Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer’s return to action action against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 was big news for the defense. After missing Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins due to injury, Poyer returned to the field with a vengeance. At game’s end, Poyer’s incredible day consisted of six total tackles, three passes defended, and two very key interceptions. Buffalo’s All-Pro safety certainly showed out on the stat sheet, but he also made plenty of plays under the radar. Let’s take a look at some film from last Sunday.
Nothing shows up on the stat sheet here, but plays like these are what make him truly elite. At first glance, it may not seem like Poyer’s doing anything special, but he ends up taking away a deep outlet throw for quarterback Lamar Jackson. Watch Poyer as he moves all the way across the field as Jackson scrambles to the sideline. He realizes that Jackson can’t throw back to the middle of the field, so he moves with the play to find someone to cover. If Poyer didn’t make this journey all the way across the field, Jackson might have had an open receiver running free behind the secondary. Instead, the play went for a minimal gain.
A savvy veteran, Poyer understands how to command a secondary. As this play unfolds, watch how he directs traffic and communicates with teammates. Even though the Ravens end up gaining some yards on a checkdown pass here, Poyer makes sure the secondary takes away any deep balls. It’s great to have his leadership back on the field after what appeared to be some slight communication issues with the depleted secondary in Week 3.
Here the Bills play Cover 1 (man-to-man with one high safety). Buffalo played more man-to-man versus the Ravens than I’ve seen in previous weeks. Poyer shows off his coverage skills on this 3rd & 5 play. The most important thing here is that Poyer stays patient. He never opens up his hips and maintains his leverage while widening with the wide receiver. This allows Poyer to break on the ball when the wide receiver goes inside.
Poyer is known for his superb tackling skills. This play is an example of an excellent open-field tackle on one of the NFL’s most elusive players in Jackson. The Bills are once again in Cover 1, but this time Poyer is the high safety. When he realizes the offense is running a draw play, he quickly runs upfield ten yards, closing the gap between Jackson and himself. Poyer only gives Jackson one side to run to and then takes out his legs, making this difficult play look super easy.
Play 5 (first interception)
Whatever Poyer’s awareness rating is on Madden 23, they need to increase it. The ball pops up into the air after it hits a defensive lineman’s helmet. Some might say this interception was a “right place, right time” scenario, but pay attention to how he doesn’t wait for the ball to fall to him, he jumps up in the air to high-point the football before anyone else could knock it down.
Play 6 (second interception)
An All-Pro play here by Poyer. With the lead on the line and 4th & GOAL, he bails out the Bills with an incredible interception. It seems as though Poyer initially loses track of the intended receiver but recognizes that Jackson is about to scramble. When he begins to scramble, the secondary has one job—find someone to cover! Once Poyer finds the person he needs to cover, he sprints there and beats the wide receiver to the football for his second interception of the game.
Poyer came back from injury with a bang, notching a pair of interceptions that have him currently atop the league with four picks. In case you were wondering, his career-high in a season is five interceptions. He’s almost to his season-best total four games into 2022. Do you think Poyer can hit double-digits with ten or more interceptions this season? Regardless, Bills Mafia is undoubtedly happy to have Poyer back on the field going forward.