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Takeaways: Buffalo Bills drop a 40-burger and shut out the Houston Texans

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

I don’t know what kind of takeaways we can expect from this game, honestly. The Buffalo Bills were not on their game. The offense was not playing great. None of that mattered. Despite not firing on all cylinders, they just full-on throttled the Houston Texans. It was a massacre, led by the defense and eventually the offense caught up.

Zero is the loneliest number

Next week is the real measuring stick for the Bills’ defense, but you can only beat the teams on your schedule, right? Buffalo is continuing to drive inferior competition into the ground. This was their second shutout of the season, tying the franchise record set twice previously. 40-0 is the largest shutout in team history. They beat the Miami Dolphins 35-0 two weeks ago, so they have a 75-0 margin of victory in their two shutouts. It was the largest margin of defeat in Texans history.

Bills’ defense continues dominating inferior opponents

This mismatch was showcased almost from the beginning. The Texans has 18 yards on 14 plays in the first quarter, including -6 net passing yards. They had 4 net yards after their first 20 plays and finished with 8 net yards in the entire first half after doubling the number on their final play of the second quarter. Every time they called a pass play in the first half, Houston lost two yards, on average. They finished with six first downs, were 1-of-9 on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth down, barely got to 109 total yards, and were able to muster 2.6 yards per play (not including penalties). Their 61 passing yards were padded in the final minutes of the game, but also led to their final of five turnovers as Davis Mills threw his fourth interception. Buffalo held the ball for more than 38 minutes and notched five total turnovers.

Red zone offense is concerning, but that one TD was *chef’s kiss*

First let’s talk about the red zone TD that I absolutely loved. On the half-yard line after the Josh Allen touchdown run that was ruled short, the Bills lined up for an RPO a couple minutes into the fourth quarter. It was a brilliant play design. Allen could have handed off to the running back, which drew the uncovered linebacker inside. Instead, he pulled out the ball. Then the defensive back crashed on Allen running for the goal line while the deeper defensive back handled the wide receiver. That just left Dawson Knox with no one near him for the flick and score. Easy touchdown, ho hum. Buffalo’s four previous trips to the red zone were four field goals, though. That’s not going to cut it against good teams and hopefully offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was just saving good play design for later in the season. The Bills also punched it in on their final two red zone trips with the game well in hand on a four-yard Zack Moss run and a four-yard Mitch Trubisky bootleg.

Power outage alters broadcast

Tiki Barber was not great, so when the power went out in the third quarter and we were treated to the CBS studio broadcast team instead of the game call, it was welcome. A car accident at McKinley and Milestrip road took place earlier on Sunday and then caused the power outage. It was not a stadium issue, despite the many jokes about how the Pegulas pulled the plug and claimed they needed a new stadium.

Injuries a concern, but not for this win

The Bills came in without Jordan Poyer and Taron Jonson in their secondary and Jon Feliciano on their offensive line, but all of them should be back for next week. During the game, Matt Milano left with a hamstring injury. That’s a big blow heading into the game against the Kansas City Chiefs if one of their best players can’t go against the Patrick Mahomes offense. Also in the injury tent was Taiwan Jones, a core special teams player who missed the second half of the game. We will have to wait and see how this shakes out.