The 2022 NFL regular season has concluded, and the Buffalo Bills are gearing up to face the Miami Dolphins in the playoffs for Super Wild Card Weekend. However, Buffalo did just beat the New England Patriots, 35-23, and Next Gen Stats (NGS) highlighted multiple Bills players who stood out and made differences — particularly quarterback Josh Allen, wide receivers Stefon Diggs and John Brown, and kick returner Nyheim Hines.
As always, let’s dive into the statistics that highlight Buffalo’s playmakers.
Allen had two beautiful throws on Sunday that only a few other quarterbacks in the league can make — one to Diggs, and the other to Brown.
The 42-yard touchdown to Brown had a 42.9% completion probability and an air distance of 41.8 yards, per NGS. Allen’s time to throw was an eye-popping 5.34 seconds. Since the start of 2021, he leads the league in deep touchdown passes when holding onto the ball for four-plus seconds (7).
One quarter later, Allen found Diggs streaming down the left sideline for a 49-yard touchdown. Diggs, who reached a top speed of 20.48 miles per hour on the scoring play, ended the season with the second-highest receptions over expected with +10.4 — only 0.2 behind Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Per NGS, the ball traveled 62.2 yards in the air — the third-longest completion by air distance this season. Allen averaged 10.8 air yards per completion and 14.3 air yards per attempt — second-highest in both metrics in Week 18 — while tying for the third-best NGS passing score of the week (87). Since 2018, he has a league-high five completions traveling 60+ yards in the air.
One thing to note specifically about the way the Patriots opted to play against Allen: New England ranked fourth in usage rate of Cover 1 (31.6% from Weeks 1-17), but played it just 21.2% of the time against Buffalo, which ranked as the fifth-lowest for them all season. They instead opted to use more zone coverage, but Allen was 15-of-23 for 219 yards and two touchdowns against it.
In storybook fashion, Hines returned the opening kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown, reaching a top speed of 21.25 miles per hour — the fastest by a Bills ball carrier this season. He then did it again in the second half for 101 yards, becoming the 11th player in NFL history to have two kickoff return touchdowns in a game, and the first since 2010.