On one hand, the Buffalo Bills never found the end zone against the New York Jets. On the other hand, they had eight scoring drives and zero punts. It was a mixed bag that thankfully the Bills were on the right side of. And yes, “it was the Jets” but the defense dominated. They played better than they had been during the first half. In the second half though...well the Jets didn’t really HAVE a second half. Two first downs (one by penalty), less yards than you have fingers on your hand, and a mere 6:30 time of possession. Let’s see who chipped in on the Bills getting back to their winning ways.
Offense (74 snaps)
The 100% club was mostly intact. Dion Dawkins, Mitch Morse, Darryl Williams and Josh Allen all made the cut as usual. Ike Boettger did as well, filling in for the injured Cody Ford. Brian Winters came off the field for two plays. A win is great, exiting a win with good health is even better.
Stefon Diggs nearly hit the 100% mark again. He’s hovered near that amount every week. With John Brown inactive as a result of injury, Gabriel Davis was the biggest beneficiary as he also nearly hit the 100% mark. Cole Beasley hit his usual third spot but saw a bump in playing time, which resulted in a hell of a day (#LeaveItToBeasley). Isaiah McKenzie was right around his usual time and Duke Williams saw a few plays rather than Andre Roberts this week.
Against KC, the tight ends dipped below 70% as a unit. This week they played 71 of 74 snaps despite having the position isolated after a COVID outbreak. Tyler Kroft was spared the same fate thanks to the birth of Grace Kroft. Congrats to Lexi and Tyler Kroft and welcome to the aptly named Grace. Daddy Kroft saw a lot of playing time despite surely being exhausted from his big week. Despite that I’ll put him in second place for time/effort to Lexi for this week.
Devin Singletary and Zack Moss were nearly even in time this week. With Moss’s injury seemingly behind him, the Bills have returned to more of a committee approach at the position and saw more success Sunday than they have for awhile. There was at least one snap with both on the field.
Defense (57 snaps)
With Levi Wallace and Josh Norman injured, welcome to the 100% club Dane Jackson. He was joined by Tremaine Edmunds, Jordan Poyer and Tre’Davious White. Micah Hyde nearly made it but left the game after a collision with Breshad Perriman. It’s unknown if Hyde was injured on the play. Best wishes to Perriman who was.
Taron Johnson, as he is known to do, set the floor for time playing nickel defense at 84%. Making the safe assumption that Dean Marlowe subbed in for Hyde’s three plays that leaves him with nine additional snaps—suggesting the Bills once again played 100% of the time in nickel, with Marlowe being the big nickel guy.
A.J. Klein got the majority of the second linebacker reps but Milano was in a third of the time.
Mario Addison led the way in defensive end snaps, but Jerry Hughes had the big day. Trent Murphy returned to the lineup this week and had the third-most snaps. A.J. Epenesa and Darryl Johnson saw time on the field with Epenesa flashing despite a reduced role. Addison likely returned to his hybrid role this week, with one snap extra for this group replacing a defensive tackle.
For the tackles, Ed Oliver hit the top spot again. He was followed by Quinton Jefferson, then Vernon Butler in a fairly typical rotation. Justin Zimmer saw the field again but in a reduced role from last week.
Special Teams (23 snaps)
This is a fun week for special teams as we get a reeeeeeal rare occurrence to discuss today. Tyler Matakevitch earned top honors again with 65% of snaps. That’s not the surprise. There was a good-sized cluster of players at 57% that included Jaquan Johnson, Siran Neal, Andre Smith, Taiwan Jones, and Deon Lacey. That’s not the surprise either. Tyler Bass was the second-most-seen player on special teams at 61%. Kickers are almost never on the list of most utilized players but when you try eight field goals, six kickoffs after the ones you made, plus another kickoff to start the game that’s a lot of action. Credit the Bills’ offense too for keeping the punt unit off the field as well.