For week one of the Buffalo Bills Madden Sim, the Buffalo Bills played against the division rival New York Jets at New Era Field. Behind a huge game by Josh Allen and stout performance by the Bills defense, the Bills got their season off to a good start winning 31-21. Here are seven observations and a recap of what went down on Sunday.
1. Josh Allen lights it up
Going into 2020 the Bills are expecting their passing offense to take a huge step forward. After one game of the Madden simulation, it looks like this could be true. Allen was absolutely on fire to start the game, as he went 10/10 on passing attempts. He had several dimes including a perfect throw off a play-action pass in the third quarter, as he found John Brown streaking across the secondary in the end zone. Allen would finish the day 38/44 for 419 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions (we’ll get into that later). This game also marked the first time in Allen’s career that he threw from more the 300 yards in a game. It was a good start for Allen in 2020.
2. Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers
This game was defined by turnovers. Early in the game Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was intercepted by Bills cornerback Josh Norman, as the savvy veteran high pointed the football over wide receiver Quincy Enunwa. However, on the next possession, Allen tossed one up into double coverage into the end zone which was easily picked off by cornerback Brian Poole. The Bills would turn the ball over on three consecutive drives as Allen got crushed on a blindside hit which he fumbled from, and later on another interception thrown by Allen. However, Darnold would throw an interception following Allen’s fumble to linebacker Matt Milano. On top of all of that, Devin Singletary also lost a fumble in this game. Both teams would combine for seven turnovers in this game.
3. The Bills defensive line gets after Darnold
A huge reason why the Jets were unable to cash in many of the Bills turnovers has to do with the play of the defensive line. The Bills sacked Darnold five times as Ed Oliver and Quinton Jefferson got to him twice and rookie A.J. Epenesa got to Darnold once for his first career sack. Epenesa also forced a fumble. It was a long day for Darnold. Outside of some garbage time touchdowns, he had a very tough day moving the ball against the Bills defensive front. In general, the Bills defense was rock solid holding the Jets offense to just 241 yards and 13 first downs.
4. The Bills running game struggled
A huge piece of what the Bills want to do offensively in 2020 is to run the football, but they struggled against the Jets defense. Singletary finished with just 47 yards on 16 carries, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, including a fumble. Rookie Zack Moss didn’t fare much better as he had only 14 yards on 5 carries. The Bills finished with just 65 rushing yards on the day, something head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll would like to improve on.
5. Stefon Diggs and John Brown each have a big game
It had to be a welcomed sight for Bills fans as both John Brown and Stefon Diggs had their way with the Jets secondary. Diggs was huge early in the game. He had over 100 yards by halftime, including 4 catches for 78 yards in the first quarter alone. He finished the game with 8 receptions for 150 yards, placing him number one in the NFL for receiving yards through week one in the simulation. Number two in the NFL is John Brown, who also had a big game. Brown was Allen’s go-to-guy in the second half. He finished the game with 7 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. Although a small sample size, this game shows just how much of a handful it is to shut down this Bills passing attack with two extremely talented receivers on both sides.
6. Dawson Knox has a big outing too
It wasn’t just Diggs and Brown who had big games for the Bills, as the second-year tight end, Dawson Knox was a mismatch all day for the Jets defense. He was a problem underneath, over the middle, and in the red zone. Knox finished the day with a team-high 13 receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Recently John Brown said that Knox is the guy to watch for in 2020, and so far in the Madden sim, he’s not wrong.
7. Confidence in Tyler Bass
In his debut, Sean McDermott has a lot of confidence in rookie kicker Tyler Bass. Bass was 4/4 on his extra-point attempts and made one field goal as well. However, late in fourth quarter coach McDermott sent out the rookie kicker to attempt a 61-yard field goal. Bass nearly made the kick as it fell just short, bouncing off of the crossbar. The decisions shows that Buffalo has got a ton of confidence in their young kicker and his ability to kick from long distance.
The Bills (1-0) will take on the (0-1) New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium next week. Below is a recap and the entire game for those who missed it.
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder