Rather than focusing on the obvious, I want to take a look at four plays that have flown “under the radar” en route to helping the Bills get off to their 3-0 start. For example, Josh Allen’s clutch escape from the pocket and throw to John Brown (for a key 3rd down conversion) during the 4th quarter of the Giants game will not be on this list…neither will the game-winning touchdown to Brown in the Jets game.
Please comment on Twitter or Facebook with your favorite under the radar plays from the Bills first three games!
1st Down: Zay Jones 20 yard reception in the 4th quarter of the Jets game (4:27)
After the Bills scored a field goal late in the 3rd quarter, their comeback continued in the early stages of the 4th quarter. Josh Allen led the team on a huge 85-yard drive, capped with his own rushing touchdown. On the ensuing drive, the Bills held the Jets to a modest six-play drive that only covered 19 yards. After a Jets punt, the Bills took over on their own 20 yard line trailing by six points, with just over six minutes left in the game.
The Bills were able to make a first down early in the drive thanks to a nice designed run for Josh Allen. On the ensuing play, Josh Allen made a beautiful over the shoulder touch throw to Cole Beasley, which was dropped. At that moment, I couldn’t help but feel the Bills were destined to lose the game.
Everything changed on the very next play…With the Bills at their own 36 yard line, Josh Allen dropped back, and with excellent protection, rifled a throw to diving Zay Jones for a hugely important 20 yard gain. The play moved the Bills into Jets territory, on a drive that ultimately resulted in the Allen to Brown game winning touchdown (well, I guess I did find a way to mention this play after all).
2nd Down: John Brown 15 yard reception in the 2nd quarter of the Giants game (11:18)
The Bills showed a lot of resolve after the Giants marched down the field on an incredibly efficient seventy-five yard drive to open the game. After answering the Giants touchdown with two straight touchdowns of their own, the Bills found themselves pinned deep in their own territory (their own 2 yard line to be exact) thanks to an amazing effort by Giants punt gunner Antonio Hamilton. With the Bills only up by 7 points at this stage in the game, a punt or worse from deep in their own territory would likely have set up the Giants for at least three points.
Frank Gore drove ahead for a meager one-yard gain on the first play of the series, giving the Bills the slightest bit of breathing room. On the next play, Josh Allen faked to Frank Gore, dropped back and for his first read he looked right. When he didn’t like that option, he calmly looked to his left, stepped up, and delivered a perfect strike to John Brown down the left boundary. The protection from the offensive line on the play was solid, and it moved the Bills all the way out to their own 18 yard line. From there, the Bills proceeded to march down the field, aided by a huge 51-yard pass play to Cole Beasley. They would find the end zone later in the drive, which ultimately gave them a two touchdown lead.
3rd Down: Zay Jones 23 yard reception in the 1st quarter of the Bengals game (4:20)
As I was thinking of which plays I wanted to include in this week’s piece, I found myself wanting to give a little love to Zay Jones. For that reason, his name is appearing twice in this list. Although he has been lacking volume in the passing game, Zay has been on the receiving end of a few very important throws from Josh Allen. With that said, almost all of the credit on this play has to go to Josh Allen, outside of Zay actually catching the pass. After both teams had punted twice to open the game, the Bills finally found some rhythm on offense during their third drive.
After crossing midfield, Allen and the offense found themselves in a 3rd & 6 situation…and likely facing another punt if they didn’t convert. Allen dropped back, stood tall in the pocket, and with nothing but pure arm strength (as his legs were being cut out from under him), zipped a pass to Jones over the middle for a huge 23 yard gain. On top of the completion, the Bills were afforded an extra 11 yards via penalty, due to the low hit made on Allen. Two plays later the Bills would go on to score their first touchdown of the game.
4th Down: Cole Beasley’s two-point conversion in the 1st quarter of the Bengals game (3:07)
It may not seem like much, but the two-point conversion play from Josh Allen to Cole Beasley was one of the biggest plays of the game in my opinion. The penalty allowing the Bills to move from the two yard line to the one yard line showcased a possible shift in mindset from Sean McDermott. Rather than kicking the extra point, McDermott played the odds, knowing the likelihood of converting from the one yard line is greater than 70%. The Bills were successful on the attempt and it gave them an early 8-0 lead in the game.
The Bills were only able to score one other touchdown throughout the course of the game, but still managed to put up 21 points thanks to the two point conversion. As Frank Gore plowed ahead for a go-ahead touchdown, the Bills found themselves with a four point lead as opposed to three. Given the circumstances, the Bills defense was satisfied allowing the Bengals to complete underneath plays on their final drive, knowing Andy Dalton had to lead his team to a touchdown to win the game. With the clock working against them, Dalton ultimately threw the game sealing interception on a tipped ball that landed in the arms of Tre White.