Bills crumble, drop AFC East matchup with Jets, 20-17


This is a pretty tough one to swallow. The Buffalo Bills lost a very winnable Week 9 matchup with a tough New York Jets team, 20-17. The Jets had a clear game plan on defense and executed it well. The Bills were unable to capitalize on opportunities and gave the Jets too many chances of their own that they did take advantage of. A very bad game all around for the Bills as they earn their second loss of the season (their second divisional loss, as well).

Below we’ll take a look at nothing that was inspirational, a position that requires a question, a part of the defense that requires a better performance, and a player that had the most irksome performance of the day.

Inspire – Absolutely nothing, huh! Say it again:

I’d say it’s pretty easy to say that there’s nothing good that could be reasonably drawn from this game. The offense is stuck in the mud. The defense is getting brutalized by injuries and isn’t figuring out enough solutions. They’re holding onto a slim lead in the division despite being 0-2 against AFC East foes. The Jets are no slouch of an opponent; they came into this game with five wins and leave with a sixth for a reason. But a big part of that sixth win is the Bills simply not living up to their talent and hype. This was supposed to be the “easy” part of Buffalo’s schedule and now the team is looking a bit lost. It’s going to be a very long week of needed questions, and we’ll see if the Bills will come up with any answers.

Inquire – David Quessenberry vs Spencer Brown: 

The development of Spencer Brown was an intriguing storyline coming into 2022. Brown started many games for the Bills in 2021, and despite his ups and downs, there was a belief that his athleticism combined with OL guru Aaron Kromer would allow for Brown to potentially burst onto the scene as a legit RT in the NFL. Unfortunately, an offseason back procedure kept him out of a large portion of training camp, and David Quessenberry has filled in for him quite well… so well that it’s time to start asking whether or not the Bills need to consider keeping Quessenberry at RT for the rest of the 2022 season. In the long term, it’s theoretically much better to try to develop your younger players, if only just to see what you have in them. But when you’re making a run for the Super Bowl, you don’t always have the luxury of waiting to let players develop. It’s possible that they platoon him and Brown when Brown is able to come back into the lineup, but it’s also possible that they simply leave Quessenberry as is, and keep him and the rest of the OL in sync. It’s an important question to ask, and one they will have to contend with moving forward. 

Require – Bills Run Defense:

For the second straight week, the Bills’ run defense had some struggles. The biggest contributing factor seemed to be the absences of Matt Milano and Jordan Poyer. Jaquan Johnson was rough replacing Poyer for most of the game, missing tackles and taking bad angles on outside runs. But it wasn’t just Johnson, and it would be disingenuous to pin the run defense struggles on one player, particularly a safety. The defensive line was unable to get penetration against a Jets OL that has been hit heavily by injuries, and the run blitzes stopped finding success in the second half. Milano likely will only miss this game, but the Bills have been a bit cagey with regard to Poyer’s status, saying he’s essentially week-to-week. Maybe he’s back next week, maybe he’s back next month. In either case, it was clear they didn’t feel completely comfortable with who they had left on their roster at the safety position, which is why they traded for Dean Marlowe. The Bills need to start winning more upfront in the run game, tackling more consistently, and rallying to the football. The offensive side of the ball has the luxury of having their main objective be to highlight their main players. The defense has the burden of having to cover up for their worst players, because that’s who offenses will try to attack. The Bills need to start figuring out what it’s going to take to cover up for their backups who are being put in the unenviable spot of filling in for All-Pro types of players.

Irk – Josh Allen:

Simply put, Josh Allen did not play well today. He finished 18/34 for 205 yards passing, two interceptions, and nine rushing attempts for 86 yards and two TDs. Allen was erratic as a passer, missing throws, making bad decisions, and pressing too much. The Jets brought a lot of pressure with their front four, which has been the biggest factor in their defensive success this season, and it showed today. But if you’re the type of QB who wants to be the best, you have to beat the best. It felt very reminiscent of last year when the Bills were struggling to find answers to two-high coverages that forced them to take more underneath plays. But Allen was unwilling to take what was underneath and kept trying to push for big plays, which led to holding onto the ball and surrendering five sacks to a good Jets DL. Allen gave away opportunities and put the Bills in bad positions with the two INTs. The Bills have struggled in the red zone as of late, and Allen’s first pick was emblematic of those struggles, as Allen simply did not see the underneath defender when throwing to Knox. The second INT seemed to be a misread between Allen and Davis and it’s a mistake that the Jets’ rookie stud, Sauce Gardner, took advantage of. Allen has to be better than what he was today, because they are not always going to be playing the Jets where they can go into a lull for a game and still get a win. 

The Bills will come back home next Sunday to face their next opponent, the 7-1 Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are a tough opponent with a great run game and a solid pass rush, and their only loss of the season has been to the 8-0 Philadelphia Eagles. The season is not over, far from it. And we have seen the Bills and Josh Allen go into slumps before, but they have to find a way out of it soon, or they are going to start paying the price in what is shaping up to be one of the toughest divisions in football.