The Buffalo Bills are 4-0 thanks in large part to their quarterback, though a big assist can surely go to their wide receivers, as well. As good as Josh Allen has been this season, his top four wideouts have been equally astounding, as the positional group has gone from one of the league’s worst to one of the league’s best under general manager Brandon Beane.
With such a variety of talented players who specialize in so many things, the Bills’ offense has been fun to watch this year. The maturation of their young signal-caller has been at the center of the team’s growth from plucky upstarts to serious contenders. After beating the Las Vegas Raiders 30-23, the Bills appear to be at least one of the top teams in the AFC, and perhaps one of the best teams in the NFL.
Here is how our five players to watch performed on Sunday.
QB Josh Allen
Buffalo’s young quarterback had his worst game of the 2020 season. He completed 24-of-34 passes for only 288 yards, with two touchdowns and zero interceptions thrown. He added a rushing touchdown after what would have been his third passing touchdown was called a mere completion at the one-foot line.
Go ahead and re-read that for a moment. Actually, I’m just going to flat-out restate it. Josh Allen completed 71% of his passes, averaging 8.5 yards per attempt in what was arguably his worst performance of the first quarter of the 2020 season. Put another way, Allen’s worst game so far of his 2020 campaign would have ranked among the top three games of his two-year career prior to this season. Was it perfect? Obviously not if we’re saying it wasn’t his sharpest game of the season. He took a horrendous sack in the fourth quarter to take the team out of field goal range (I don’t think he should have been in the position to take a sack, as the team should have ran the ball on third down up two scores, but I digress). He still flees the pocket by spinning blindly to his left and running to nothing. He put a little too much zip on some short throws, leading to incompletions. Overall, though, Allen showed why he is a front-runner for the MVP discussion this year, as he threw gorgeous touchdown passes to Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley, and hit John Brown on what very well could have been a third touchdown if not for a referee determining that Brown was short of the goal line. He also hit Stefon Diggs on a beautiful deep shot that set up Devin Singletary’s game-clinching two-yard touchdown run. Allen was drafted to be a star, and so far in 2020, he’s playing like one.
RB Devin Singletary
Prior to Sunday, I hadn’t been too concerned with Buffalo’s lack of total rushing production, since the per-touch average remained solid. However, after Singletary was only able to muster 55 yards on 18 carries this week, perhaps it’s time to wonder whether this team is good enough on the ground. Yes, Josh Allen is averaging 332 passing yards per game. However, against better teams, the Bills will need to ice games by running the ball in the fourth quarter, and Singletary and the Bills’ offensive line have yet to show that they can do that. Singletary did score his first touchdown of the season, and he caught five passes for 21 yards. He also dropped a screen pass, and when push comes to shove, 23 touches for 76 yards just isn’t very good, especially against a defense that came in ranked No. 27 against the run.
DT Quinton Jefferson
For the first time this season, Jefferson was not the leader in snaps among Buffalo’s interior defensive linemen. Buffalo also had its best day against the run since Week 1. Jefferson was called for a weak roughing-the-passer penalty, but that foul was offset by a weak penalty on Josh Jacobs, who was flagged for lowering his helmet to initiate contact with a defender. Jefferson notched one sack, and on that play he forced Derek Carr to fumble and then recovered the fumble. Jefferson had one tackle on the day.
LB Tremaine Edmunds
The box score tells me that Buffalo’s middle linebacker had a game-high 12 tackles, which seems pretty great for a middle linebacker. My eyes tell me that Edmunds was still a weak link on Sunday, as he again over-reacted to play-action and movement while over-pursuing multiple runs. Perhaps his shoulder injury is causing him to overcompensate, as he may not trust his ability to wrap and hit, so he is trying to flow to plays faster. However, it’s been a disappointing start to the 2020 campaign for the man tabbed as the Bills’ defensive quarterback.
CB Tre’Davious White
I saw White shadowing Las Vegas’ best receiver—tight end Darren Waller—a few times this week, which was a welcome change to the Bills’ game plan. White mixed that in with some straight zone calls, and he had a stellar afternoon as per usual. White notched eight tackles and a beautiful pass breakup in coverage on the day, and while his afternoon was okay, he was outshined in this contest by veteran Josh Norman, who forced and recovered a fumble on the afternoon. With Wallace “week-to-week” thanks to his injury, White should expect to line up across from the aggressive veteran Norman for the foreseeable future.