Our (mostly) All-22 tour of the Buffalo Bills’ takeaways during the 2022 season continues! Hopefully you’ve checked out B.J. Monacelli’s review of the first and very plentiful handful of turnovers. I’ll set our sights from Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens all the way to Week 9 and the loss against the New York Jets (boo). We have a lot of film to cover so let’s dive right in.
Jordan Poyer’s first INT against Baltimore Ravens — Week 4
Once in awhile a pass deflection goes well for the offense — this wasn’t one of those times. Defensive tackle Prince Emili got a hand up at the right time and quarterback Lamar Jackson’s pass went mostly up. Author’s note: “Up” is not the direction that the Baltimore receivers ran. With the pass now fair game, Jordan Poyer used his baseball* experience to catch the fly ball.
*Poyer was drafted by the Florida Marlins, which is a thing I learned attending the first annual Micah Hyde Charity Softball game. Tickets for the 2023 game are on sale now here. I had a great time and it supports a great cause.
Jordan Poyer’s second INT vs. Baltimore Ravens — Week 4
I covered this one during the season but it’s never a bad thing to double GIF such a great play. A lot was made about Jordan Poyer’s closing speed on this interception at the time and, honestly, I think that the closing speed discussion is a bit of hogwash. Pardon my language. Not that Poyer isn’t athletic but the red line vs. blue line stop was when Lamar Jackson started to throw. The distance traveled by Poyer is far shorter than what the ball had to cover.
Why am I ranting about the closing-speed argument? It downplays the real conversation, which is Poyer’s mental game. He started off looking like he was going to cover the middle of the field. He recognized that the corner was going to come open and made an excellent decision to get there ASAP.
Taron Johnson’s fumble recovery vs. Pittsburgh Steelers — Week 5
This one was pretty much a gift. The ball went up for grabs after making contact with the returner and then bouncing around. Taron Johnson tracked it and made a clean recovery at full sprint.
Kaiir Elam’s first career INT vs. Pittsburgh Steelers — Week 5
The game wasn’t even at the half and it was basically over, which quite frankly was awesome. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett was already under immense pressure to make something happen. The throw appeared to fall a little short, which is not a critique of Kaiir Elam’s defensive play here. He was in position to break up even a great pass.
On a floater like this, the result is even better.
Kaiir Elam’s INT vs. Kansas City Chiefs — Week 6
Hello again Kaiir Elam. The real star here though was the pressure up front and then excellent pursuit and pressure from defensive end Boogie Basham. The game was really just getting going and “live to play another down” would have been acceptable. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw into traffic. He couldn’t get much zip on the ball and the winner of the jump was Elam.
Taron Johnson’s game-clinching INT vs. Kansas City — Week 6
After losing a close game to the Chiefs the season before where a 13-second drive was problematic, 56 seconds was downright nerve-racking. I’m not really sure what else to say about this play other than it appears as though nickel corner Taron Johnson read this play almost like he saw the play call. He knew he had help on his primary assignment, read the throw and bailed to the underneath route. The end result, of course, being a game-clinching interception.
Matt Milano’s INT vs. Green Bay Packers — Week 8
The Packers were down by 17 at this point, which was a tall order for even quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers under center though, miracles can never be ruled out. Unless you’re Tim Settle Jr. and Matt Milano that is. They helped shut down this drive with a deflection and interception.
A.J. Epenesa’s fumble recovery vs. New York Jets — Week 9
This was the type of chaos that edge rusher Von Miller was tasked with creating when the Bills signed him last offseason. Miller made beating the right tackle here look laughably easy. As he got the sack on Zach Wilson the ball came loose. A.J. Epenesa was the first to the ball.
That’s it for this edition, with plenty more on tap! Check out the next set of takeaways as B.J. continues the series with Part 3.