I feel like a broken record after saying this four weeks in a row, but a win is a win. It wasn’t the prettiest on Sunday at Highmark Stadium, weather wise or offensive wise, but the Buffalo Bills did what they had to to beat the New York Jets, 20-12. More importantly, the Bills are still in the driver’s seat in the AFC after winning their fourth game in a row, improving their record to 10-3.
To make it even better, the Los Angeles Chargers took down the Miami Dolphins, 23-17, on Sunday Night Football to drop the Dolphins’ record to 8-5 just days before coming up to cold and snowy Buffalo. I guess the heaters used out in LA weren’t enough to warm up Miami’s offense.
Before we get into more of that and the rematch of the year for the Buffalo Bills, let’s first talk about what happened against the Jets; what went right, what went wrong, and how the Bills can clean up their game ahead of Saturday Night Football.
The Bills scored the first points of the game, but they didn’t come until there were 26 seconds left in the first half. That was when QB Josh Allen found TE Dawson Knox for a 24-yard TD pass where Knox leaped and then flipped into the end zone, doing his best Josh Allen impression.
The Jets opened the second half with a 10-play, 72-yard scoring drive that resulted in a Zonovan Knight 13-yard rushing TD five minutes into the third quarter. Not even three minutes later, Josh Allen capped off a six-play, 75-yard drive with a five-yard rushing TD of his own. Following a Tyler Bass extra point, the Bills led 14-7 with 7:20 left in the third.
It seemed like the game had finally started to pick up, but that would be the final touchdown scored on the day (for either team). The Bills kicked two field goals while the Jets kicked one and had a safety, bringing the final score to 20-12. So, if you take away those (approximately) 10 minutes of scoring touchdowns, the score was 6-5… not ideal. However, the Bills defense created two crucial turnovers, had four sacks, and forced the Jets to punt seven times, securing the win.
What They Said
After the game, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott started his press conference by saying that it was good to get a win, especially in the division, but there is still a lot to clean up. He mentioned Tyler Bass first, saying how he thought that Bass handled the tough conditions very well, and then talked about the defense and offense.
“The defense really stepped up, played a physical ballgame, took the ball away, and was able to seal the game down the stretch there. And then the offense, I thought, got into a rhythm before half… Dorse and the offensive staff made some adjustments and then we started clicking a little bit there.”McDermott on his team’s performance
McDermott then made sure to thank the fans who, once again, packed the stadium in bad weather conditions.
”I thought also that the crowd was outstanding. Great atmosphere in Buffalo here, and you can tell how important this is to the fans. So, [it was] great to hear them like we did today.”McDermott on Bills Mafia
A lot was made after the game about DE Greg Rousseau, who had big shoes to fill in Von Miller’s absence, and LB Matt Milano, who only practiced Friday in a limited fashion. (Milano missed the first Jets game, while Rousseau left that game with an injury.) McDermott said that it all comes down to their preparation.
“They were prepared all week, and that’s really where it started. They were getting themselves in the right mindset [and] they were putting the time in to come out and play with that type of fire. It was fun to watch.”McDermott on Rousseau and Milano
Rousseau finished the day with two sacks, a forced fumble, a TFL and a pass defended. Meanwhile, Milano led the Bills with nine tackles, two passes defended and a fumble recovery. DEs A.J. Epenesa and Shaq Lawson had the other two sacks for the Bills, while S Damar Hamlin forced the fumble that Milano recovered and DT DaQuan Jones recovered the one that Rousseau forced.
As for CB Kaiir Elam, who was active but didn’t play a week after being inactive, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said on Monday that they wanted to get him in on Sunday, but based on the way the game progressed and how well they thought CB Dane Jackson was playing, they elected to keep Jackson in.
Frazier said that, moving forward, the Bills want to work Elam into the rotation again, assuming CB Tre White continues to play the majority of the snaps. (White and Jackson each played 100% of the snaps Sunday.)
As for the offense, the Buffalo Bills had their fewest total yards of the season (232) and most punts (7). They did not turn the ball over (unless you consider punts turnovers), but had many dropped passes and penalties that killed drives, going just 2/13 on third down conversions.
Josh Allen completed 16 of 27 passes for 147 yards and a TD. Outside of his rushing stats (10 carries, 47 yards and a TD), the Bills running backs combined for just 48 yards on 13 carries. Allen agreed with a reporter during his post game press conference that it was a tough day to play offense, but said that the weather wasn’t that out of the ordinary for this time of year and that they’ve practiced and played in it before.
”We just have to find a way to be better.”Allen on the offense
It is worth noting that, coming into the game, the Jets had the fourth-best total defense in the league. They had the sixth-best pass defense, were 12th against the run, and gave up the sixth-fewest points at just over 18 per game.
Allen said that the fourth down play where Knox got LB C.J. Mosley to jump offsides is one that they’ve worked on every Saturday for the last 11-12 weeks.
“Guys doing their jobs… He gets a guy to jump offsides and ends with a touchdown… He ran a heck of a route and made a heck of a superman, heroic performance-type dive there to get in. So again, guys just want to win football games here.”Allen on Knox
Knox said that Allen can pull off the leaps and the hurdles a little cleaner than he can.
“I gotta learn how to go off of one foot, I think I went off of two. But anytime you can try to be like Josh, good things happen… when I saw a couple of guys at the goal line I was like ‘I gotta get in,’ so I just took off hoping for the best.”Knox on his flip
Knox signed a four-year, $53.6 million contract back in September, making him the sixth-highest paid NFL tight end by total value. However, he has seen his production decrease this season, as the Buffalo Bills have been using him in different ways. Knox came into yesterday’s game with just 327 yards and two TDs on 33 receptions… He caught four balls for 41 yards and a TD to lead the Bills on Sunday. He said that, while it’s been frustrating to not be catching the ball as much, he’s just happy to be helping his team win games.
“I think that frustration is going to be natural anytime you’re not directly producing like you know you can, BUT we’re winning games, so I’m happy. If I have zero catches and we’re winning games, that just means that I’m doing my job doing other things other than catching the ball.”Knox on his decreased production
Allen said that, even though they use Knox in a variety of ways, they have to try to find ways to get him the ball.
”I think every game, the flow of it’s different, incorporating different guys, trying to switch it up. He’s been doing such a good job in our run game, in our pass protection. But again, you see the type of weapon he is with the ball in his hands, so again, just finding new ways to get him the ball and allow our guys to make some plays for us.”Allen on getting Knox the ball
It’s Dolphins Week
And with that, it’s officially “Dolphins Week”. Just ask Leodis McKelvin.
Miami finds themselves two games back of the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East as of right now. A Bills win wouldn’t clinch the division title for Buffalo. However, they would be three games up on Miami with three games remaining, making it that much harder for the Dolphins to even reach the playoffs in general.
The Dolphins have lost two in a row after winning five straight. Their high-powered offense has been held in check each of the last two weeks, as they could only muster up 17 points against the 49ers and Chargers. On top of that, they only amassed 219 total yards against the Chargers Sunday night. QB Tua Tagovailoa completed just 10 of 28 passes for 145 yards and a TD.
And the best part is, they used heaters to keep warm on the sidelines… in LOS ANGELES! If 55 degrees is too cold for them, then what are they going to do Saturday night in Orchard Park when it’s 25 degrees and snowing!?
After what happened in Week 3 in Miami, give me ALL OF THE ELEMENTS Saturday night. Though this seems like a favorable matchup for the Bills, the Dolphins are still a tough team, especially when the Bills offense has been as inconsistent as it’s been. The Bills have to figure out a way to get more production on offense, whether it snows or not. Accumulating 232 total yards, punting seven times, and going 2/13 on third down is not going to cut it. Maybe having WR Cole Beasley back in the fold will help.
Saturday night should be fun. Buckle up, Bills Mafia. (It might be chilly.)
Feature Image: Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports
*All quotes came from the post game and Monday press conferences, via the Buffalo Bills YouTube channel.