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!
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!
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.
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.
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;
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.
“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);
The Bills second half struggles are Jerry Sullivan, Mike Schopp, Sal Maiorana, and John Wawrow’s little blue pill.
Sean McDermott after a SALTY Jerry Sullivan asked him what he told his team in the locker room;
Marcel Louis-Jacques is the Anti-Rodak…
Final Thought… Let’s Hope Next Week Doesn’t End Like This…
Check out The Bills Guys Podcast on the Buffalo Fanatics Podcasting Network for more thoughts from myself and my Co-Host Dave Tilton.