1.) Allen vs. Darnold Round 2 Goes to Allen
Sam Darnold. Magician. 16-0 Jets.— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) September 8, 2019
I’ll be the first one to say it, Sam Darnold is OVERRATED. He is a byproduct of the market he is in and the college he played at. He has a chance to be a good quarterback in this league, but he will never be great. 28/41 for 175 yards 1 TD, 0 INTs is a pathetic stat line, and it is a typical day for him.
He is Tyrod Taylor. Darnold is so afraid to make a mistake that he takes no chances. Allen wasn’t much better in that department, and, by my count, each QB took one real chance down the field. The difference, however, was Allen delivered on his opportunity connecting with John Brown on a 38-yard touchdown that ended up being the game-winner. Darnold’s shot was a 10-yard overthrow of Robbie Anderson which likely would have been a game-winning touchdown for the Jets in the closing minutes.
2.) Josh Allen Showed Progress, Not Polish.
Allen had an uneven first half in his season debut. He did some good, like connecting early and often with receivers like Beasley and Brown to move the team into Jets territory on multiple occasions. He also did some bad, like two fumbles and 2 interceptions. Let’s break down Allen’s day below;
Statistics: 24/37, 254 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs. 10 carries, 38 yards, 1TD, 2 fumbles (both lost)
Despite making plenty of mistakes Allen never looked rattled. He had poise, composure, and command of the huddle. He proved against a pretty stout defense up the middle that he can take the underneath stuff and work the lower middle of the field. Beasley was a focal point early in this game, and he assisted Josh Allen in completing 65% of his passes. Had Allen been more careful with the football, we very well have seen an above-average statistical performance from Allen.
Allen connected on a few chunk plays and could have been responsible for a few more. Allen bought time and connected downfield with Tommy Sweeney for a 29-yard gain. Most notably, Allen connected with John “Smokey” Brown for the 38-yard game-winning touchdown. On the play, Allen intentionally underthrew Brown, allowing him to come back to the ball. From there, Brown was able to put on the jets and get into the end zone.
Allen could have had even more big plays had it not been for some misfortune or bad luck. Allen hit Beasley with a perfect basket catch that was dropped, and he made a beautiful throw to Brown in the end zone that was broken up by an even better play from CJ Mosley.
Then, of course, there was the 4th quarter. Allen went 8-12 for 102 yards and a touchdown. He led the fourth comeback win of his 12-game career. As I said previously, he was never rattled. His mistakes can still be deemed correctable, the game doesn’t appear too big for him.
Allen turned the ball over… a lot. Let’s break down each turnover. I really only believe one of Allen’s turnovers were all that concerning.
Fumble #1: Allen loses the ball while being sacked.
This is the only turnover that concerns me. Allen lost the ball trying to slip the defender and keep the play alive. I love the moxie, but he was wrapped up. Allen needs to learn to sometimes just take the sack.
Interception #1: CJ Mosley Pick Six
This one doesn’t even remotely bother me. Backed up in his own end Allen dumped the ball off to Cole Beasley. Was it a great pass? No. But keeping it low may have been intentional. It limits the catch radius to only the receiver. He may have been trying to put it where no defender could snag it so close to the end zone. The plan ultimately backfired as Beasley bobbled it, and it was returned by Mosley for a score.
Fumble #2: Bad Snap by Mitch Morse
Allen never touched the ball. Can we really blame him for a fumble when he never even touched the ball?
Interception #2: Ball Tipped, Then Picked
Darnold had half a dozen balls that were tipped and not picked. I’m sure a number of QBs did week one. Allen’s just happened to be intercepted. The guy is 6’5 with a solid delivery. I’m not worried.
3.) The Bills “Go-To” Weapons Emerged
Devin Singletary was the spark plug that ignited the Bills offense. He rushed only 4 times but picked up 70 yards on those carries. He added 5 catches for 28 yards in the passing game. Speaking of the passing game, despite his drop and bobble, Beasley was Allen’s go-to weapon early finishing with 5 catches for 40 yards.
Then there is John Brown. Smokey caught 7 balls Sunday for 123 yards and the game-winning touchdown. If it wasn’t for half a dozen ridiculous days around the league, Brown would have been one of the national darlings. These are the three men the Bills need to flow their offense through. Gore, Jones, Foster, and the tight ends should just be complimentary pieces at this point.
4.) The Offensive Philosophy was Baffling
The Bills had three designed runs in the first half. I get what their thought process was: the Jets are strong up the middle so spread them out. But they weren’t letting Allen take shots down the field, and his dink and dunk routine wasn’t finishing drives. They needed to make an adjustment to the run sooner, despite how strong the Jets were up the middle. It is what keeps defenses honest and allows for plays down the field on play-action.
Daboll never attacked the weak Jets corners down the field until the 4th quarter. The only time Foster and Brown were on the field together at the same time was inside the 50-yard line and as a ploy to draw the safeties back for a dump off to Singletary. The Bills should have taken more shots down the field. Their offense needed the spark.
5.) This Defense can be Elite
The defense was a tour de force Sunday. The only thing separating them from getting to the elite level is forcing turnovers. That was difficult this week because the Jets play such a conservative style. Hopefully in the weeks that follow that will change.
Hughes, Murphy, and Lawson were all over Sam Darnold. Lawson and Murphy were tipping passes, Lawson and Hughes each notched a sack. The linebackers and interior rushers worked together to establish effective stunts that led to pressures from Milano, Alexander, Oliver, and Jordan Phillips. Edmunds, despite only having 8 tackles, was all over the field. Poyer led the team in tackles and added a sack. White and Wallace didn’t allow any big plays down the field.
All in all, the Bills defense held Darnold to 175 yards in the air and the Jets to 68 yards on the ground. They collected 4 sacks and 0 turnovers.
6.) Nickel Corner is a Concern
Jamison Crowder had 14 catches for 99 yards. 14 CATCHES. Leveon Bell added 32 yards on 6 catches and a touchdown. Taron Johnson started the first half in the nickel and was average at best in coverage. When he went down with a hamstring, Siran Neal became a liability. He was worked over multiple times by Crowder and out-jumped on the two-point conversion by LeVeon Bell. Nickel corner needs to be sorted out quickly with receivers like Sterling Sheppard, Even Engram, and Tyler Boyd on the horizon.
Harrison Phillips scared me a little as well. He was pushed around in the run game on multiple occasions.
Bonus… because six is NEVER enough.
A Win Is A Win… In September
“A win is a win” is a vastly overrated term. Last season when the Bills shellacked the Dolphins at home in Week 17, it meant nothing. That team had packed it in, and the Bills were out of playoff contention. However, a win in September is massive, especially considering the Bills schedule. They need to pile up wins early because the schedule gets tough late.
The defense is elite. If they keep up this pace we have the talent to win 10-11 games. We were better than the Jets, it shouldn’t have been that close. We are better than the Giants, the Bengals, the Broncos, etc. We need to win as many of these “50-50” games as possible. Anything short of 3-0 heading into the New England game is a colossal failure.
What the Bills need to do is not put it all on Josh Allen’s shoulders on offense. They need to revise their game plan to shift a little more focus on the running game. Implementing the run game early and often takes the pressure off Josh Allen, opening things up for him down the field, and allowing our defense more time to catch their breath.