The Buffalo Bills Outsider: Everything is Awesome
Go on, admit it. When Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to 10 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter, you panicked. You were thinking back to Week 3 when the Bills gave up a big lead and let the Rams come back and nearly win. You were thinking about narrow wins over the hapless Jets and the neutered Patriots, and you kept telling yourself, “I don’t think we’re good enough to beat Seattle.” You knew what was coming: Russ was gonna cook. The Bills were going to make a costly mistake. Buffalo was going to blow it.
But then they didn’t.
Instead, Josh cooked, and the Bills defense feasted. They kept scoring and made several huge defensive plays, none bigger than AJ Klein’s strip-sack. Quite frankly, they did something no other team has been able to do this year: they frustrated Russell Wilson. Sure, he passed for a season-best 390 yards, but that hardly tells the story. McDermott and Leslie Frazier kept the pressure on Russ all afternoon. The Bills sacked Wilson five times, knocked him down 11 times, and were in his face on the majority of his 41 pass attempts. Most importantly, the Bills pass rushers showed fantastic lane integrity all afternoon, which kept Wilson from escaping the pocket and breaking a few long runs. It was just a great all-around performance in all three phases of the game.
Everything is awesome.
Three Unbiased Opinions
1) Josh Allen is a top 5 QB in the league…and he’s better than Lamar Jackson.
It’s not even a question. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers are the only QBs I’d currently place ahead of Josh Allen. I’m not sure if this is a hot take, but Josh Allen, right now, is superior to Lamar Jackson. In fact, it’s not close. Jackson is likely the most breathtaking athlete in the league, but teams have figured out how to play him. He hasn’t developed enough as a passer to take over a game with his arm. Allen has. He’s done it multiple times already this season. If he continues playing as he has through the first nine games, Josh Allen will be in the MVP discussion.
2) The schedule doesn’t look so daunting anymore.
The Bills remaining schedule looked really tough a few weeks ago. With wins over New England and Seattle, all of a sudden the rest of the slate doesn’t seem so bad. The big one is obviously the game against the 8-0 Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re really good, but I’m not yet convinced that they’re great. The Steelers have had one dominant performance, that being the 38-7 drubbing of the Browns. Their other seven wins have been by an average of 6.1 points, with close games against the Broncos, Giants, Texans, and Cowboys (those teams are currently a combined 9-25 on the season). Arizona is having a nice season, but they’re very beatable. The 49ers are a MASH unit. Other than Pittsburgh, the toughest remaining game might be the Week 17 finale against the Dolphins. Anything less than 11-5 would have to be considered a disappointment.
3) The importance of Brown and Edmunds
There seems to be two clear reasons the Bills have been struggling, and it became clear in Sunday’s game. The Bills offense is a different animal with John Brown healthy. Diggs, Brown, and Beasley complement each other so perfectly well. When one of them is missing, it affects the rest of the passing game. The biggest play of the game came early in the 4th quarter. The Seahawks had cut the lead to seven, and a sack had put the Bills in a 3rd and 16, just on the edge of field goal range. Brian Daboll called a quick WR screen to Brown, which was a perfect play call to attack the Seahawks blitz. Any other receiver likely would have gotten a first down, but Brown’s acceleration and quickness allowed him to get all the way down the two-yard line. The Bills would pad their lead on the next play. On the defensive side of the ball, Tremaine Edmunds played like one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Coming into Sunday, it’s fair to say he’d underperformed this season. You have to wonder if that was due to some of the injuries he’s been playing through. What I saw yesterday looked like a fully healthy Edmunds, which is great news for the Bills. It’s no coincidence that his improvement made the entire defense look like a completely different unit than the one that we’ve seen for the past several weeks.
One last thing…
There have been rumors floating around on Twitter that I am secretly becoming a Buffalo Bills fan. I’ve denied these rumors in the past, and I feel the need to address them again. As I sat in my man cave yesterday, I had the Lions/Vikings game on the big screen and the Bills/Seahawks game streaming on my computer. This is my typical Sunday afternoon set up. While both games were in the 4th quarter, my 7-year-old daughter came down and asked if she could watch something. Normally, my answer would be “Go ask your mom if she can turn off that Hallmark Christmas movie, so you can watch Disney channel.” But yesterday, that wasn’t my answer. I handed my little girl the remote to the TV. I kept the laptop streaming the Bills. The Lions were replaced by Fancy Nancy.
I’ve been doing some soul searching today to see what this means. To be continued …