Fan confidence has been increasing this year as it’s evident that the Buffalo Bills are in fact a good team. Even in consideration of that, I expect few of us anticipated that performance on Monday Night Football as Buffalo dominated the San Francisco 49ers. A major factor was the clinic put on by the Bills’ receivers. Let’s rewind and take a few minutes to appreciate their work.
The Bills put up long drives and a major reason is an arsenal of chain-movers. And I mean both plays and players. The play design is fine, but not every receiver can make this work. Stefon Diggs angles himself like he’s going deeper than the short yardage needed and snaps his body back to get the ball. In the blink of an eye he has possession and snaps back to get the extra couple yards he needs to get another first down.
It’s unbelievable how many moving parts have to come together perfectly for a catch like this to be made. Stefon Diggs flows with the scrambling Josh Allen to provide a target and they connect at the literal last second. What’s more astounding is that we’ve seen plenty of “miracle” catches from the Allen-to-Diggs connection. Have we reached a point where this is less “miracle” and more “routine” yet? If not, we’re close.
This play highlights the coaching as well as the receivers. I’m confident that the 49ers spent some time on what to do if they saw Isaiah McKenzie blazing across the formation like this. And it didn’t work. A big part of it is the blocking scheme that allowed a couple options for McKenzie, who takes advantage with a much earlier cut than normal.
Cole Beasley had a career game. And that was before halftime. Not to be outdone by Diggs’s toe-tapping, Beasley added one of his own to get the Bills a large chunk closer to their eventual field goal to end the half.
I said earlier “chain-movers” and I did mean plural. Backed way up on their own end this play had huge potential ramifications. Beasley shows off his route running with a major emphasis on change of direction and easily moves the chains.
One of the strengths I noted when looking at film on Deebo Samuel and the 49ers was the total team effort in blocking and supporting each other. Dawson Knox made a nice play that resulted in a flying touchdown. Make sure to give Stefon Diggs some credit as well. The block he threw made sure Knox had a path to get into the end zone.
I wanted to come back to this catch specifically to close the appreciation GIFs. A lot of words have been written/spoken about the diminutive Cole Beasley. For such a small player, the hand strength he displays is wild. Several times against the 49ers he snatched the ball clean out of the air and kept moving. Remember who is throwing to him too. These aren’t generally casual passes.
Josh Allen was in the zone and deserves a ton of credit for the win. The wide receivers were just as much in the zone. When everyone is clicking like this the Bills are near unstoppable as a team.