After a two-game losing streak, the Bills are fresh off a 32-6 win over the New York Jets as they prepare to travel to Philadelphia to face the 9-1 Eagles Sunday.
With Joe Brady taking over offensive play-calling responsibilities, the Bills scored the most points since their Week 4 win over the Miami Dolphins. Quarterback Josh Allen threw just one interception and three passing touchdowns as the Bills offense scored on seven of their 11 drives (excluding the final clock-chewing drive.)
As Buffalo looks to climb back into the playoff conversation, perhaps the toughest three-game sequence of their schedule awaits them. Facing the Eagles, Chiefs and Cowboys over the next four weeks, the Bills will have their hands full with some of the best teams in the league, sporting a combined 23-7 record.
Here's what some of the top NFL analysts and columnists are saying about the Bills' big win and what is to follow.
With several starters on the defense missing significant time and an offense that had not played to its high potential over the last five or six weeks, The Athletic's Robert Mays said that the Bills showed Sunday night that they can play up to the lofty expectations placed upon them ahead of the season.
The Bills are eighth in the AFC currently, with four of their six remaining games against current playoff teams.
"If the defense rises to an average unit and the offense plays like this, this team is a real contender. They're a real force in the AFC and it's not like their playoff hopes are dashed, they're 6-5. … This is very much in sight, this is very much a realistic possibility for them to get in and seriously scare some people if they do."
In Joe Brady's first game calling the offense in Buffalo, Josh Allen and the Bills had their best performance since Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins. Allen's lone interception came on a Hail Mary attempt to end the first half and the Bills were in the lead for all but the first 90 seconds of the game. NFL Network's Peter Schrager named Joe Brady his Coach of the Week for his dominant debut.
"How about a 275-yard, three touchdown day from Josh Allen? How about a run game that was slicing up the Jets with not only James Cook but also Ty Johnson running in for a long touchdown? … He is going to be the guy for the Bills to try to salvage their season. If one game is a sample, things are looking pretty good."
Running back Ty Johnson had his best game of the season, seeing a significant uptick in snap percentage from 2 percent last week to 21 percent against his former team. Johnson looked explosive out of the backfield and showed great body control as he navigated his way down the sideline for a 28-yard touchdown. With Cook also adding a touchdown catch, NBC's Jason Garrett was impressed with the extra dimension the Bills running backs added on Sunday.
"I like how they took pressure off of Josh Allen. They got the running backs involved in the passing game. He didn't feel like he had to do everything … running backs are your best friend (as a quarterback)."
Head coach Sean McDermott praised Stefon Diggs for embracing an offensive gameplan that utilized the attention the elite receiver would inevitably attract from the Jets defense to free up space for other playmakers on the offense to get open. CBS Sports' Tyler Sullivan was impressed with the explosive plays Allen was able to pull off without forcing throws to Diggs.
"Josh Allen looked solid in his first game with Joe Brady as his interim offensive coordinator, throwing three touchdowns in the win while displaying a strong command of the offense. While it was a quiet night for Stefon Diggs, it was encouraging to see the Bills distribute to other players within the offense, including Khalil Shakir and Ty Johnson. They were able to get north of 30 points without Josh Allen or Diggs needing to make a Herculean effort, which should be looked at as a positive sign moving forward."
The Bills played with energy from the get-go, as Reggie Gilliam executed a crunching – but clean – hit on Jets returner Xavier Gipson to pop the ball free and force a turnover on the very first play of the game. Allen credited Gilliam for starting the game with a play worthy enough for special teams player of the week honors from NBC's Peter King.
"Fullback from Toledo. Fourth season. Bills' special-teamer. I'd argue – and Josh Allen would agree – he made the play of the game three seconds into Jets-Bills. … Most impressive about the play, I thought, was what a textbook hit it was in the open field, with not a tinge of dirty to it even though it was an absolutely crushing blow."
The Bills were met with challenges early in their 2022 season, with safety Micah Hyde sustaining a season-ending neck injury in Week 2. Damar Hamlin's shocking on-field cardiac arrest episode was unprecedented and difficult to process for many players, not only on the Bills, but across the league. NFL.com's Jeffri Chadiha thinks that their prior experience with adversity could help Buffalo overcome the challenges faced this season. Between the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the Bills are a combined 11-2 from Week 12 to Week 18.
"Last year, they dealt with countless injuries (including the loss of edge rusher Von Miller and safety Micah Hyde, as well as the harrowing near-death experience with safety Damar Hamlin) and still managed a seven-game win streak. We're not saying the Bills don't look rough right now. It's just that they're more than capable of righting the ship again."
After Buffalo's win over the Jets, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer spoke to head coach Sean McDermott who said that defeating the Jets was incredibly important to the Bills' postseason hopes as well as their morale, considering the Jets have had the Bills' number at times throughout the years.
"While the Bills' 32-16 dismantling of the Jets was one game, McDermott did emphasize to me as we talked that the alternative would've been ugly. Simply put, Buffalo couldn't afford to lose again to a New York team that has vexed it the past couple of years – Josh Allen got hurt in an upset loss in New Jersey last December, and the Bills fell in overtime on a punt return in this year's opener after Aaron Rodgers went down – after the last week."
Before the Oct. 31 trade deadline, the Buffalo Bills sent a 2024 third-round pick to the Green Bay Packers for cornerback Rasul Douglas and a 2024 fifth-round pick. After his three-turnover, four-tackle performance against the Jets, the trade is looking like a major win for the Bills. Jason McCourty called Rasul Douglas a top five defensive back this season on NFL Network's Good Morning Football.
"He was absolutely balling. I would expect he's named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Two interceptions, recovered a fumble but also had a ton of tackles in the run game, coming up and playing some ball at the corner position."
After turning the ball over 13 times across their previous six contests, the Bills' only turnover in their 32-6 win over New York Jets came in the form of a desperation heave to the end zone as the clock ran out on the first half. Steven Ruiz credited the offenses' ability to protect the football as well as improved play on defense and special teams in his review of the Bills' win.
"What did Brady do differently this week? For starters, he kept his turnover-prone unit in check – the lone giveaway came on a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half. And he was also gifted an improved field position by the defense and special teams: Buffalo's average starting field position was its own 38 on Sunday; entering the game, it had ranked 21st in the NFL, typically starting around the 27.4-yard line, per TruMedia."
Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest during an NFL game late last season, was featured in the 2023 Men of the Year issue of GQ Magazine in a story written by Sam Schube, who provides insight to how Hamlin handled the overwhelming response to his miraculous survival.
"I spent time with Hamlin this fall, and I found a warm, kindhearted young man doing his best to make sense of the strange turns his life has taken. He was glad to serve as the smiling face of a cause that, between heartbeats, chose him. But he was also ready to get back to being a football player ,despite the obvious challenges, and to do everything within his power to make sure his collapse wasn't the only thing people know him for."
Three former Buffalo Bills greats and one current perennial All-Pro were named to the Reese's Senior Bowl 75th Anniversary team. The Senior Bowl, played in Mobile, AL, features some of the best players in college football as they prepare for the NFL Draft. Von Miller played the entire Senior Bowl game and was named MVP before being selected No. 2 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. Thurman Thomas was also named the Senior Bowl MVP in 1988 before he was drafted by the Bills in the second round.
"I ended up getting really sick so I wasn't going to play in the game. But I started feeling better the next day … and I played in the game and I just remember playing off-the-ball linebacker, which I was a standard defensive end in a 4:3 scheme, so I was kind of worried about that … I made a couple plays from off-the-ball and I made a couple plays from on-the-ball and the rest is history. … From Senior Bowl MVP to Super Bowl MVP and it all started in Mobile." -- Von Miller