The Buffalo Bills thoroughly embarrassed the Houston Texans on Sunday, winning 40-0 in a game that somehow was closer than it should have been. Had the Bills not stalled out in the red zone on three first-half drives, they might have hung a 60-spot on Houston. Instead, they settled for 40.
Buffalo was dominant in all three phases of the game, but the defense especially shined brightly. The Bills forced five turnovers, had three sacks, and allowed a mere 109 total net yards, many of which were gained in the fourth quarter when the Bills’ backups had entered the game.
Our players to watch were a little hit-and-miss this week, but they were mostly hits. Here’s how our five players fared this week.
G Cody Ford
Buffalo’s starting right guard for this one was Daryl Williams, who had started the previous 20 regular season games at right tackle. Rookie Spencer Brown started at right tackle. Ford only entered when Dion Dawkins left for an injury—at that point, Brown shifted to left tackle and Williams back to right tackle. Head coach Sean McDermott said that he hasn’t lost confidence in Ford, but he instead made a lineup switch for the good of the team. That sounds an awful lot like the coach-speak version of losing faith in a guy who’s not been nearly as good as expected throughout his first three years in the league. After Brown straight-up manhandled Houston defenders all afternoon, it will be nearly impossible to justify taking him off the field, meaning that Ford is probably the odd man out on the line.
G Ike Boettger
Ike played every snap at left guard in place of Jon Feliciano, who missed the game with a concussion. Maybe it’s just because Houston isn’t very good, but the Bills had no trouble running the ball on Sunday for the first time in what seemed like a very long time. Buffalo running backs carried 28 times for 140 yards and a touchdown. Could the Bills go with a line of (left to right) Dion Dawkins, Ike Boettger, Mitch Morse, Daryl Williams, and Spencer Brown? Will Feliciano force his way back into the lineup? Will Boettger remain on the bench once Feliciano is healthy? There are so many questions left to be answered here thanks to a strong performance from two of Buffalo’s reserves on Sunday.
TE Dawson Knox
This is one of those calls that feels really good because I put my proverbial money where my mouth is. I needed a tight end for my fantasy league, and Knox was on the waiver wire. So, I added him. Josh Allen proceeded to target Knox eight times, and the third-year tight end caught five passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns. That gives Knox four touchdowns through four games. Scott Chandler (2011 and 2012) and Pete Metzelaars (1992) are tied for the franchise record for touchdown receptions by a tight end in a single season with six. After an offseason where Knox was rumored to be replaced by essentially anyone, the young man has clearly come out with a chip on his shoulder. If teams continue to ignore him in the red zone, Bill Brooks’s franchise record of 11 touchdown receptions is in reach. And if they start doubling him? Well, then one of Buffalo’s myriad other weapons will find themselves in favorable matchups. Knox is on pace for a 60/576/16 line, and while the touchdown pace is unlikely to keep up, I’m sure that any Buffalo fan would sign up for a 60-catch season from the tight end.
DE Jerry Hughes
Another week, another game spent wondering whether Jerry Hughes is going to notch a sack. Someone registered his first sack on Sunday, but it wasn’t Hughes—that honor went to rookie Boogie Basham, who took down quarterback Davis Mills in the first quarter. Hughes had one tackle and he deflected a pass at the line, too, but he didn’t create much in the way of pressure. This week, the Bills travel to Missouri to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, so they’ll need to generate plenty of pass rush in order to handle Patrick Mahomes and the reigning AFC champs.
S Jaquan Johnson
I’ve been #TeamJaquan for a while now, and he played great on Sunday. Johnson notched his first interception that counted in the game (he had a pick of Sam Darnold in the regular-season finale two years ago, but it was called back due to a penalty), as he leapt high to intercept Davis Mills during CBS’s impromptu version of a bootleg Manning-Cast after the power went out at Highmark Stadium. Johnson finished with two tackles, a pass breakup, and the aforementioned interception. One of his tackles came on special teams. Even reserve Damar Hamlin had a nice pass breakup in this one, so the Bills showed off their depth in the secondary during the blowout win.