If we knew going into this game the Bills would muster only 232 total yards against a scary Jets defense, we’d think the Jets probably pulled off a 2 game sweep.
Weather conditions made this a very different game. Steady rain or snow flurries along with gusting and changing winds turned this game into a game of not blinking. It’s an inarguable fact conditions like this affect the game a lot. While many Bills fans are still clamoring about how this shows we need a dome, the truth is the Bills are built for December and January in Western NY, and that’s especially true of their franchise quarterback.
The Bills earned a 20-12 win over the Jets in part because of what Josh Allen didn’t do as opposed to what he did. Because he didn’t turn the ball over, he more than atoned for a two interception game that led directly to a 20-17 loss to the Jets in New Jersey a month ago. Now, at 10-3, the Bills remain the AFC top seed with 4 games to play, including here next Saturday night against the Dolphins. A win next week would almost ensure an AFC East title.
As usual with these Bills, they go as Allen goes, and that doesn’t always mean he has to throw for over 300 yards and 3 or 4 TD’s.
It was obvious right away both teams were facing tough defenses in adverse conditions, and the teams traded punts most the first quarter. Allen looked uncomfortable early, off target at times, and a couple drops didn’t help. The running game was sputtering as well.
But late 2nd quarter with still no points, the Bills caught a break when they drew the Jets offsides on a 4th and short from their own 39. That kept the drive alive, and Allen hit tight end Dawson Knox with a 24 yard toss capped by Knox’s summersault into the corner of the end zone. Knox had 4 catches for 41 yards as the Jets muzzled Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, holding them to 3 catches each and a total of 68 yards.
Not only that, for the most part the Bills couldn’t run it either. Allen wound up with 47 yards rushing and Devin Singletary 39 more. Despite that, Allen kept his cool. He didn’t force anything and didn’t play hero ball when sacked 3 times. His 147 yards passing don’t really tell the story. He had a TD pass and another 5 yard rushing TD and did what winners do. Make plays when they matter and avoid mistakes.
Despite a strong effort from the Bills defense, now getting used to life without Von Miller, Jets quarterback Mike White and his receivers were impressive. He shrugged off a 4 interception day here in a blowout loss a year ago with 268 yards passing and no touchdowns or int’s. Some of those yards came late with the Bills in prevent, but he was battling. Big hits by Ed Oliver and later Matt Milano knocked him out of the game, but he came back each time despite obvious rib discomfort. Jets receivers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore combined for a dozen catches and 138 yards, with several of the catches heavily contested.
A shoutout to defensive end Greg Rousseau, who had a couple sacks and a forced fumble, Oliver, Milano, Tremaine Edmunds and Shaq Lawson all played well. Safety Demar Hamlin forced a fumble, and cornerback Tre White played nearly the entire game with no physical setbacks. White was picked on a bit, but his rustiness is wearing off quickly and it’s huge for the Bills to get him back for the stretch run.
The usually reliable Bills Special Teams did have one breakdown that nearly cost the game. Punter Sam Martin, whose name is seldom called, had a punt blocked for a safety in the 4th quarter with the Bills up 20-7. Now, it’s 20-9 and the Jets get the ball. But the D weathered the storm, and Martin had 7 solid punts including two downed inside the Jets 10. Tyler Bass was 2-2 in field goals including a 49 yarder, and new Bill and punt returner Nyheim Hines returned 3 punts for 42 yards. Hines is a great acquisition for his sure hands and nerves of steel as a punt returner. He never lets the ball hit the ground.
So now the Bills appear to come out of the game healthy, and they’ll wait for the Dolphins to visit beautiful Orchard Park next Saturday night. We can only hope the weatherman/woman cooperates.
A little wind and snow would be perfect.
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