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Complementary football helps Bills return to their winning ways

Matt Breida (22). Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, November 14, 2021. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes
Matt Breida (22). Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, November 14, 2021. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes

After a wake-up call in Week 9, the Buffalo Bills were able to bounce back on Sunday at the Meadowlands with a 45-17 win against the New York Jets. 

The Bills proved that they could overcome adversity and correct the mistakes which cost them a week ago. On offense, the team had 489 total net yards with the most team rushing yards since Week 4 of this season. To complement that, the Bills defense had five takeaways and held the Jets to 3-13 on third-down conversions. 

"I think it says a lot about this football team," team captain Jordan Poyer said. "Just the way we came back and bounced back after last week, not just the secondary, not just the defense, but our entire football team came ready to play today."

The Bills defense continued their hot streak on Sunday against the Jets. All of the Bills starting defensive backs had a takeaway, which marked the first time since at least 1967 that five Bills defensive backs had done so in a single game. Ed Oliver made many impact plays with Star Lotulelei's absence and Efe Obada recorded his first sack as a Bill. 

The defense continued to feed off each other's energy. They forced the Jets to have four consecutive drives end in a turnover. Taron Johnson got the party started with an interception in the first quarter, followed by Micah Hyde, who forced and recovered a fumble right before halftime. Then in the first three drives of the second half, Tre'Davious White, Levi Wallace and Jordan Poyer all came away with interceptions for Buffalo's defense. 

Even with all the success, AJ Klein thinks the defense missed on some opportunities.

"I don't think I've been part of a team that's had each member get a turnover," Klein stated. "And the crazy part is we left another, probably, two out there. I had mine earlier in the game and I know Matt [Milano] got his hand on the ball. It just shows that what we're doing in practice is translating to the field on game day. We've just got to keep that rolling. We've got to get our turnovers back up because when we play well as a defense, we win."

Consistent defensive play has been a key element for the Bills this season. They go into every game focusing on taking away the big play for the opposing team and taking the ball away as well. With five takeaways on Sunday, the Bills now have 24 through the first nine games of the season – their most since having 29 in 1993. 

Last week, Hyde thought that there wasn't enough team balance when it came to all three phases of the football. On Sunday, Hyde praised the complementary style of football that the team played and is proud of his teammates for bouncing back strong and earning this win. 

"Same mentality this week as last week," Hyde said. "We just went into the game, and we knew if we played good ball, from the offense, defense and special teams, like we preach each and every week, we're gonna have some opportunities on the defense to take the ball away."

All those takeaways allowed the Bills offense to capitalize on a shorter field and score more points. Today marked the Bills' third game this season with 40+ points which ties a team single-season record (also had 3 games with 40+ points in 1992 and 2020). Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs both connected early and often with Diggs having eight receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown. That's the most yards that Diggs has put up in a single game as a member of the Buffalo Bills. 

Allen said after the game that they are focused on having balanced emotions, improving every week, and stacking wins. They got back in the win column on Sunday and now they want to make it a winning streak. 

"We got some true veteran guys, true professionals that care about each other, and care about their craft," Allen said. "That's just one thing that we're not gonna do as a team is ride this roller coaster of 'We're the worst team to ever play, now we're the best team to ever play' – we're gonna stay consistent, steady and come into work each and every day and again try to put our best foot forward every Sunday, Monday, or Thursday that we play."

Mitch Morse is glad to see Matt Breida making the most of opportunities

The Bills made more of an effort to get the ground game going against the Jets. Matt Breida played his part in that. After not being active on gameday since Week 2, Breida had three rushes for 28 yards, a rushing touchdown, with three receptions, and a receiving touchdown. Breida, along with Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and Isaiah McKenzie all had rushing touchdowns on Sunday. It marked Buffalo's first road game with four or more rushing touchdowns since Nov. 28, 2004 at Seattle (4) and marked the first time in team history that four different players rushed for touchdowns. 

Center Mitch Morse was happy to see Breida in the lineup on Sunday. 

"That's one of my favorite dudes," Morse said. "He comes into work and probably doesn't play as much as he'd like but he's a fantastic teammate and he runs hard. We see that in practice, and we saw that in the preseason, and we see that in games. I love Matt Breida and we love all our running backs. We feel real comfortable with who we have back there."

Sean McDermott on Ed Oliver's performance

Ed Oliver has become a quiet force for this Bills defense. He has become a disrupter against the run and the pass – even if it doesn't show on the stat sheet. The Bills coaches have spoken highly of Oliver's development this season and he is showing that he can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. While he still doesn't have his first sack of the season, he has gotten close and is putting more hits on the quarterback. Oliver had three QB Hits against the Jets, which is the most he's had in a single game in his career. Coach McDermott can see that hard work start to pay off for the defensive lineman. 

"Very happy with the way he's developing, with room to go still," McDermott said. "And I think he senses that. He's seeing the fruits of his labor, the fruits of his approach, and the work that he's putting in. He's seeing it pay off and when you're bringing a young player along that's exciting and fun to watch at the same time."