Monday Six Pack: Bills vs. Bengals

Kudos to all 72,000 in attendance. The crowd was so loud my living room was shaking. Pancho would have been proud. Viva Los Bills!

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This one was for Pancho Billa.#VivaLosBills | #GoBills pic.twitter.com/M9DKgkcLpY

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Me: Watching twitter videos of people tailgating at the home opener. pic.twitter.com/tCcKI9GoV5

Tre Day! Tre Day!

We discussed Tre White on our podcast over the summer. I mused that in today’s “modern NFL” we need to change the definition of shutdown corner to fit the likes of Tre White. He may not be perfect, but in today’s NFL, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more than 5-10 corners better than Tre White. He can play off man, press man, zone, whatever you ask.

Through the first two games of the season Bengals receiver John Ross had amassed 270 yards on 11 receptions for 3 touchdowns. On Sunday, lined up against White, he had 2 catches for 22 yards. White also chipped in what gets “elite” corners national attention… interceptions. Two of them to be exact, including the game clincher on the Bengals final drive.

Suck it, Pro Football Focus!

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Tre White with the Pick 🔒⬇️ pic.twitter.com/eQIBht5gDP

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Tre’Davious White’s 2nd INT of Andy Dalton launched the #Bills to a 3-0 record. pic.twitter.com/1MvsjRpdTF

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Tre’Davious White after his two interception performance: “Tell Dion to call me. Two picks!” @WKBW pic.twitter.com/xmECiY6CSN

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Tre White throws a sideline party after his game-sealing INT – totally worth the 15-yard penalty #Bills #NFL #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/f8A8A991Qj

Defense Is Closing In On Elite Status

Through three games the Bills defense has given up 16, 14, and 17 points. Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are leading a secondary that is playing out of its mind. Poyer had 10 tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Hyde forced a fumble on John Ross and more impressively came all the way up from his secondary position pre-snap on a play to re-adjust Kevin Johnson on a play he’d ultimately get a sack on. This defense is just in sync. Hardly does any one player stick out on the stat sheet. They just work cohesively as a unit. There is no ego. They face a real test this week in New England. Pass it, and I am ready to call this defense elite.

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Micah Hyde forces a John Ross fumble and #Bills LB Matt Milano scoops it up.. Buffalo defense is excellent in the first half thus far: pic.twitter.com/WoNEj8QXuv

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Jordan Poyer predicting the future. “I told him [Tre’Davious White] in the second half, I said hey you’re gonna make the play that changes the game right here.” @J_poyer21 @WGRZ @TheBillsMafia #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/RJQxoFgMOl

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Dude, Micah Hyde single-handedly got Kevin Johnson that sack. He hurried KJ to flip sides and then he got home!#BillsMafia #GoBills #ManFree

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The defense has allowed 17 or fewer points and less than 400 yards of offense in all 3 games, and the offense is ranked in the mid-teens in most categories. That’s a sustainable model to make the playoffs

Hello Dawson Knox

We mused on our podcast over the summer that the Bills probably wouldn’t ask their Tight Ends to do much this year, but that Dawson Knox has the athletic upside to develop into something special. Both of those things appear to be the case. Knox came into this game with only one catch in each of the first two games and broke out today with three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. He also chipped in a 9 yard run on a jet sweep. However, he has a long way to go. He dropped a key pass last week and another this week early. Games like today will probably be an outlier… for now. Knox has an upper-echelon NFL Tight End ceiling.

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First career TD for Dawson Knox! 🙌#GoBills | #CINvsBUF pic.twitter.com/QIjoT73UMe

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Dawson Knox on the jet sweep. #Bills pic.twitter.com/lWcZKZ47xo

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Dawson Knox. You love to see it. #CINvsBUF | #GoBills pic.twitter.com/ovMqiUTmZN

Josh Allen’s Up & Down Day

Josh Allen finished the day a respectable 23/36 for 243 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 pick. That is now 8 straight 200 yard games for Allen who is now is still in search for 300. Let’s breakdown his day;

Positives:

Allen likely could have had a better day today if it weren’t for some struggles from his playmakers. Allen made some extraordinary throws under duress due to his struggling offensive line. He kept his eyes down the field at all times, connecting on some big plays outside the pocket. Drops by Sweeney, Knox, Brown, and a fumble by Yeldon either took away a big play or killed a drive. Last season the Bills didn’t win when Allen attempted 30 or more passes, this year they’re 3-0. He is progressing.

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On 2nd & 13, Josh Allen’s awareness and superior athleticism allows him to evade defenders and find an open Dawson Knox for a 17 yard gain and another 1st down #Bills #Bengals pic.twitter.com/hFg6KaY9yo

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That’s a nice little throw by Allen on the run in what was a gutsy call to go for the 2 point conversion in 1st quarter. #Bills #Bengals pic.twitter.com/4zmSEzmFGL

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One of my fav plays: 👇It’s 3rd & 6, still scoreless… Josh Allen stands tall in pocket and throws this PERFECT laser up the seam to Zay Jones for 23 yards and a 1st down. Tack on another 15 for roughing the passer, and Bills end up scoring a TD two plays later.

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On 3rd & 17 Josh Allen had no interest in the two open checkdowns available near line of scrimmage. Instead, he extends the play and delivers a tight window throw to John Brown for 27 yards and a 1st down. #Bills #Bengals pic.twitter.com/uL4ctzU6nH

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Mike Vick in Madden 04 or Josh Allen in real life?? pic.twitter.com/AJr6JYxV4Q

Negatives:

“Hero-Ball” reared it’s ugly head as Josh Allen let a dead and buried Bengals team back into the game with his poor decision that led to a Darius Phillips interception. Allen did not have a good third quarter. For the first time all season, he looked shook. He was not poised, stared down receivers, just looked downright uncomfortable. Allen rebounded in the fourth quarter, leading his 5th comeback of his short 15 game career. Maybe he has the “clutch gene”.

Enough With The Designed QB Runs

The Bills ran A LOT of designed quarterback runs today. Personally, I am not a fan. You do not want your quarterback taking those kinds of shots. Allen was walloped on multiple occasions. Allen makes the best plays with his feet organically. Send his receivers deep, push the secondary back, give him the option to throw, and if it isn’t open let him make some runs off the cuff.

Offensive Line Struggles

Allen was hurried on just about half of his drop-backs this game. If it was a typical quarterback back there, the offense would not have been able to muster the drives to score enough points to win this game. Cody Ford once again started the game at Right Tackle and was WORKED. It wasn’t until a Jon Feliciano injury that Ford transitioned inside and Nsekhe took over on the outside. It still wasn’t great, but it was better. The Bills still have a lot of growth to do up front.

Where Should Our Expectations Be?

The Bills opponents this season are a combined 1-8. It would be 0-9 if not for a missed Tampa Bay field goal as time expired to give the Giants their first win. I will not ever tell a fan how to feel about their team. Personally, I am cautiously optimistic. I will enjoy this ride for however long it may last. This game against the Patriots will be a great test.

Greg Tompsett of Cover 1|Buffalo, Ryan Lasal of Rochester Sports Network and myself had a great dialogue on the subject of expectations on Twitter. Check it out below (Read the full thread);

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Imagine how much better their record would be if these first 3 games had been won more sustainably

Fun Facts

The Bills second half struggles are Jerry Sullivan, Mike Schopp, Sal Maiorana, and John Wawrow’s little blue pill.

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Thus far, Josh Allen putting the ball in jeopardy for the fourth time comes back to bite him.A dreadful interception gives #Bengals new life, with Andy Dalton strolling in for 1-yard TD to cut #Bills lead to 14-7.Miscues by Buffalo’s offense is keeping Cincinnati in the game.

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That was definitely not Josh Allen’s fault. Nope.

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The “great” Buffalo defense needs to do something right here

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It is utterly unbelievable that this is a 14-7 game. Wait, check that – I’ve covered the Bills for 30-plus years. It really isn’t all that unbelievable

Sean McDermott after a SALTY Jerry Sullivan asked him what he told his team in the locker room;

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Sean McDermott tends to keep it cool in his press conferences. He was still fired up when he got to the podium long after the game ended.”It’s great to have heart, isn’t it?!” pic.twitter.com/bRuKhvBnuS

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First time my wife has heard Mike Schopp on WGR and age says “he’s an asshole, why do people bother calling into his show”. My wife is spot on. #Bills #WGR

Marcel Louis-Jacques is the Anti-Rodak…

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Something we didn’t see during a pair of home team duds at MetLife Stadium – even deep into the 3Q, there doesn’t seem to be an empty spot in this stadium pic.twitter.com/fMyZUMPZYe

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Final Thought… Let’s Hope Next Week Doesn’t End Like This…

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OH NO SOMEONE TAUGHT BILLS MAFIA ABOUT EXPLOSIVES (via IG/jmccarthy6) pic.twitter.com/asFHKE3uxz

Almost Forgot…

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Check out The Bills Guys Podcast on the Buffalo Fanatics Podcasting Network for more thoughts from myself and my Co-Host Dave Tilton.

Comment below!