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Next Gen Stats highlight Bills struggles in New Jersey

Josh Allen was bad, defense was bad—everything was bad

NFL: NOV 06 Bills at Jets Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On a normal week where the Buffalo Bills win and the offense looks like its regular self, Next Gen Stats usually highlights just how good the Josh Allen-to-Stefon Diggs connection is. However, Week 9 was anything but normal for the Bills, who fell to the New York Jets, 20-17. Allen had one of the worst passing performances of his career, and the defense was exposed without either safety Jordan Poyer or linebacker Matt Milano on the field.

The Jets had no problem running the ball against Buffalo’s defense. The Bills noticeably struggled against the Green Bay Packers’ running game in Week 8, but against another team that isn’t great at passing the ball (the Jets), Buffalo never adjusted. Despite the Jets running all over them on the final drive, the defense stuck to two-high safeties, leaving the middle of the field wide open for running lanes.

Per Next Gen Stats, neither Jets running back, James Robinson nor Michael Carter, faced a single stacked box—and as a result, totaled 48 yards on 13 carries (-3 RYOE) and 76 yards on 12 carries (+41 RYOE, fourth-highest of the week), respectively.

When New York was forced to throw the ball, quarterback Zach Wilson rarely looked anywhere other than at wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who accounted for over half of the Jets’ air yards (51.6%, a career-high), again per Next Gen Stats. The Bills pressed Wilson on 73% of his routes, the highest rate faced by any player in a game this season, but that didn't faze him. He still caught eight balls for 92 yards.

Allen certainly posted his worst performance of the season, completing 18-of-34 passes for 205 yards and two interceptions. While he had the second-highest average intended air yards of the week (11.9), he only had an average completed air yards figure of 6.3 on his connections. His -5.7 average air yards differential was third-worst amongst quarterbacks last weekend, only better than Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota and Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis, per Next Gen Stats.

As for the final toss of the game from Allen to wide receiver Gabe Davis, the ball traveled 69.3 yards in the air, which marks the longest pass attempt in the NFL over the last six seasons. Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner was able to close in on Davis to create a small enough window to disrupt the pass—from 2.4 yards at throw to 0.4 at arrival.