clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Against all odds: How the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets, Week 1

New, 27 comments

Graphs and stats help paint a picture 20 years in the making

The Buffalo Bills managed to pull of an improbable comeback Sunday versus the New York Jets. After four first-half turnovers, It looked like the football gods were not with Josh Allen and the Bills offense. Whether you’re a believer of superstition or statistics, neither seemed to be in the Bills’ favor on Sunday until the final whistle.

(All graphs and statistics provided by numberFire LIVE)

If we’re going to figure out how the Bills managed to pull off the win, it’s probably best to start at the bottom. With 5:27 left in the third quarter and after an incompletion to Dawson Knox on 2nd and 10, the Bills had a 6.17% chance of winning this game. Having already turned the ball over four times and facing a 3rd and long, the Bills were in their deepest hole of the day. Fortunately, they were bailed out by a personal foul called against the Jets’ Henry Anderson—something Anderson seems to be making a habit of when facing the Bills. This 15-yard penalty continued the drive, and would ultimately end in a Stephen Hauschka field goal eliminating any shutout hopes for the Jets.

After forcing a punt on the Jets’ next possession, the Bills managed to punch one into the end zone on a three-yard touchdown run by Josh Allen, assisted by a fantastic block from rookie running back Devin Singletary. At this point as you can see from the graph, the Bills get a significant swing in probability at 19.43% (+13.26%) with 10:29 left in the game. With the lead cut to six, the defense playing well, and Devin Singletary showing off some late-game heroics, you might be able to point to this play as being the one that visibly shifted the momentum in the Bills’ favor.

The play of the game came from wide receiver John Brown. Brown caught the touchdown that would ultimately seal the game for the Bills. The play before, the Bills were still overwhelming underdogs with a 30.03% chance of winning the game. Following Brown’s touchdown that number spiked to 64.52% (+34.49%). However, with 3:07 still left after the touchdown, the Bills gave second-year quarterback Sam Darnold plenty of time to pull off some of his own late-game heroics—a lingering thought in the back of many Bills fans’ minds. What ensued were two shutout series by the Bills’ defense that would secure Buffalo’s first win of the year and make it one of the most improbable wins the NFL has seen in over 20 years.