I’m still licking my wounds from the butt-kicking my Detroit Lions took yesterday at the hands of the NFC North’s evil empire, the Green Bay Packers. Even though you know it’s coming, it still hurts when the bully knocks you down, kicks you in the balls, and takes your lunch money. But let’s talk about the Bills. After two weeks, they’re 2-0 and alone atop the division. Yesterday’s 31-28 win over the Miami Dolphins had more than a few tense moments, but the banged-up Bills managed to get out of town with a hard-fought victory.
Here’s my outsider’s perspective:
1.) Josh Allen
Allen deserves to have this entire section to himself. No starting quarterback in the NFL has been doubted as much as Allen since he entered the league in 2018. Far less talented and less successful quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have gotten more respect than Allen. Those days may quickly be coming to an end. Through two weeks, Josh Allen has been nothing short of spectacular. Some will question the level of competition, as it’s only been the Jets and Dolphins, two teams very unlikely to make the playoffs this year. While that certainly plays a role, throwing for 400 yards and 4 TDs against any NFL team is difficult to do. Do you really think if Patrick Mahomes threw for 400 yards against the Dolphins that the national media would be questioning the competition level? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Allen’s final stat line was impeccable. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 417 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs. He added 18 yards on 4 carries, which was a welcome sight after logging 14 carries in Week 1. The numbers are great, but what’s more important are the throws he made in big-time situations in the 4th quarter. After the Dolphins took a 20-17 lead in the 4th quarter, the pressure was squarely on Allen to lead his team down the field. On the first play of the series, he throws a strike to Stefon Diggs for 47 yards. After a penalty and a sack, the Bills found themselves in a 2nd and 24 and outside of field goal range. Allen hits Beasley perfectly in stride on a crossing route, who picks up the first down. Then on 3rd and goal from the 6, Allen escapes from a near sack and finds Gabriel Davis in the back of the end zone, who makes an amazing diving catch. After the defense stopped the Dolphins and got the ball back, Allen effectively shut the door on Miami with a 46-yard bomb, again on a 3rd and long.
Simply put, Josh Allen is balling out and that is great news for the Bills.
2) Stefon Diggs
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give Diggs his due. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of trading a 1st round pick for Diggs. I was wrong. Diggs and Allen seem like a match made in heaven, and his presence on the field makes everyone around him better. If he stays healthy, he should have his best season as a pro.
3) Gabriel Davis
I predicted Davis would make his mark this year with some big 4th quarter catches. Not bad for a 1st NFL touchdown, eh?
1) No Response for FitzMagic
Ceding 28 points and over 400 yards of offense to the Miami Dolphins will leave a sour taste in the mouth of many Bills fans. It wasn’t a banner day for the defense, but clearly injuries had much to do with that. Missing Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds hurt as they’re not only two excellent players, but the linebacker position doesn’t have much depth in 2020.
2) Pass Defense
Levi Wallace is taking a lot of heat today, much of it deserved. But it’s hard to understate how much missing those two linebackers affected the Bills in coverage. Fitzpatrick was able to nickel and dime his way down the field time after time in the 2nd half. The short throws were especially frustrating, but again, get your linebackers healthy and that will make a big difference. Pass defense isn’t just about corners being able to cover. It’s about the pass rush getting pressure and the back seven playing together as a unit. The Bills are usually excellent at this and I wouldn’t panic. Maybe don’t throw Levi Wallace on the trash heap just yet.
1) Game Flow
CBS lost its signal during a power outage in Miami and the game feed was lost for several minutes. Then after halftime, there was a lightning delay. Weird stuff like that can mess with the flow of the game and the delay certainly seemed to affect the Bills in the 3rd quarter. Some days in the NFL are weird and yesterday was one of them. Dallas came back from down 15 by scoring three times in the final five minutes to shock Atlanta. The Chiefs needed OT to beat the Chargers with a rookie quarterback getting his first-ever NFL snaps. The Patriots got stuffed on the 1-yard line on the final play in Seattle. Pittsburgh got fortunate to beat a Denver team playing Jeff Driskel at QB. Sometimes, you just need to survive.
The Lions got steamrolled in Green Bay. At least some things were normal.
It’s hard to ask for much more as a Bills fan than what you’ve seen over the first two weeks: two games, two wins, first place, and a quarterback playing like an MVP. Not only that but the Buffalo Bills sport a top-five offense and a top-six defense in terms of yardage. The schedule is about to significantly tougher with the Rams, Titans, Chiefs, Patriots, and Seahawks still to come before the late November bye week. I don’t think any of those teams are going to be excited to play the Bills.
Over the next few weeks, there are sure to be some losses. Just remember, if you’re ever feeling down just repeat these words to yourself: “At least we aren’t the Detroit Lions.”