The Buffalo Bills lost their second game of the season Sunday in New Jersey, falling to the New York Jets 20-17, and 0-2 in the AFC East. But that’s not even the biggest concern at the moment.
The main concern in Buffalo right now is Josh Allen’s right elbow, arguably the most valuable elbow in Western New York as far as Bills Mafia is concerned, which was bent backwards on the third-to-last play of the game. Allen described it after the game as “slight pain” and that he’ll be able to “get through it.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott did not provide any further updates on Monday, saying that he’ll know more over the next 24 hours and have a better answer once they know more about the medical side of the injury.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted early Monday afternoon that the injury is more of “a situation to monitor rather than an ailment,” adding that Allen should be able to play Sunday vs. the Minnesota Vikings.
However, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen sounded some alarms three hours later (and after McDermott’s press conference) when he said that Allen is being evaluated for an elbow injury to his UCL and other “related nerves.”
So, we will just have to wait and see what the MRI says. Hopefully it’s good news that Allen threw the longest pass attempt the NFL has seen over the last six seasons just two plays later — a 69.3-yard bomb to WR Gabe Davis on 4th and 21; a pass which Davis was unable to haul in, ending the game with the three-point defeat.
What Was Said
As for the game itself, Allen had one of his worst statistical performances in years. He threw two interceptions, fumbled twice, and finished with a passer rating of 46.8.
He took all the blame during his post game press conference, as the fifth-year QB was very critical of his game.
“It’s tough to win in this league when you’re playing a good team and your quarterback plays like s**t.”Allen on his performance against the Jets
As for the interceptions, which were his seventh and eighth on the year, Allen said that he didn’t see Jets S Jordan Whitehead on the opening drive of the game.
“The d-end [John Franklin-Myers] was latched onto Dawson, I didn’t see the DB behind him, the d-end latched off, and I thought Dawson was out there by himself and obviously he wasn’t.”Allen on his first INT of the day
As for the second INT, which came after the Von Miller strip sack in the third quarter, Allen called it a “brain fart.”
Sean McDermott described those plays as non-negotiable, but knows that Allen already knows that and will correct it moving forward.
“I trust Josh, I have the ultimate trust in Josh.”McDermott on addressing Allen’s mistakes
Similar to Allen, McDermott took accountability for the loss.
“Overall, we didn’t play well enough to win today and that starts with me. So we gotta look at that and get into a better rhythm, whether it’s a better rhythm offensively or winning first downs, and then the same thing on defense.”McDermott on establishing rhythm
Speaking of the defense, the Bills had the fourth-best run defense heading into the game. However, they allowed 174 rushing yards to the Breece Hall-less Jets. New York went on a 13-play, 86-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter to take the 20-17 lead, chewing up over six minutes of clock.
“That’s something we have to seriously look at. That’s where the game starts, up front and run defense. You can’t allow a team to run the ball on you like that.”McDermott on addressing the run defense
DE Von Miller, who had two total tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble, repeatedly said that he feels as though he needs to do more.
”I didn’t do enough. There were a couple of plays where I felt like in the run, I could’ve been a little bit more effective.”Miller on his performance against the Jets
Similar to his post game presser following the Dolphins game, Miller said this is good medicine for the team.
“I still feel like it’s good medicine, I still believe in this team.”Miller on the loss
Lack of Production
Even though the Bills defense was porous, they were still able to hold the Jets to just 20 points. If this high-powered offense — which averaged just under 30 points/game heading into the game — can’t score 21 points, then that’s a problem.
More specifically, the lack of production behind WR Stefon Diggs is becoming a problem. Diggs has TRIPLE the amount of receptions than the next wide receiver on this team. Diggs has 60 receptions, followed by RB Devin Singletary (24), TE Dawson Knox (20), and WR Isaiah McKenzie (20). WR Gabe Davis only has 18 catches on 38 targets this season, giving him a 48.6% catch rate, which ranks 92nd out of 96 qualifying WRs.
The Jets and Packers played a lot of two high safeties to limit their chances of getting beat over the top by Allen’s arm. New York, surprisingly, only blitzed two times but still wreaked havoc all day long. They sacked Allen five times, picked him off twice, and forced two fumbles. All the while the Bills failed to utilize the middle of the field, insisting on running deep routes all day. They also abandoned the run game, which only saw 12 rushes for 39 yards between Singletary, James Cook, and Nyheim Hines. (Singletary got eight carries, Cook had four, Hines had none.)
McDermott is aware that this is a problem.
“We need to continue to establish the physicality of our offense, in more ways than one.”McDermott on ADDRESSING offensive physicality
Following the game, he addressed the concern of the team being too top-heavy with Diggs as WR1.
“It can’t be a one-man show, I don’t think it’s a one-man show, but there definitely needs to be more consistency from some of the other positions and putting them in position as well, and that starts with me again.”McDermott on getting other offensive players involved
Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey had similar thoughts Monday afternoon.
“That’s a cumulative effort from all of us to try and make sure that we’re staying balanced in everything that we do, whether it’s play calling, … spreading the ball around, all those different aspects.”Dorsey on offensive scheming
Riding With Their Guy
Regardless of this lull that the Bills hit over the past six quarters, the players are sticking behind their QB, who has four INTs in as many quarters.
“Our quarterback is the best quarterback in the league. To me he can’t do no wrong.”Stefon Diggs on QB1
LT Dion Dawkins sang a similar tune following the game.
“Josh is always going to put it on [himself] when it’s really not [on him]. I ride for him ‘til the end of this world… we love Josh.”Dawkins on Josh
And now we wait to hear any updates on Josh’s elbow. If he can’t go this Sunday, it’ll be backup QB Case Keenum starting against his former team. On the bright side, he and Diggs already have chemistry from the Minneapolis Miracle in the 2018 playoffs.
Hopefully the Buffalo Bills don’t need a miracle and Allen will be back sooner rather than later.
*All player quotes come from the postgame and/or Monday afternoon press conferences (via the Buffalo Bills YouTube channel).
Featured Image: Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media