Was this the most beautiful performance in the history of the franchise? No. But, it’s a win and Bills’ fans will take that all-season long. Unfortunately, the home game verse their weakest opponent is officially over. Starting with a road game in Carolina, here comes the tough part of the schedule!
What more can you say about LeSean McCoy? He burst through holes when they were there, he made defenders miss, and he slithered for tough extra yards. McCoy also came up with one of the big plays in the game when he bailed out Tyrod Taylor on a third and long late in the third quarter. Backup Mike Tolbert showed some good quickness on inside run plays as well.
Where the Bills struggled in the ground game was on the outside on sweeps. Particularly when trying to run on the goal line with Tolbert on the initial drive of the game, the Jets easily drove through the Bills’ offensive line and knocked Tolbert back for a loss of five. That drive never recovered and ended in an interception. Fortunately for Buffalo, the Jets tackled themselves. Otherwise, that pick become six for New York.
The Bills did a poor job for the most part in getting the wide receivers involved. Taylor’s nicest throw in the game came on an in-cut to Jordan Matthews where the pass itself led Matthews to the open field for a long gain. Andre Holmes scored on the short yardage deception play and Zay Jones made a 21-yard reception early. Other than that, the outside guys did practically nothing.
The tight ends dominated Jets cover men early and often. The Jets were so focused on stopping the Bills on the run, they sometimes left Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary completely uncovered. If Clay had better hands, he would have been the star of the game statistically. Even so, he scored once and had a few other key receptions.
The offensive line had their ups and downs. Based on the defensive scheme and personnel, they did an adequate job. The Bills certainly piled up the yardage, but only 3 of their five drives deep into Jets’ territory resulted in points. The good news was all three scores were touchdowns.
At quarterback, Tyrod Taylor managed a good ball game and made some nice throws. He also understood the situation and knew when to throw the ball away. Truthfully, though, he will have to be better going forward. Future opponents are likely to score more than 12 points.
For the most part, the defense was very impressive. New York had no ground game to speak of whatsoever. This defense really flies to the ball. Lorenzo Alexander has a great motor for a 12th year guy and Ramon Humber is your prototypical fast, strong linebacker. Humber had a whopping 12 solo tackles. He is an excellent player. The only positive running play for the Jets came on a third and seven when the coaches weren’t prepared for it. Kyle Williams was a stud in the interior today as well. He never stops hustling. Indeed, this defense hustles and there is no substitute for great effort.
On the back side, the DBs were better as tacklers than they were as cover men. Micah Hyde was a real presence at safety. He is a big improvement over what we saw last season back there. Jordan Poyer was perhaps the most pleasant surprise for Buffalo. He had a sack, a pick, two passes defended and three solo tackles; not bad for a 7th round draft choice on his third team.
The Bills were very weak late in the second and third quarters on pass defense. Veteran Jermaine Kearse beat rookie Tre’Davious White a few times and the pass rush failed to hurry Jets’ veteran QB Josh McCown. When McCown had time, he was able to hit Kearse and check down to his tight end and backs for substantial gains. The Jets only touchdown came on a 4th and goal sneak. The Jets’ O-line got a good enough surge for the points.
The Bills’ only injury occurred to EJ Gaines’ shoulder. We’ll monitor his progress throughout the week.
The Jets played decently on special teams. The young kicker (Catanzaro) made two long first half field goals, the young punter nailed a clutch 4th quarter kick inside the five (Edwards) and the young return man (Raymond) had a fine return in the 4th.
The Bills got one good punt return from Brandon Tate. Other than that, the Bills were below average in the kicking game. Placekicker Stephen Hauschka missed his only attempt from 45. It had the distance but the ghost of Weeb Ewbank seemed to brush it aside at the last moment.
The Bills are 1-0 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East. They can’t do any better than that.
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 10, 2017
Brandon Fazzolari (aka Dr. Super Bowl) writes about the Buffalo Bills for Pro Football Spot. @spot_bills