Josh Allen Shows A Whole Lot of Progress
Josh Allen came into the game looking to make a statement. A week after Dak Prescott lit up the Giants secondary, it was Allen’s job to do the same to lead the Bills to a victory. Josh Allen met those expectations in the first half, and, despite a quiet second half, it was enough for the win.
Allen finished the first half 15-20 for 210 yards and two touchdowns (one run, one pass). While he finished the game 19-30 for 256 yards, it was clear the Bills philosophy was to take the foot off the gas and milk the lead, and Allen did his part by avoiding turnovers.
Allen’s most dynamic play of the first half was a play he kept alive with his legs and threw an absolute bullet on target to a covered Dawson Knox for a first down. It is a throw no Bills quarterback since Ryan Fitzpatrick would even consider attempting.
Then there was the play that put an end to this game. On third down, Allen avoided two defensive lineman and delivered an absolute strike to John Brown for the first down that iced the game. There are maybe 10 quarterbacks in this league that can make this play.
The Defense Keeps On Rolling
It looked like it was going to be a long day in the Meadowlands. On the first drive, the Giants went 75 yard on 5 plays for the early 7-0 lead. They made it look effortless and didn’t even throw the ball. However, the Bills defense never lost their swagger and rebounded with a heck of an effort. Eli Manning was forced to throw the ball 44 times, and in 2019 when Eli Manning has to throw the ball 44 times, it means the game is over. Barkley got his, rushing for over 100 yards on 18 carries, but the Bills contained him from breaking the big one after the mistakes of the first drive.
What I love about this unit is that they work as a cohesive unit. At the end of games, you aren’t looking at one or two players and saying they were the difference. You cannot say that about all defenses. Just look at the Jets last week when CJ Mosley went down. This game involved serious efforts from a number of players including Shaq Lawson, Trent Murphy, Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, and the duo of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.
Ed Oliver and Trent Murphy combine for the first turnover of the season:
Micah Hyde’s Drive Killing Hit:
Harrison Phillips shutting down Saquon Barkley:
Jordan Poyer’s end of game interception:
Isaiah McKenzie Steps Up
The Giants defense had trouble last week against the play action, jet sweep, misdirection game of Dallas. With Andre Roberts out of the lineup, Isaiah McKenzie stepped up and provided a spark over the middle of the field. First he contributed a long reception and then with a faux jet sweep for a touchdown.
It is really good to see the Bills lineman and tight ends blocking so well down the field. I’d like to see the Bills give McKenzie more of a special teams role if Roberts’ injury lingers. Yes he has a history of muffing punts, but his dynamic return ability can flip the field in a way Micah Hyde simply cannot.
Right Tackle Still Isn’t Settled
The Bills continue to play musical chairs at Right Tackle. Cody Ford started the game and was quickly beat off the edge by Markus Golden for a sack. From there on out, Nsekhe dominated the snaps the rest of the way in the first half and Ford in the second half. It almost seems like the Bills want to use Ford in run blocking situations, and Nsekhe in pass blocking situations.
That won’t be able to fly for long. The Bills have scored six touchdowns this year, and Nsekhe has been on the field for five of them. It is time to go with the veteran. Let Ford take some time to sit back and practice his skills at both guard and tackle. That way he can step in if there is an injury or anyone is ineffective. The offensive line was called for numerous penalties Sunday, and the revolving door at right tackle surely played a role.
I will give Ford credit for one thing, I was a huge fan of the unnecessary roughness penalty he took at the end of the first half. Protect your quarterback!
Corey Bojorquez Didn’t Suck!
Corey Bojorquez had himself a game Sunday. The punter (whom I am not a fan of) managed to take what he does on the practice field and apply it consistently onto the playing field. Bojorquez punted seven times for 325 yards. That was good for an average of 46.4 a punt with a long of 63 yards and one punt inside the 20.
Checking In On The Big Three
On Thursday I mused that the Buffalo Bills should funnel their offense through three players: Devin Singletary, Cole Beasley, and John Brown. Singletary only touched the ball six times this game, taking those carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. It is time for the Bills to consider increasing the workload of Singletary who is averaging over six yards per carry more than Frank Gore.
Cole Beasley was targeted four times and caught all of them for 83 yards. John Brown caught seven of eight targets for 72 yards. On Brown’s only miss, he was streaking wide open for an easy touchdown, and Allen overthrew him. These two deserve more than 12 targets combined per game.
This Bills team is different. They have a lot they need to clean up and develop, but there is a different kind of confidence in the air on their sideline. McDermott’s message is getting through and the players are buying in. They NEED to make it 3-0 next week against the Bengals to set themselves up for a potential era-ending game against New England in two weeks. Ideally, the Bills will need to be at least 4-1 heading into their bye week. They’ll need all the wins they can get now, the schedule only gets tougher.
Check out The Bills Guys Podcast on The Buffalo Fanatics Podcasting Network to hear my thoughts on Sean McDermott’s second half philosophy as the Bills attempted to close out the Giants.