ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Here are my five takeaways from the Buffalo Bills’ 45-17 victory against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium:
1. Statement made!
After last Sunday’s embarrassment at Jacksonville, the Bills needed to deliver a definitive message about their status as a presumptive upper-tier team. They did exactly that with the sort of convincing win that needed to happen versus an inferior opponent. The “real” Bills showed up for this one.
The 9-6 loss against the Jaguars notwithstanding, the Bills had every reason to expect they’d perform as they did Sunday. They have a great defense. They have a far better offense than the one that showed up in Jacksonville, and through more than half of the Week 8 triumph against Miami.
2. Welcome back, Bills offense, circa 2020.
For the record, the Jets’ defense is awful. Of course, the Bills found a way to have one of their all-time worst offensive showings against a not-so-great Jaguars D.
But this was a necessary atonement for that performance. Not so much for the many fans and media types who did or were ready to push the panic button. The Bills needed this for themselves, something to boost or at least reinforce their confidence.
The offensive line did a 180 from its disastrous outing a week ago. Receivers consistently got separation, as they should have against a terrible secondary. And Josh Allen comfortably sat in the pocket, made his reads, and found his targets at all levels. He threw for 366 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
In short, the Bills’ 2020 offense was on display.
3. The Bills’ defense maintained its dominant form.
The one constant of this Bills season has been the defense’s ability to smother and demoralize opposing offenses. Not surprisingly, that happened Sunday. The Bills forced five turnovers, including four interceptions of Mike White.
Buffalo’s D was in charge of this game from the start. It was simply a matter of its offense doing its part to put the game away.
4. Sean McDermott rebounded in a big way.
After failing miserably in getting his team ready to face the Jaguars, the Bills’ coach did a superb job of preparing his players to give a top-level effort Sunday.
The Bills showed great energy from the start, and it carried through in all phases. Even more impressive was their sense of discipline. They drew seven accepted penalties, five fewer than a week ago, while the Jets had nine.
5. The Bills are a solid 6-3, but competition for the AFC East championship and conference supremacy remains tight.
The New England Patriots pounded Cleveland to improve to 6-4 and continue to be a serious challenger for the division crown. The Tennessee Titans beat New Orleans to stay on top of the AFC at 8-2.
The mission for the Bills is to now effectively negotiate a fairly tough stretch of their schedule that has them at home next week against Indianapolis, at New Orleans on Thanksgiving night, home against New England, at Tampa Bay, home against Carolina, at New England, and back-to-back home games against Atlanta and the Jets to close out the regular season.
A quality team, which is what the Bills are, should be expected to acquit itself well.