Ah, week three. What a week! Steelers lose. Bucs lose. Jets, Patriots, and Dolphins lose. And the defending AFC Champion Chiefs are now 1-2, a below-500 mark they have not seen in a number of years. Oh … and the Buffalo Bills dominated.
At the beginning of every season, there is room for panic, doubt, questions, etc. Will Josh Allen regress now that he’s been paid? Will Beane hit on some legit pass rushing talent in the draft, or will we continue struggling getting to the QB? And was last season a fluke, something to treasure like the 2017 Jag-u-ars, or was the success in the Niagara region the beginning of a welcome trend?
Some of these questions were answered on Sunday. Some were not. But, for now, here are 10 things I think I think:
1.) 2021 Josh Allen has arrived
Alright Nick Wright, you turd. Shove that fabulous Allen game in your pipe and smoke it. Many coming into this season doubted that Allen would repeat his success from 2020, including myself to a degree. It’s always dangerous when a player gets the bag after one amazing season (though Allen was solid in 2019), but on Sunday, Allen’s play was reminiscent of his 2020 campaign. He looked confident in the pocket, his footwork was pristine, and he showed no hesitation in dicing up a good Washington defense for 5 TDs, 367 total yards, with a 74% completion percentage and no turnovers. Josh is back, baby! And I’d be shocked if this isn’t the guy we see all season.
2.) The offensive line stood tall against a talented WFT D-Line
Part of the key to Allen’s success on Sunday was the play of the offensive line, especially Daryl Williams. Williams has been the butt of much criticism of late, but on Sunday, he handled premier-pass-rusher Chase Young, keeping him to zero sacks and only one QB hit. Allen looked comfortable in the pocket for the first time this season, and Williams just used Young’s momentum against him all game long, pushing him past Allen, giving the young gunslinger a lane to throw. Washington’s first round defensive line finished the game with zero sacks total. Yes, some chipping was done by tight ends and running backs to help the line, but this was a top-tier effort by an (up until this point) struggling Bills offensive line.
3.) Zack Moss is the guy at running back?
Both Singletary and Moss have shown a propensity to put the ball on the ground this season. Both have had good games, but Moss had the hot hand against the Football Team. Moss finished the game with 60 yards on 13 carries (4.6 YPC) and three receptions for 31 yards and a TD. Singletary, on the other hand, struggled mightily through this game, averaging only 2.4 YPC on 11 carries. It’s possible that the WFT keyed on Singletary as the primary rusher. I’m not sure, but Moss was the guy today, and he did not look fun to tackle. I don’t think this is Moss’s job now, as some are arguing, but it’s nice that Buffalo finally has that one-two combination to keep defenders on their heels! Speaking of …
4.) Brian Daboll has been studying yoga in his free time
Condolences to Brian Daboll and his family on their loss last week. It was commendable how prepared he and his offense were, given the circumstances. And this was by far the best game plan Daboll has drawn up this season. He’s learning balance, and on Sunday, the Bills ran the ball 33 times for 122 yards. Teams can’t just key on the passing game with Allen by himself in the backfield. No, the offense was versatile, and though the run game wasn’t exactly gashing this Washington front, it did enough to make play action work and keep the linebackers in check. Nice work, Dabes!
5.) SMU was well-represented on Sunday
So, Cole Beasley ran onto the field yesterday like he was injected with … energy. Beasley and Allen paired to carve up the middle of the Washington defense with 11 catches for 98 yards on 13 targets. His fellow SMU running mate, Emmanuel Sanders, had his coming out game, and showed that old man strength on his experienced young corner foe. Sanders and Allen seemed to finally gel, and Sanders finished the game with five catches for 94 yards and two TDs on only six targets! Damn. Allen and the boys were dealing. Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs (not of SMU) had a rather ho-hum statistical line with six catches for 62 yards on ten targets, but Diggs was active, throwing blocks all over the field and making catches in the big moments. Exciting stuff here!
6.) I’m not worried about our tight end room
OK, so I’ve not exactly been a Dawson Knox stan. He’s had issues with his hands since he’s joined the team, and despite some amazing moments, often disappears for long stretches. But this season, Knox seems to be taking a step up. He looks confident and strong, and that back shoulder throw and catch to the end zone was Rodgers-esque. Knox went 4 for 49 and a TD on five targets, and he and Tommy F—ing Sweeney did the dirty work to help keep Allen upright. Also, Sweeney had two catches on two targets. Just saying … might want to get that gold jacket ready! #SweeneysWeenies
7.) What happened to that vaunted pass rush?
So, Taylor “Shitty foreign beer” Heinicke(n) did not exactly feel the wrath of the Bills new vaunted pass rush. Frazier chose to mainly rush four and keep Heinicke in the pocket, and the defensive line struggled to even pressure the pint-sized passer. Buffalo finished the game with one sack (from Star) and only two QB hits. This was not an excellent showing if Bills Mafia wants to be able to rush just four. I know many were hoping for a blitz-happy 46 approach like last week, but Frazier kept it simple, played coverage, and gave ol’ Heinicke nowhere to throw. He finished the game going 14/24 for 212 yards passing, but continually struggled to find the open man. He also made a few mistakes …
8.) Winning the turnover battle truly is the key
The Buffalo defense has been getting turnovers by the boatload this season, and on Sunday, the Bills baited Heinicke into throwing two (almost three or more) bad interceptions. Also, Tre White did his best peanut punch on TE Logan Thomas, leading to another turnover. This Buffalo defense has shown itself able to attack offensive game plans in a myriad of ways, and Frazier is working some magic. If this defensive effort continues, well … you know ….
9.) Matt Milano for President, 2024
Not only is Matt Milano the third-most handsome guy on the team (behind Emmanuel Sanders and noted ladies man, Tommy Sweeney), but he has been absolutely on fire this season. The man looks like Thomas Davis or Lance Briggs in their prime: flying around, making every tackle, and somehow always on top of the ball. Thus far this season, if the Bills had an MVP, it would be Milano, and if he can stay healthy this season (*Adam feverishly knocks on wood*), you’re looking at an all-pro player.
10.) Special teams was a bit bipolar on Sunday
Special Teams … what can I say? On a windy day, Tyler Bass was brilliant, and Matt Haack, despite his slow delivery, had some beauties on Sunday, punting the Team down to the one-yard line thanks to the excellent play and position of Siran Neal. McKenzie, well, did not have his best game. He muffed a kickoff, almost looking like he was trying to fair catch it, which led to some Washington points, and on another return, lil Dirty ran into his own man. I like McKenzie, and he added to the offensive attack, but it’s possible he may be feast or famine this season based on what we’ve seen so far.
Thanks y’all for reading! If you have any questions, comments, or violent disagreements, you are welcome to hit me up with a funny gif at @adamnannini
The Bills are now atop the AFC East. Let me ask you something: where else would you rather be?