Joining fellow AFC Super Bowl favorites Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills dropped their Week 1 matchup. Despite losing its first matchup within the division, there is still hope. Here are a few takeaways from Monday Night Football.
Takeaways from the Bills MNF Loss
The new era, the second coming…lasted four plays. There was a collective shock around the league as Aaron Rodgers caught a ride off the field on a cart. This isn’t how it was supposed to go. It turned the whole mood of the game faster than Rodgers turned his ankle. As of 11:30 pm, the Jets were still mum on how serious the injury was. The following morning, it was announced that he tore his Achilles and will miss the 2023 season.
There was a sigh heard ’round the world that emanated from the five boroughs. The higher the hopes the longer the fall and this fall was Empire State Building-sized. Nobody was saying ‘Aaron Who?’ at the end of the game, but Zach Wilson didn’t disappoint. Does that mean the Jets are as good of a team with Wilson? Of course not.
Buffalo Still Can’t Stop the Run
With the sudden reappearance of Wilson, the Jets playbook got a lot smaller. Everyone knew it, and yet the Jets still seemed to be able to run the ball. Wison ran for his life plenty, but the running backs ran for yards. The missing presence of Tremaine Edmunds was noticeable.
And then in the fourth quarter, the line started to make plays, and Wilson had to start throwing the ball. And all of a sudden, Buffalo couldn’t stop the pass. A wide-open Allen Lazard is a good example. Then, he hit Garrett Wilson. Then, Wilson made a crazy catch for a touchdown. With no Rodgers, the Bills should have feasted on the Jets. The simple truth is that the defense wasted an opportunity to take over the game and shut down a lesser team.
Josh Allen is his Own Worst Enemy
I love the drive, I love the desire that Josh Allen has, but I do not love the decision-making. You have to learn to take what the defense gives you. The long ball to Diggs that was thrown into double coverage and easily picked off is the perfect example. Throw the ball away! Check it down! You don’t have to be great, you don’t have to do it all. Sometimes ‘making a play’ is making a good play by not making a bad play. Live to fight another down.
No one is going to question your toughness if you don’t throw a long touchdown and instead decide to hit the running back for a four-yard gain. They will question you if you throw a long pick that was unnecessary. After three quarters, Allen’s numbers on the long ball were 0/3 with two interceptions. He added a bad sideline ball that got picked in the fourth. Don’t beat yourself. Then the fumble. Just. OUCH. I’d love to give him a mulligan, but he’s been in the league too long to have the performance he had tonight.
It Was a Rusty, Nail-Biting Loss, and Neither Team Should be Happy
The L. 0-1. The cold truth is that the Bills lost the game and got a division loss as well. It wasn’t pretty and the Bills aren’t going to strike fear into the hearts of NFL squads until they fix the many glaring problems this game showed. It was an ugly loss no question about it. Every team will have games like the Bills where you just don’t look quite like yourself and things don’t quite go as planned. The great teams still find a way to win. Are the Bills great? They didn’t prove it tonight.
To be honest, it wasn’t very much fun to watch. If the Bills don’t shake off the rust, they’ll be in for some long Sunday afternoon against better teams. Buffalo fans should have been eating wings in the fourth quarter. Instead, they were chewing Tums. If not for a Tyler Bass schtoink special the Bills lose the game in regulation. The good special teams (or lucky) turned into bad and ugly in overtime, as a simple punt coverage play turned into a nightmare.
The punt runback also featured a trip and a block in the back, so the real loser tonight? The NFL, which continues to allow horrendous no-calls to decide games.
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