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Monday Morning Breakdown

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Eric Wood | 10 opinions on the Bills 1-0 start to the 2020 season

Matt Milano (58) Taron Johnson (24) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, September 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Craig Melvin
Matt Milano (58) Taron Johnson (24) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, September 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Craig Melvin

1. Bills start fast

It was a great start to the season, and to get a win against a divisional opponent but if you're at home and you're favored, you should get that win. It was also a great start to the game. The Bills defense started off strong forcing three consecutive three-and-outs. The Jets got one first down during their fourth drive, but then they had to punt, so the Bills defense smothered them early in the game. The Bills offensively had a good first drive although it ended in a fumble, they then went back-to-back-to-back drives ending in a touchdown.

2. Defense picked up where they left off

The Bills defense forced turnovers, they had a forced fumble, and then Milano had a great interception. They had three sacks in the game and on a day where the Bills didn't seem to blitz a whole lot from my perspective. It seemed like the Jets were running a bunch of hurry up on third down so the Bills couldn't get in some of their blitz looks. They still were able to get pressure on Darnold and kept him moving the whole day. And besides a late touchdown when the Bills were in prevent mode, they would be right around only allowing 10 points a game.

3. Bills show a new and more creative offense

They ran a number of screens in the game, whether that was with their wide receivers or running backs and tight end Dawson Knox even caught one. They also ran the shovel pass game with Isaiah McKenzie. They put McKenzie in motion behind Josh Allen on the play and threw him a swing route. The Bills ran play-action and they actually ran the ball with designed QB runs. There was just so much that they threw at the Jets and that's going to give teams a lot to prepare for on a week-to-week basis.

Scroll through to see photos of all the action as the Bills take on the Jets during opening weekend of the 2020 football season, presented by Imagine Staffing.

4. Allen produces the first of what may be many 300-yard games

I definitely thought it would come this season, but the thing is that I wanted it to happen during a win. I did not want his first 300-yard game to be in a game where the Bills are playing catch up through the whole second half. I think they simply just have to keep throwing the ball and that's how he will get over 300 yards. I thought he was simply efficient the entire day. He didn't force the ball much in the game and didn't miss many throws and I thought he had a very efficient day.

5. Diggs played well in Bills debut

I think that Diggs made a variety of plays in a couple of different ways. There were no big deep shots over the top, which is what kept him under 100 yards for the game. But he had eight receptions, and those came on comeback routes, and on most of those, he converted third downs into first downs. Later in the game when the Bills kind of struggled in the second half, he connected on a play-action deep over route. On a weekly basis, he's going to draw the other team's No. 1 cornerback if they shadow the wide receiver with one of their corners. For Diggs on a week-to-week basis, it's going to be a tough matchup and I thought against the Jets, he did a great job.

6. Andre Roberts decision-making is key

He's got so much experience in the special teams game as a returner and he often just makes a lot of incredible and bright decisions. He will let the ones go over his head that he should, but he makes smart decisions in whether to call a fair catch or catching a punt and getting upfield as opposed to reversing field and going backward. I truly feel like Andre Roberts is always putting the Bills in a great position to succeed.

7. Injury concerns at the linebacker position?

For me, when I was playing against Sean McDermott's defense in Carolina, it was often predicated off of great linebacker play. They had Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson, and Thomas Davis and those guys were so good for Carolina and he had a very good defense. McDermott comes to Buffalo; they draft Milano and they draft Edmunds and last year you saw the fruits of that. To have both of them go out, is a little bit scary for this defense moving forward, just knowing that McDermott always had such great linebacker play. In the game Sunday, you saw the Jets attack A.J. Klein as soon as he came into the game with Le'Veon Bell in space. Then Tyrel Dodson comes in the game, and he has a sack. I think A.J. Klein has played at a very high level throughout his career. So, I'm not overly concerned about Klein coming in the game other than the fact that Milano and Edmunds are just elite linebackers at this point in their career.

8. Bills continue to pressure the quarterback

A lot of times the Jets were running hurry up on third down, so the Bills often times would just have four defensive linemen to rush the passer and I thought they did a good job. They generated pressure on third downs but even on almost every drop back especially early in the game, they were making Darnold move off his spot. With that, we saw a number of errant throws by Darnold, and a lot of that was caused by the defensive line flushing him from his spot in the pocket.

9. Bills third-quarter struggles

Last year, the Bills were -11 in third quarter-point differential which was 18th in the NFL but then they jumped back to, +29 in the fourth quarter was which was eighth-best in the NFL. For the Bills, I think it's hard to put your finger on it because when you have a sizeable lead as they did in the third quarter of week one, it doesn't make sense to blitz the defense like crazy, or to take a bunch of shots downfield. Maybe allow some big plays or momentum-changing plays but it just seems like they're not executing as well in the third quarter as they are the first, second, and fourth quarters. I'm sure it's something that will be addressed throughout the week and it's something that we saw as a theme last year and it popped up again Sunday.

10. The Bills next task is to take on former HC Chan Gailey, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

This is an offense that I played in, and the Bills have played against Ryan Fitzpatrick and Gailey when they were both with the Jets. He's familiar with Chan Gailey's offense and they played tough against New England on Sunday. They'll come into the game next week knowing that they gave the Bills all they can handle last year up in Orchard Park. I think it should be a good game, with the free agents and draft picks Miami brought in. It will be interesting to see if Josh Allen can keep dominating in games against the Dolphins as he has done in the past.

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