5 takeaways from the Bills’ 27-17 win over the Jets

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Buffalo Bills handled their business against the New York Jets in their first contest of the 2020 regular season. While a win is a win, the Bills certainly made things interesting in a few ways… and unfortunately we’ve got some important bumps and bruises to keep an eye on.” data-reactid=”22″>The Buffalo Bills handled their business against the New York Jets in their first contest of the 2020 regular season. While a win is a win, the Bills certainly made things interesting in a few ways… and unfortunately we’ve got some important bumps and bruises to keep an eye on.

With that, here are five takeaways from the Bills’ win over the Jets:

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports” data-reactid=”40″>Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker injuries

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Bills potentially have two huge losses in this victory. Both starting linebackers, Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano, left the game due to injury. They suffered shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively. This could potentially be back-breaking.” data-reactid=”46″>The Bills potentially have two huge losses in this victory. Both starting linebackers, Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano, left the game due to injury. They suffered shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively. This could potentially be back-breaking.

In Sean McDermott’s defensive scheme, it calls for heavy nickel formation. That means two linebackers most of the game. When healthy, both Edmunds and Milano will traditionally play every single defensive snap. Without them the drop off is huge in terms of the depth chart on Buffalo’s roster. Linebacker is the position group with the worst depth on the team’s entire roster.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="When Milano went down, veteran AJ Klein slid into his spot. Without Edmunds, essential rookie undrafted player Tyrel Dodson filled in. Of those two, you’d expect Klein to play better, but even before Edmunds went out of the lineup, Klein was leaving something to be desired. Dodson had his first-career sack, which was nice to see, but it came via a pretty bone-headed play from Sam Darnold when he ran out of bounds. If you notice, the Jets certainly got some momentum around the time these two defenders left the lineup.” data-reactid=”48″>When Milano went down, veteran AJ Klein slid into his spot. Without Edmunds, essential rookie undrafted player Tyrel Dodson filled in. Of those two, you’d expect Klein to play better, but even before Edmunds went out of the lineup, Klein was leaving something to be desired. Dodson had his first-career sack, which was nice to see, but it came via a pretty bone-headed play from Sam Darnold when he ran out of bounds. If you notice, the Jets certainly got some momentum around the time these two defenders left the lineup.

Moving forward into Week 2 against the Dolphins, monitoring the health of these two is very important. Miami will attack this area if both guys are out.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports” data-reactid=”67″>Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

300 can’t stop fumbling

Awesome, quarterback Josh Allen surpassed 300 yards passing… finally. The Bills QB finished the game 33-for-46 passing with 312 yards and two touchdown passes. He also had a rushing one. But it wasn’t the prettiest of days for him.

A lot of the offseason of focus for Allen had to do with him throwing the ball longer distances down the field. The next issue in his game as a mobile quarterback was his inability to hang onto the ball. One game into the 2020 season, and Allen still hasn’t figured out how to stop fumbling.

Against the Jets, a lowly team, the Bills got away with two of Allen’s fumbles. As we saw against the Texans in the postseason, good teams take advantage of these mistakes.

In total in 2019, Allen did do a good job of cutting down on his interceptions. In that category from his rookie season to last year, Allen went from 12 to nine interceptions, despite playing in five more games. Fumbling was bad, though. Allen fumbled the ball nearly once per game, 14 total times in essentially 15 games played since the season finale saw the backup offense play most of it last season. Already in 2020, Allen is at a bad pace.

At throwing, Allen was efficient against a bad team. That’s what you want to see. His first half was much better than his second half when he missed a wide open John Brown in the back of the end zone. But it’s important that Allen’s over the 300-yard marker. A monkey off his back.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Bills kicker Tyler Bass. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports” data-reactid=”96″>Bills kicker Tyler Bass. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Kicker worries?

The Bills made the decision to go with rookie kicker Tyler Bass over veteran Stephen Hauschka in their offseason kicking battle. The sixth-round pick had a forgettable first game in Buffalo.

Bass was picked over Hauschka because of his leg strength. The worry was his accuracy with the ones he should make… such as kicks from 38 and 34 yards. Those are the first two distances that Bass missed from, with both kicks sailing wide right. Late in the game, Bass did make two chip shots from the goal line, however, he nearly missed one of those, even.

In addition, Bass was supposed be able to kick touchbacks with ease? Didn’t look as easy as advertised for him. The game’s opening kickoff didn’t even make it into the end zone.

Buffalo special teams coordinator Heath Farwell did say the Bills would give Bass some slack as a rookie, and we’re immediately about to see how much. But in a good coaching decision, McDermott did put Bass out there late for those chip shots instead of keeping the offense out there. Gives the rookie some confidence.

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Bills running back Zack Moss. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Where was the run game?

The long and short of this answer is… with Allen.

As a rusher, Buffalo’s quarterback, not any sort of running back, was the focal point on the ground. The QB had plenty of designed runs for him and finished the game with 12 carries for 59 yards. Both of those led the game.

Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss had a 50/50 split with nine carries each. Both guys struggled, combining for 41 total rushing yards. That naturally does not fall all on them, though. While some Bills offensive linemen will be quick to point out they did not allow a sack in 2019, their push in the rushing attack still looks lackluster.

Moss, viewed as an upgrade to the “aging” Frank Gore, had 11 yards, which included a long of seven yards. That’s terrible.

In the passing attack, both backs did get involved, as Moss got his first-career touchdown on a pass from Allen. But their job is to establish a complement to the passing game. There was none… and that’ll be worrisome against better teams.

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Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)

Diggs’ first game

At the start, it appeared that the Bills were going to be slowly working Stefon Diggs into the game plan. They did that, but just over the course of his first game. In the first half, Diggs didn’t overly impress with three catches, but he finished the game with eight catches and 86 yards, which led the Bills in his debut.

Diggs showed his No. 1 receiver talent mostly along the sidelines. On one over the shoulder grab, Diggs held onto a catch to move the chains. On another, Diggs, sliding along the ground, corralled in a low pass in impressive fashion.

Perhaps the most-telling result of Diggs’ addition might’ve been the rest of the lineup. Brown easily could have had two touchdown passes, but Allen missed his for his second. Brown had six catches total while Cole Beasley had another four. Out of the backfield, Devin Singletary had five. The Bills spread the ball around, and that’s a good idea when opposing defenses try to focus in on Diggs.

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