If this was the pre-Week 8 Buffalo Bills, these Next Gen Stats (NGS) would highlight just how good quarterback Josh Allen was, or how elite the defense had been playing—but knowing the Bills, they can’t make things easy. They have now lost back-to-back games to the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, dropping them down to third in the AFC East.
Let’s start with Allen, because he has just been bad since the second half of the Week 8 Green Bay Packers game, where his streak of interceptions began. He has thrown two interceptions in three straight games, bringing his total to a league-leading 10. Buffalo hasn’t scored a second-half touchdown since Week 6.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs continues to be the lone bright spot in Buffalo’s offense these past few weeks. Per NGS, he caught a league-high 12 catches on 16 targets (second-most) while tying third-most for yards (128).
The run game was humming in the first half and looked arguably the best its looked all season, but the Bills completely abandoned it in the second half, even though they had a three-possession lead at one point. Running back Devin Singletary didn’t face a single stacked box, totaling 13 carries for 47 yards (+1 RYOE).
On defense, Buffalo came into the game with crucial injuries and had its struggles, but defensive tackle Ed Oliver stepped up. Again per NGS, he posted a career-high 11 quarterback pressures, marking the most by a defensive tackle this season.
On Minnesota’s side of the field, running back Dalvin Cook reached a top speed of 21.68 MPH on his 81-yard touchdown run, which marks the third-fastest speed by a ball carrier this season. Quarterback Kirk Cousins posted flashy-looking stats (357 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) but also the fourth-worst passer rating in the league for the week, at 71.8. With the help of wide receiver Justin Jefferson, he still completed a positive figure of completed passes over expectation percentage at +1%.
Buckle up, Bills Mafia. We’re about to talk about the play. Jefferson’s 32-yard reception on 4th & 18 had a 28.8% completion probability, his sixth reception of the game sub-50%. Before that play, Minnesota had just a 12.9% win probability, but the catch alone boosted it to 21.5%. Jefferson ended the game with nine catches with a completion probability under 50%, and a total of 10 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown (+19.4% CROE). No other player has had more than six in the Next Gen Stats era. He also faced the lowest average cushion (2.8 yards) and tied third-lowest average separation (1.5 yards) among receivers this week.