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Five observations: Buffalo Bills beat New York Giants despite shortcomings

The Bills have things to work on, but it was an impressive victory.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills went back to New Jersey and are now 2-0 on the road in the 2019 NFL season. It was a great win for the Bills, but certainly not a perfect one. Here are my observations from the game, and I need to warn you, they aren’t all sunshine and rainbows.

I like what Brian Daboll is doing

The Bills’ offensive coordinator has been good through two games. In Week 1, Buffalo split out FB Patrick DiMarco to see what the New York Jets’ great linebackers were going to do. In Week 2, they dictated large chunks of the first half. Josh Allen was over 200 yards passing in the first half and the Bills had a solid lead. They were able to run out the clock AND move the ball with a solid rushing attack, too. If Allen could be a touch more accurate, the Bills would have been able to move the chains even more and it would have been a blowout. (But we’re not complaining...yet.)

Offensive line is hit and miss

Man, it’s fun watching this offensive line run block, isn’t it? The Devin Singletary touchdown run was a thing of beauty from Quinton Spain and Mitch Morse leading the way. Some absolute monster blocks were great. But the pass blocking remains strained. Cody Ford and Ty Nsekhe are still rotating at right tackle, but the veteran is clearly performing better than the rookie. Multiple penalties on the o-line and three sacks of Josh Allen is not what I want to see with such a large investment.

Buffalo’s front four feels transformed

The Bills’ defense is playing well and it starts up front. The pass rush seems transformed this season. Ed Oliver had a tipped pass that was intercepted by Trent Murphy when the New York Giants were in scoring range. Harrison Phillips and Lorenzo Alexander combined for what was Phillips’s first NFL (half) sack to go along with a pair of knocked-down passes for the second-year player. Darryl Johnson had a quarterback hit and the line as a whole really were playing well against a good Giants o-line.

Third-quarter slump

12 yards. Penalties. Buffalo was just not interested in building their 14-point lead from the moment they took a knee to end the first half with 47 seconds and two timeouts while positioned at the Giants’ 35. Even the defense allowed Eli Manning to go 8-for-10 in the quarter. It’s something this young team is going to have to learn; how to put down an inferior team when you have the lead. They’ve now started slow in every one of their four halves of football.

Free Devin Singletary

Devin Singletary has 127 rushing yards on ten carries in two NFL games. That’s 12.7 yards per carry! Frank Gore has clearly been the lead back in terms of touches, but why is that? Do they not trust the rookie? It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field. Singletary came up limping on his final carry of the game, but we’re hoping it’s a cramp.

Notes

  • The defense is off to a good start. By and large, they’ve limited Le’Veon Bell and Saquon Barkley in consecutive weeks and have been stout against the pass, as well.
  • The Bills used a nickel cornerback rotation that was heavy on Dean Marlowe, who was inactive in Week 1, with the injury to Taron Johnson. Kevin Johnson and Siran Neal also saw time in the slot.
  • Speaking of Neal, he was great on special teams.
  • Dawson Knox had a bad drop go through his hands while making a great block on SIngeltary’s TD run. Good and bad.