With the 2017 season in the books following a fairly surprising playoff berth, we look back at the season and our beloved Buffalo Bills. Every week is a story and we bring this to you through the lens of key plays that defined the game.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Two teams in a race for the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft entered New Era field on September 10th, 2017. Or at least that was the spin heading into this Week one division contest. Instead, both teams came out punching above their expected class and put on a show good enough to make many second guess “the tank.”
Neither team was able to pull away until Buffalo scored the final points of the game early in the 4th quarter. From there, a ramshackle squad headed by defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier showed us our first glimpse of their tremendous potential.
Tyrod Taylor’s first TD pass of the year (Q2, 11:30)
A scoreless first quarter highlighted two defenses that were determined to shed any talk of draft considerations. The Bills closed the first quarter of action with a promising start to a drive that had them around midfield.
Seven plays into the second quarter, Tyrod Taylor found Charles Clay for a one-yard touchdown on a well-thrown timing pass. While the Jets managed to bring it to a one-point game with field goals on their next two drives, the Bills never gave up the lead. Note LeSean McCoy clearing out the linebacker with the fade route.
Stopped 2-point conversion attempt (Q3, 2:00)
The Jets, down by 8 with the 3rd quarter waning, were goal-to-go at the one. A successful Josh McCown QB sneak brought the score to 14-12, Bills. Looking to eliminate the gap, Todd Bowles elected to go for two. Ramon Humber had other plans and picked off a McCown pass intended for Robby Anderson. On a rollout from McCown, the Bills smothered every target. McCown made an ill-advised pass from a list of options that only included ill-advised passes and Micah Hyde tipped it up. Humber was in position to slam the door on the conversion.
The Bills found the end zone again on their next possession. This play helped make it a two-score game in the 4th quarter, piling on the pressure for the visiting Jets.
Micah Hyde’s first interception in a Bills uniform (Q4, 1:44)
The Bills secondary outperformed even the loftiest expectations, and Micah Hyde established his presence right out of the gate. With under 2 minutes left to play, the Jets were down by 9. McCown looked to find Jermaine Kearse on the left sideline to hold onto a rapidly-faltering prayer at a comeback. Lorenzo Alexander weaved through traffic to bring quick pressure, aided by a stunting Kyle WIlliams, and McCown's floating pass was easy pickings for Micah Hyde.
With the Bills offense playing conservative football in the 4th quarter, the Jets had four drives to claw their way back in. The defense shut them down each time. Hyde’s interception was a definitive final nail in their Week one coffin and is emblematic of the early cohesiveness of the Bills' defense.