The Buffalo Bills put forth a much-needed convincing effort in their 32-6 win against the Jets on Sunday evening from Highmark Stadium, snapping a two-game losing streak and improving to 6-5 on the season.
Here's the top 3 things we learned from the game:
1 — 'Energetic as we needed to be'
Energy can be hard to quantify. There's no stat for it but you can tell when a team does or doesn't have it. On Sunday, whatever energy or spark the Bills were searching for, they found it.
"Our team was energetic as we needed to be," QB Josh Allen said. "A lot of that, for better or worse, comes from the quarterback. So just making that a point of emphasis throughout the week. Like, let's have fun playing this game."
If anything can be gleaned from the Bills' largest margin of victory since Week 4 it's that the whole Buffalo roster — from the special teams unit on the opening kick, to the defense which feasted on turnovers, to the finally-explosive offense — played with a renewed sense of purpose and intensity.
And that energy shift primarily reverberated through the team's star quarterback.
"I saw a little bit more of his personality and our offense's personality," Bills head coach Sean McDermott shared about Allen and the offense. "And this is nothing about what had happened before with Coach Dorsey. It's more of just us getting back to just an energy on offense and guys having some fun."
The Bills made a statement on the opening kickoff with Reggie Gilliam jarring the ball loose from the Jets return man. Buffalo jumped out to a 3-0 lead, marking just the second time they've held a lead after the opening series since Week 4.
"I never seen quite a momentum surge like that," center Mitch Morse said. "It was electric, man. That really set us up, of course, we'd like to convert a touchdown but we were able to end up with points on the board."
It took a bit for Allen and Co. to truly find their groove but once things started clicking, the Bills finally unlocked a gear they'd been unable to reach over the last month.
Of particular note:
- Their 32 points scored is the most the Jets have given up to any opponent this season.
- Khalil Shakir's 81-yard TD in the third quarter is the longest TD reception in the NFL this year.
- Allen recorded 3 passing TDs vs. the Jets for the first time in his career.
- The Bills were a balanced group with 38 rushes and 32 passes.
"Like every season, man, it has its ups and downs," Allen said. "You're going to have adversity. It's how you bounce back from adversity. And sometimes it takes a spark like this to ignite your team."
2 — Applying Pressure
The Bills defense was a tour de force from top to bottom as they held the Jets to 155 total yards, combined for six sacks, forced four turnovers and did not allow a third-down conversion.
It's the first time since 1987 that the Bills defense did not allow an opponent to convert a third down play.
After the Jets fumble on the opening kick led to a Tyler Bass field goal and Rasul Douglas' interception in the second quarter led to a James Cook TD, the Bills now have 65 points off turnovers this season, the most in the NFL.
Bills cornerback Rasul Douglas, whom they acquired at the trade deadline, has been a key cog as part of that takeaway resurgence. Douglas intercepted Zach Wilson in the first half, backup Tim Boyle in the second half and added a fumble recovery.
Douglas is the first Bill with multiple interceptions in a game since Tre'Davious White in 2019.
"He's a smart football player," McDermott said of Douglas. "The game makes a lot of sense to him. So there's a reason why he can (do) what he did."
Buffalo's defensive front also came to play with five different players getting credited with either a full or partial sack. Leonard Floyd's 2.5 sacks made him the first Bills player with multiple sacks against the Jets in both games of the season series since Bruce Smith in 1990. Floyd leads the Bills with 9.5 sacks on the season.
Ed Oliver also recorded a sack during the game, setting a career-high for sacks in a single season (6.0).
Safety Jordan Poyer said the Bills defense never lost their confidence after the last two losses and Sunday's dominant victory can be proof of the team's mental toughness.
"Just being able to respond to adverse situations," he said. "Kind of backs against the wall and that's the type of team that we have. Put in a good week of practice and it showed today."
3 — Unlocking the Big Play
One of the missing ingredients that had been plaguing the Bills in recent weeks is their lack of explosive plays. Sunday, the Bills had 13 plays of at least 10 yards or more, two of which resulted in touchdowns.
On the opening drive out of halftime, Buffalo was driving in Jets territory and faced a 4th-and-1 from the 28-yard line. Earlier in the game, the Bills had kicked three field goals when in Jets territory but decided to go for it up 16-6 and a chance to go up three scores.
The Bills went under center, motioned WR Khalil Shakir to the left, and Allen booted to the right where RB Ty Johnson was wide open in the flat. The speedy Johnson, who played for the Jets from 2020-22, tip-toed down the sideline for the score.
Johnson, who had just one offensive touch this season coming into the game, said he just stayed present in the moment when his number got called.
"You just get out as fast as possible because you know, it's a rollout," he said. "You gotta get your head around quick. You see it every week, at least once from every team — a rollout especially in the red zone."
Later that quarter, the Bills had their longest play — and the longest NFL TD reception this season — on a fastball from Allen to Shakir on a seam route that was threaded past CB Sauce Gardner's hand. Shakir out ran Gardner, then out ran the Jets defense with help from his blockers in front all the way for an 81-yard score
"Tonight it was just nonstop. It was just fun. It felt fun to operate," Shakir said. "17 was the head honcho of all that."
Allen broke down how the play happened:
"Just getting into a little empty package. Saw they were playing what we call 66 Buzz, where the boundary safety comes down and kind of takes away Diggs. Diggs did his job, took two. Dalton came across the field, he's the second read. Safety took him.
"Khalil did a good job fitting it in a little bit and getting away from that corner. So he made a heck of a play and then the effort to get in the end zone."
That TD sealed the game for the Bills, putting them up by four possessions. Shakir said it was an amazing moment for him, especially with his dad being in the stands in Buffalo for the first time. Shakir, who regularly talks with his dad after every game, got to share a post game embrace Sunday night.
"I hadn't even checked my phone yet. I tried to shower because I try and go as fast as possible to get up there and see my whole family," Shakir laughed. "I think this is my dad's first home game he's been to. So that was awesome. Special day for sure."
Check out the best postgame player celebration photos from the Bills' big victory over the Jets at Highmark Stadium.