaining opponents in the Miami Dolphins this Saturday at 8:15 PM. This will be the third straight road game for Miami, and on a slightly shorter week as well. While the Bills certainly did not create a lot of confidence after this Jets game on offense, it’s also fair to say that the Jets’ defense is vastly superior to the Dolphins’ defense, as the Jets rank fifth in defensive DVOA, and the Dolphins rank 17th. The Bills have to find a way to slow down Tua Tagovailoa and Mike McDaniel’s strong offense as they have been on fire for most of the last six weeks. It is a critical matchup that the Bills have to win to help them continue to create separation from the rest of the AFC and continue their pursuit of the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. 

1 Comment

  1. Christopher H

    The combination of poor weather conditions and a good Jets defence had a lot of influence on the apparently bad Offensive play. Had John Brown been able to hold on to the downfield pass ripped out by Sauce Gardner, the subsequent plays may have been much different…