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Breaking down the Bills’ passing offense woes in New Jersey

The Jets played well, but the Bills left a lot to be desired in scheme and execution, as well

New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills Set Number: x164230 TK1

The Buffalo Bills lost 20-17 to the New York Jets in their Week 9 matchup. The Bills relied heavily on Josh Allen’s legs to get their offense kickstarted in the first half. Allen produced nine carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to keep the Bills’ chances for victory alive, but what happened in the passing game?

Allen posted a measly 205 yards and two terrible-looking interceptions through the air. The Jets defense proved to be the real deal, getting to Allen for five sacks among numerous pressures and mixing up coverages to confuse the offense. Let’s take an All-22 view on how the Bills and Allen tried, and failed, to deal with the new-look Jets.

Josh Allen deep to Stefon Diggs

The game starts off with a great throw by Allen. It doesn’t get much better than this! Excellent protection, receiver Stefon Diggs freezes rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner with a stutter step, and Allen puts the pass on the money.

Beating pressure with scheme

The Jets pressured Allen for most of the game and caused the Bills offense many problems. But on plays like these, the Bills take that pressure out of the equation. I am not sure why they didn’t do more of these quick passes. A simple quick-out and three-step drop results in a good gain here for the Bills.

Pass protection prevents big play

The Jets get pressure on this play, which makes Allen come off his initial reads quickly and throw a dump-off pass. If left guard Rodger Saffold could have held his block slightly longer, Allen might have been able to find Gabe Davis wide open for a big gain.

Miscommunication, Part 1: Dawson Knox

I’m really not sure what Allen is thinking here; this looked awful. One of two things had to happen:

  1. Allen thinks that Knox is going to flatten his route and go straight to the sideline, so he throws it on that line. As you can see, Knox angles his route down the field, and I think he had a chance at a touchdown if Allen would have thrown it to where he was running.
  2. Allen short-arms the throw and has one of the worst interceptions he will ever throw.

Miscommunication, Part 2: Gabe Davis

There was some sort of miscommunication in this play between Allen and Davis. It is hard to know who is at fault, if it’s not both players, because sometimes routes that receivers run are based on the coverage they are facing. Here is my best guess: in Cover 1 (man-to-man), Davis is supposed to run an out (which he does), but in Cover 2 (the coverage the Jets play), Davis should run a vertical route to the “hole” where Allen throws it. To be honest, I’m not sure that it would have mattered what route Davis ran, I think it would have been picked off regardless.

Poor route spacing, Part 1

This play is all about the awful spacing that is displayed on these route combinations. It also doesn’t help that Allen is pressured, yet again.

Josh Allen misreads RPO

Allen misreads this RPO play, simple as that. The slot corner on the Jets does a good job of acting like he is biting on the run fake and then getting back into coverage to take away the quick pass to Diggs. The Bills had good numbers on the run side of the play, and I think it had a chance to be a solid gain if Allen handed it off.

Poor route spacing, Part 2

Another bad throw and near-interception by Allen on this play. The Jets show a Cover 2 look at the snap, but then drop into Cover 3 when the play starts. The wide receivers don’t have great spacing here; I would like to see the receiver at the top of the screen run his route in front of the linebackers to try and make them come up, which would leave a bigger window for Diggs’ route behind them.

Pressure, coverage disguise affect timing

The Jets play an interesting coverage here — It looks like Cover 2, but the outside corners play man-to-man, and everyone else plays a typical Cover 2. Even with this coverage, the Bills still have a chance at a touchdown. The pressure causes Allen to be late on throwing the ball and results in an underthrow, allowing the DB to catch up to Diggs and break up the pass.

Josh Allen is an alien

I’m throwing this one in here just for fun. Allen throws this ball 70 yards! It is just amazing to watch it in an All-22 view. Most people can’t even punt the ball this far. Also, it’d be nice to see Davis catch this pass; he had a rough day.

In summary

It’s no secret that the Bills had a rough game against the Jets, and Allen has not played his best football in the past game and a half. The Jets did a good job of mixing up their coverages and disguising their looks, which fooled Allen a few times. Allen’s decision-making, pass protection, route spacing, and play calling all need to be better if the Bills want to get back on track. They are too talented to not get it figured out soon.