The Buffalo Bills are back above .500 on the season after moving to 6-5 thanks to a 32-6 win over the New York Jets at Highmark Stadium.
Out of the gate, New York put itself behind the eight-ball as Xavier Gipson fumbled the opening kickoff that gave the Bills the ball inside the red zone. They Bills settled for a field goal, but continued to pour on the scoring as the half rolled on. After three-straight field goal drives, Buffalo broke through the end zone as Josh Allen completed the touchdown to James Cook to go up by 16 points. The scoring ramped up in the second half with a 13-0 run by the Bills in the third quarter that left the Jets in the dust.
As for the New York offense, it continued to struggle with Zach Wilson under center. The Jets netted just 87 yards of total offense in the first half and their long scoring drive over the first two quarters was sparked by a fake punt pass by Thomas Morstead. Head coach Robert Saleh also seemed to have seen enough as he elected to bench Wilson in the closing seconds of the third quarter in favor of Tim Boyle. Wilson finished his day with just 81 yards through the air on 7 for 15 passing to go along with an interception and a touchdown.
As for the Bills, Josh Allen finished his day 20 of 32 passing for 275 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He also surpassed Patrick Mahomes for the most total touchdowns in the first six seasons of a quarterback’s career in NFL history.
For more on how this game unfolded, check out our takeaways below.
Why the Bills won
Buffalo took advantage of New York’s mistakes. They scored points off turnovers, got off the field on third down, and left the Jets no true opportunity to think about an upset. 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 as a positive sign for them moving forward. They also ran the ball well with James Cook, who logged 73 yards on the ground in the win.
Defensively, Rasul Douglas is becoming a force in the secondary. He logged two interceptions and recovered a fumble in this matchup.
Why the Jets lost
Coming into Week 11, the Jets ranked last in the NFL on third down and they didn’t do much of anything to dig themselves out of the basement in that category. On the night, New York did not covert a single third down, failing to move the chains all 11 times. While Wilson did not do his team any favors when he was under center, part of their inability to move the ball on offense was poor protection up front. Wilson was constantly under siege and was sacked five times on the night. That pressure really hurt New York’s ability to put the ball in the hands of their star receivers. Of Wilson’s 23 dropbacks, no Jets wide receiver was able to record a catch. Garrett Wilson was held without a catch in the first half and finished his day with two receptions for nine yards.
With a low-ceiling offense, the Jets needed to play perfectly everywhere else in order to pull off the upset. They proved they were unable to do that from the jump with a fumble on the opening kickoff, which gave the Bills a short field. Ball security was an issue throughout this game for New York as they coughed the ball away four times.
Defensively, they held their ground early against Josh Allen’s offense, but ultimately gave up a couple of key chunk plays in the second half that dug them into a hole the offense couldn’t get them out of.
One of the notable decisions that interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady made in this game was keeping the offense on the field during a fourth-and-1 play in the opening minutes of the third quarter. At the time, Buffalo was up by 10, but the throw from Allen to Ty Johnson not only moved the chains, but also blew the game wide open as he ran it 28-yard for the score. That put the Bills up by 16, which seemed like an impossible hurdle for this struggling Jets offense to overcome and get back in the game
The longest play of the season for the Bills offense came in the third quarter when Josh Allen was able to throw a dart to wideout Khalil Shakir, who hauled in the pass and took it 81 yards to the house. Allen was able to thread the ball into Shakir’s arms and just out of the reach of Jets cornerback Sauce Garnder. Shakir then shook loose a couple of Jets defenders to eventually find the end zone.
Shakir finished with a team-high 115 yards on three catches and that touchdown.
From here, the Bills schedule does ramp up, starting with a Week 12 matchup against the Eagles in Philadelphia next Sunday. As for the Jets, they’ll head back to MetLife Stadium and gear up for another AFC East showdown with the Dolphins coming to town.