For the second consecutive week, the Buffalo Bills absolutely smoked an opponent. This time, it was the Washington Football Team, as Buffalo defeated their visiting NFC East Division foes 43-21 in a game that wasn’t really as close as even that blowout score would suggest.
Aside from a Herculean effort from Antonio Gibson and a fluke play on a kickoff, Buffalo was dominant throughout. Even including those plays, the Bills were far and away the best team on the field on Sunday.
We had some hits and some misses among our players to watch this week. Here’s how our spotlight group fared.
QB Josh Allen
Now that was more like it. Allen was in the driver’s seat from the jump, as he led the Bills on an eight-play, 75-yard drive to start the game. He sealed that with a gorgeous 28-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, and that description really doesn’t do it justice. He threw an absolute rope on the run and put it in a spot where only Sanders could make a play in the end zone. He followed that up with two more touchdown passes prior to the midway point of the second quarter—hitting Zack Moss for a seven-yard score early in quarter two before hitting Dawson Knox on another beautiful throw-and-catch, this one from 14 yards out. Allen finished his day by accounting for five touchdowns—four passing (he added another to Sanders in the third quarter) and one rushing, a two-yard scamper to make it 43-14 in the fourth quarter. Allen finished by completing 74 percent of his passes (32-of-43) for 358 yards and four touchdowns, adding four rushes for nine yards and a score to his ledger. Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. This was a surgically precise version of Allen that could lead Buffalo deep into the playoffs this winter.
WR Stefon Diggs
Diggs once again put up solid-but-unspectacular numbers, and he was outshined by his teammates in this one. He saw ten targets, which was second on the team, and made six catches for 62 yards. That’s not a bad line by any stretch, but after Diggs lit the league on fire last year, his early statistical output has been far closer to average. This is probably because more teams are playing the Bills in zone this year, and when they do that, it allows other players to shine. Kudos to commenter Chan the Man 25 for noting that this could be a solid “Third and Cole” day, and Beasley led the team in targets (13), receptions (10), and receiving yards (98) in what was a banner day for the offense as a whole.
RT Daryl Williams
Just two weeks after being abused by T.J. Watt, Williams drew the second-year phenom Chase Young. Had Williams played poorly, it could have undone some of the good Allen had going on, but Williams was acceptable-to-above-average this time around. He neutralized Young for much of the afternoon, as the former No. 2 overall pick was frustrated all day. Young is still sackless in 2021, and Williams held his ground to do his part in keeping it so.
DE A.J. Epenesa
Speaking of players who are still without a sack, Epenesa was unable to put Taylor Heinicke on the ground, so he’s still looking for his first sack of the campaign. He wasn’t officially credited with any pressures or quarterback hits, either, and he finished with just one tackle. Buffalo rushed four for most of the game, choosing to play contain-and-cover rather than blitz Heinicke. The reason seemed fairly simple: Buffalo didn’t think Washington’s backup quarterback was good enough to beat them, and that proved to be true. Epenesa played 20 snaps, showing that he’s still a big part of the defensive line rotation moving forward.
CB Dane Jackson
Both Jackson and starting CB2 Levi Wallace were on the injury report this week, and there was some concern early that Wallace may miss time or be limited thanks to the “irritation” in his knee that kept him out of the back end of Buffalo’s 35-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Wallace was healthy enough to play all 54 defensive snaps, though, so Jackson was a nonfactor in the game, playing only eight snaps on special teams.