The Defense Continues To Dominate
The Bills defense continued to do Sunday what it has done all year… completely neutralizing their opponents offense. While the Bills did not force any turnovers, they held the Titans to seven points, had five sacks, and quarterback Marcus Mariota was only 13/22 for 183 yards and no scores. On a rainy day, bruising running back Derrick Henry only managed 78 yards on 20 carries and the Titans lone touchdown.
The Bills defense was finally able to get to the quarterback. Jordan Phillips had a career game with three sacks, with Lorenzo Alexander and Daryl Johnson chipping in sacks as well. Shaq Lawson had a phenomenal game welcoming Taylor Lewan back after a four game suspension. Lewan left the field Sunday visibly upset, and Lawson did not mince words after.
This defense works as a cohesive unit. Outside of Phillips, no one stood out on the stat sheet. However, Tremaine Edmunds, Tre While, Levi Wallace, Micah Hyde, and Jordan Poyer are all playing at an elite level. The Bills are also getting solid contributions from the likes of Kevin Johnson, Siran Neal, and Dean Marlowe.
Sean McDermott is 19-18 thus far as the Bills Head Coach. That is pretty impressive. He may have fallen victim to some lopsided losses in his time here, but the roster was stacked against him by design. Since the Bills roster has been brought more up to league standards, McDermott is showing his true colors. He is a coach who knows what to do to keep his team in games until the 4th quarter, and in the 4th quarter he gives them a chance to make things happen to win games. McDermott has also built a culture in Buffalo not often seen in an NFL “me first” atmosphere. Here is some evidence below:
McDermott even got a little aggressive going for it on 4th down twice in the first quarter. He was successful on his first attempt and unsuccessful on take two. I like the aggression from McDermott, but I didn’t like the play-call.
Josh Allen Bounces Back
Josh Allen rebounded nicely from his career worst day in New England. Allen was 23/32 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He took what the defense gave him, hit on multiple intermediate throws, picked apart the zone coverage, and, most importantly, scored points. He made one poor decision all day trying to force a ball over the middle on third down while scrambling. Multiple factors played a role in the turnover, but at the end of the day it was a poor decision by Allen. But it was his only blemish of the day and ultimately didn’t cost the Bills.
The next step for Allen will be attempting contested catches and working the ball down the field. Allen attempted one noticeable contested catch to Dawson Knox today, and it was dropped. When players like Devin Singletary, Tyler Kroft, and Robert Foster come back from injury after the bye, things should open up for Allen down the field, and he can take more shots. To hear how the Bills can work the ball downfield more coming back from the Bye Week, tune into this week’s The Bills Guys Podcast in the Buffalo Fanatics Podcasting Network.
Four catches, 29 yards, one touchdown. That is not a crazy stat line, but boy did Duke William’s presence make the offense feel different. This kid brings a different mindset, and the quarterback had a different type of confidence in Duke Williams that just wasn’t there with Zay Jones. It was no more evident than in the red zone score. I am not going to pile on Zay Jones, but I will say this: if Duke Williams keeps this up, his roster spot is redundant. It doesn’t seem like there will be a roster spot for Zay Jones much longer.
Frank Gore did today what he was originally brought here to do. With a lead in the 4th quarter, when the Titans knew exactly what we were doing, Frank Gore protected the football and milked the clock to secure the Bills’ victory. When Singletary is back, he and Yeldon should be able to give Gore the breather he needs to be fresh and do more of this in the 4th quarter of future games.
Offensive Line Depth Tested
Kudos to Brandon Beane. Mitch Morse left the game with an ankle injury, Cody Ford left with a head injury. Ty Nsekhe was already inactive. The line struggled at times, but the Bills depth was able to buckle down and run the clock out on the Titans.
That doesn’t mean the line was perfect. Cody Ford continues to be a liability in pass protection, as is the left side of the offensive line. But it is certainly better than it was in 2018.
Bonus: Bills Mafia Overwhelms Nashville
It was estimated 25,000-35,000 of the 69,000 in attendance were Bills fans. WOW.