The Buffalo Bills faced off against the New York Jets in what felt like a must-win game about as early as they come in the season. With recent struggles and headlines, no one was going to be satisfied with a squeaker, either — which of course we gladly didn’t receive.
While a major part of the narrative is the return of quarterback Josh Allen’s prowess, the defense made life agony for the Jets. It’s thankful season and who isn’t thankful for the six sacks that kept Buffalo on top of this season’s pressure leaderboards on the way to a rout of the Jets?
Play 1 — DE Shaq Lawson
The first sack of the day for Buffalo was courtesy of defensive end Shaq Lawson. Set up in a Wide 9 look, Lawson punched with both hands to the shoulders of offensive tackle Max Mitchell (#61). It looks here like a small jolt, but it was enough to make Mitchell recoil back. Lawson cut inside, wrapped up quarterback Zach Wilson and rolled to the finish line.
Play 2 — LB Terrel Bernard and EDGE Leonard Floyd
Kudos to Zach Wilson for eluding linebacker Terrel Bernard, who the Jets didn’t account for on the pass rush. The time he took to avoid the sack allowed edge rusher Leonard Floyd to come free. Floyd and Bernard of course met at the quarterback.
Play 3 — EDGE Leonard Floyd
Similar to Shaq Lawson on Play 1, Leonard Floyd created a little distance on Max Mitchell and used that to skirt around the tackle. Floyd used a single, long arm to the center of Mitchell’s chest rather than a double pop to the shoulder like Lawson. The end result was the same.
Play 4 — LB Tyrel Dodson
Sacks can come from a variety of situations, and linebacker Tyrel Dodson started off this play by spying Zach Wilson. The pass rush nearly hit home, but Wilson escaped and bolted right, narrowly avoiding a sack. Dodson was fast enough to the edge where this counted as one anyway.
Play 5 — DT Ed Oliver
Perhaps trying to make up for the play above, defensive tackle Ed Oliver stunted with defensive end A.J. Epenesa to get to the outside. Around the edge Oliver ran into left tackle Carter Warren (#67) who was ragdolled with a one-arm shove.
Play 6 — EDGE Leonard Floyd
Just because it’s backup quarterback Tim Boyle (then, not anymore) doesn’t mean a sack is any less fun. Leonard Floyd attacked the outside from a standing Wide 9 look. As he neared the pile of bodies he could choose to keep going around the edge or change depth and cut back in. Boyle nearly escaped but Floyd observably ran him down.
The Final Straw
You could say the bulk of what’s presented here illustrate plays where savvy and talented veterans are picking on a rookie tackle and another who wasn’t starting at the beginning of the season. That’s fair. What’s also fair is that winning games often comes down to exploiting matchups. The Buffalo Bills did that and more against the New York Jets in Week 11. When it’s there, take it.