1 – Offense out of rhythm
Buffalo's offense knew they were facing a top 10 defense in the Jets, but their own lack of execution was also at work in making Sunday look like a struggle at times on offense. The team had two touchdown drives in the first half with 14-play and nine-play drives to stake themselves to a 14-3 lead. But after that Buffalo found it difficult to gain yardage in big chunks in any form as the Jets defensive front turned the game into a slug fest.
"In the first half they played a lot more man," said Stefon Diggs, who did not register a reception in the second half. "And in the second half, they did a lot more two-(safety) high. That's why we went to the run, and we were productive in the run game. So, first half, second half is always a different game. They did a lot more two high. They had a long possession on offense. So, we came out we ran the ball ran well, efficiently. We just had some miscues."
A missed field goal just before halftime, albeit from 55 yards, kept the Bills kept the Bills from pushing their lead to seven at the break. And despite a 6.1 yards per carry average on the ground, in the second half Buffalo's offense managed just 63 total net yards.
"I give credit where credit's due they came out with a great game plan and then they adjusted accordingly when they saw some things they could have done better," said Diggs. "So, for us, we've just got to do the same thing. We knew this game was going to come down to execution. And we didn't execute well."
Josh Allen, who was extremely upset with his own level of play, which included a pair of interceptions, was more directly critical about their performance on offense.
"I would say we didn't do… myself in front… didn't do anything great, turning the ball over," Allen said. "You only get so many drives in this in this league. During each game, you've got to make them count and I didn't do that."
His offensive teammates, however, don't believe they did Allen any favors when it came time for him to pass on Sunday.
"I think for us it was execution," said Mitch Morse. "It was a good front we were playing. We knew we'd have to use our technique and fundamentals that we're taught. They out executed us, and it showed. We put Josh in disadvantageous situations. It was a humbling game."
The Bills' longest play from scrimmage in the second half was an 18-yard pass from Allen to Gabe Davis with 1:37 left in regulation when Buffalo was desperately trying to get in field goal to tie the game down 20-17.
"It was just us," said Davis. "We should've made some plays and not have some penalties. The whole offense could've played better. I think it was all us."
Buffalo's 17-point output was their lowest of the season, and on Sunday it wasn't enough.
2 – Line of scrimmage battle lost
Buffalo's stout defensive front that came into the Week 9 game ranked fourth in sacks per play, fourth against the run and third in total defense, did not perform up to those figures on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
New York used a quick passing game to keep Buffalo's pass rushers at bay and their offensive line won enough battles at the line of scrimmage to allow their run game to keep them on schedule in terms of down and distance.
"That's something we have to seriously look at," said head coach Sean McDermott. "That's where the game starts, up front and then run defense, you cannot allow a team to run the ball on you like that. So, give credit to them."
The Jets averaged better than five yards per carry despite losing their top back to a knee injury two weeks earlier and finished with 174 yards on the ground.
"I feel like the main thing is we didn't stop the run," said Taron Johnson. "That's what it came down to. We didn't do a good enough job there. That's what we've got to double down on going forward."
And when the Jets had to have it on their final drive of the game, they had little trouble picking up yards on the ground. New York ran eight consecutive times on the drive gaining 73 yards for a 9.1 yards per carry as they moved into the red zone.
"They ran the ball on us. And they had a success," said Von Miller. "I really don't know why we couldn't bottle it up. We've been playing it run really, really well up until last week. Of course, they were going to copy some of the plays that Green Bay ran, and they did, and we expected that, but we didn't expect the success that they would have. That's two games where we didn't play our part in the run."
"The only difference is we missed tackles," said Jordan Phillips flatly. "We need to tackle better."
"Losses like this are tough. I still feel like it's good medicine. Still believe in this team," said Miller. "We had chances to win it. It wasn't like the whole game was just trash. We did some good things, but we didn't do enough good."
Scroll for the best game photos as the Buffalo Bills play the Jets in Week 9 from MetLife Stadium.
3 – Turnovers holding Bills back
The Bills over the past month have been able to overcome turnovers and still win games. But turning the ball over has been a persistent problem. Buffalo has not played a game without a turnover since their Week 2 blowout win over Tennessee.
Entering their Week 9 game with New York they were tied for the third-most giveaways in the league with 12. On Sunday against the Jets, turnovers again made the game more difficult than it had to be. For the fourth time in the last five games, the Bills committed two turnovers. Josh Allen was responsible for both of them with a pair of interceptions. Allen has had at least one giveaway in each of his last five outings.
The first came on the opening drive when Josh Allen threw an interception right to Jets S Jordan Whitehead with Buffalo in the red zone. It was the second consecutive week that Allen had a giveaway inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
"The first one I just didn't see the guy, who was right behind the defensive end," Allen said. "Dawson (Knox) was a kind of latched on to the defensive end. I got my eyes back. I kind of looked and the guy was right behind the defensive end didn't really see him there. And so, I floated it and second one was just a brain fart. Just got to execute better. That's on me."
Allen's second turnover came two plays after Buffalo's defense had forced Zach Wilson to fumble when Von Miller sacked him, and AJ Epenesa recovered the loose ball at the Bills' 28-yard line.
The first turnover took points off the board for the Bills and the second gift-wrapped points for the Jets as New York rookie CB Sauce Gardner took Allen's second interception down to the Buffalo 19-yard line. The extra possession allowed the Jets to take a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Allen also had a pair of fumbles, but Buffalo fortunately recovered both of them.
"The turnover battle is so crucial because we try to win it, especially on defense," said Stefon Diggs. "They try to create turnovers. So, it's just a team effort. Even special teams can come in here and make some plays in there. We just (must) eliminate it from happening. It's just... it happens like even last week; I had a fumble stuff like that. Just honing in on the details. Of course, this game isn't going to be perfect, but the less you shoot yourself in the foot, the more you have a chance to win. You can't win that way."
Head coach Sean McDermott harps on ball security weekly. He realizes turnovers will happen from time to time, but the frequency with which they're occurring for the Bills is not sustainable for winning football.
"It's hard to win the game when you turn the ball over and you're sloppy with the football," said McDermott. "We had opportunities overall and we shot ourselves in the foot. Give credit to where credit's due, they made more plays than we did and, in some ways, we beat ourselves. So, we've got to go back and reevaluate."
Buffalo's only two losses this season have come in games where they were on the minus side of the turnover margin (Week 3, Week 9).