1. The offense capitalized on the Jets misfortune
The Bills offense came out with a plan to attack the Jets secondary, that’s why we saw a pass-heavy offense out of the gate from quarterback Josh Allen. Allen was able to string some things together, but the turnovers kept the offense from getting in a good rhythm.
We saw offensive coordinator Brian Daboll mix it up putting 12, 21 and 13 personnel on the field in order to get the Jets’ big bodies to try to match up with the athleticism of the offense, speaking to the tight ends. Through the first half, C.J. Mosley made it known he was worth the money the Jets spent on him in the offseason. Mosley was a complete ball hawk when he was on the field.
The Bills capitalized off of Mosley not returning to the field in the second half with success in the run game. A big spark that orchestrated the comeback win was rookie Devin Singletary who broke off a few large runs. Motor finished the day with four carries for 70 yards and added 28 in the air. Averaging 17.5 yards per carry, it was easy to see Singletary’s superb vision when he bounced one of his long gains outside. This performance shows why Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have so much confidence in him, making him more of a feature back.
You have to tip your hat to the offensive line opening up some big holes for the running backs as well. Center Mitch Morse got out in front of those run plays and did a great job pulling. Not just Morse, the guards and tackles pulled extremely well too. It wasn’t perfect for the offensive line from the start, but you could see they settled in during the second half and helped make a difference in the run game.
2. A resilient team showed up in the second half
It was a great job by the coaching staff to identify a game plan for the second half that would work and be enough to pull off a comeback victory. It’s also a testament to the 11 on offense and their character to stick with it and put 17 points on the board in the second half. The defense truly kept them in the game. The Bills needed back-to-back scoring drives and that’s what they did.
You want a quarterback who plays his best football in the fourth quarter, who plays his best football with the game on the line and that’s what you saw yesterday. Josh is going to need to make some better decisions, especially as the season goes on. A couple of his throws were a little late. You can combine that with the turnovers and be a little frustrated, but man is he a gamer. The fact that he played good football down the stretch is a great sign for Allen in his second year.
Part of the reason why I love Josh Allen so much is his courage to throw the ball in tight windows. We have had quarterbacks in Buffalo that haven’t been able to do that. So, we can’t get mad every time he makes a risky throw down field. I believe those throws will get more and more calculated on his end as the season goes on.
3. Defense saves the game
The Bills defense is extremely solid. They lost one guy from a year ago in Kyle Williams and replace him with a top 10 draft pick in Ed Oliver. Returning 10 starters while having backups mature, you have so much experience in year three of this Leslie Frazier and Sean McDermott defense. This group is going to be special. It is going to be tough to move the ball down the field consistently just because they have so much talent and are all on the same page. The 11 on the field showed their sheer toughness and hunger on Sunday.
I thought the defense rushed the passer really well. They had four sacks, several deflected passes and made quarterback Sam Darnold uncomfortable. With the Jets, I thought they were weaker at tackle than they were on the inside of the offensive line with Ryan Kalil, Kelechi Osemele and Ryan Winters. The Bills did a great job of getting pressure on Sam Darnold.
The best thing they did was getting their hands in the throwing lane. There was a pass in particular where linebacker Matt Milano bent on the play fake but got his hands up in the passing lane to bat the ball down. That was a play that hurt the Bills a lot last year and the year before because the linebackers played downhill so hard. Little plays like that are drive stoppers and you eliminate a lot of chunk plays by playing smart defense like that.
4. Looking ahead: Bills vs. Giants in Week 2
The Bills are back at MetLife Stadium next week, which doesn’t happen too often. Next week is another winnable game for Buffalo. The Giants got beat 35-17 by the Cowboys on Sunday. Quarterback Dak Prescott had a great game completing 25 of 32 passes for 405 yards and scoring four touchdowns. The Giants had trouble on third down only converting two of 11.
The biggest playmaker on the Giants has to be running back Saquon Barkley with Odell Beckham Jr. gone. Barkley had a few highlights against Dallas with 11 rushes for 120 yards. Hopefully, the Bills can shut him down this week.
It's a matchup against an NFC opponent that Buffalo is not too familiar with, you have a quarterback in Eli Manning that has won two Super Bowls, but you have to take care of business. With very tough games down the stretch on the schedule, this is an opportunity that the Bills should capitalize on.
Scroll through to see photos of all the action as the Bills take on the Jets during opening weekend of the 2019 football season.
5. Observations from around the NFL
Antonio Brown to Patriots
I have generally always been a players-first guy. I played in the NFL for nine years and my career was taken from me because of injury in a heartbeat. I understand players needed to maximize their earning potential. You won’t hear me get on a guy for sitting out in training camp or whatever it may be to try to maximize his earning potential. What I don’t like about this Antonio Brown situation, maybe it’s because I’m a Bills guy, but the way he gets out of Pittsburgh and essentially does this press conference in Oakland explaining he is a leader, he is the hardest worker, hold him accountable. It’s one problem after the other in Oakland until he winds up with the Patriots. It may have been the plan all along, who knows. Brown put a franchise in the Raiders on the ropes because they planned an offense around him, built their personnel around him being a part of the team. Now they don’t have him for the season, to me it’s unfortunate.
Ravens vs. Dolphins
The Ravens beat the Dolphins easily 59-10 and I loved Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson’s comments after the game, he’s a Louisville guy like me. He was asked about all the people who doubted his ability to throw going 17 of 20 for 324 yards, scoring five touchdowns against Miami. Jackson jokingly said, ‘pretty good for a running back.’ I love to see him have a day like that. Jackson had a quarterback rating of 99.4 and only had three carries for six yards. Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finished the day completing 14 passes on 29 attempts for 185 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Giants vs. Cowboys
The Cowboys went out and paid running back Ezekiel Elliott. But, Prescott’s price may be skyrocketing after the game he had. Dallas still needs to pay wide receiver Amari Cooper as well, he made an impact in the game with six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. This won’t be easy for the owner Jerry Jones.