CAPACCIO: Bills-Jets: Arrow Up/Arrow Down

The Bills are atop the division after one week of play

Sal Capaccio
September 10, 2017 - 11:02 pm

One game, one win. Say it with me: The Bills are in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.  

And with that, the Arrows begin.


S Jordan Poyer

I thought Poyer was the best player on either defensive side of the field Sunday, and his stat line reflected it. Three tackles, one for a loss, one sack, one quarterback hurry, one interception, two passes defended. That’s a full day’s work. And a really good one. Poyer was all over the field, used as a run-stopper, a blitzer, and a centerfielder. And he played each role well.

S Micah Hyde

Poyer’s partner on the back end didn’t have the same filled-up stat line, but he was consistent and solid all afternoon, and was rewarded with a game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter.

LB Ramon Humber

Humber led the team with 13 tackles. The next closest players on the Bills’ defense were cornerbacks Leonard Johnson and E.J. Gaines with five each.

RB LeSean McCoy

Shady did what Shady does. While there were plenty of runs that didn’t go very far, and the Jets were clearly concentrating on stopping McCoy by loading the box, he still banged out 110-yards on 22 carries for an average of 5.0 yards per-run. But he also added a team-high five catches for another 49 yards - a total of 159-yards from scrimmage. And with all that, McCoy became the 60th player in NFL history to surpass 12,000 career yards from scrimmage.

Rushing defense

The Bills started the regular season the way they played most of the preseason - stingy against the run. They allowed only 38 total yards and an average of a measly 2.5 yards per-run. Individually, the Bills held Bilal Powell to just 22-yards and Matt Forte to only 16. All that combined with a two-score lead in the second half led to the Jets being one-dimensional. From there, it was "game over."

3rd down defense

The Jets converted just 4 of 14 (29%) third down attempts for the entire game. They didn’t get a first down until the second quarter. 

Explosive plays

The Bills offense had eight plays of 20-yards or more. Five passes, three runs. Of the passes, most were big because of big runs after the catch, including Jordan Matthews’ 47-yard reception, the longest of the game for either team.

Big plays allowed

I wrote above the Bills offense had eight plays of 20-yards or more. That’s a nice number. But it's even better when you consider the defense only gave up two of those. A 25-yard and 21-yard reception.

TE Charles Clay

Clay had a big role in the game, and made some key catches for quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He led the team in receiving targets with nine and was second in yards with 53, also scoring the Bills’ first touchdown of the season.



TE Charles Clay

Yep. Clay appears on both lists. The first player to ever do that in this column. It’s because he had a nice game statistically and made some big plays. But that first touchdown he scored should have come earlier when he had the ball go off his hands in the end zone at the end of a terrific drive to open the game. Then, he also had two plays that could have been called fumbles if it weren’t for the officials determining he didn't have possession when the ball came out. But he should have had possession. He should have caught both.

K Stephen Hauschka

Not a great start for the Bills placekicker who hooked a 46-yard field goal badly to the left. That would have given them a 10-3 lead but it kept the Jets within four points.

WR usage

Tyrod Taylor completed a total of 16 passes. But only four of those were to wideouts. Jordan Matthews had two of them, while Zay Jones and Andre Holmes each had only one. Even though Holmes’ catch was for a touchdown, that’s not going to be a recipe for wins most weeks. The Bills have to find a way to threaten teams with their wide receivers, at least a little bit.

No downfield passing

This can go hand-in-hand with the wide receiver point above. It’s probably going to have to be one of those guys who becomes the team’s downfield threat. But there really was none of that at all Sunday. Until there is, LeSean McCoy and the running game will continue to see an extra player in the box defending the run, making it tougher to do what they do best.  



Yes, it was the Jets. I get it. No need to keep making sure everyone knows. But here’s the thing: The Bills - or any team - can only play who is on their schedule, do the best they can with it, and shouldn’t have to apologize for that. The Bills dominated this game, for the most part. They outgained the Jets by almost 200 yards (408 - 214). The rushing yards were 190 - 38. They more than doubled the number of first downs (23 - 11). But they made big mistakes at key times, which is why the final margin was only nine points. Although New York really never threatened to take over the game at any point, the Bills’ own mistakes kept them close enough to give hope. It was a nice win to open the season. But they’ll certainly have to clean some things up if they want to beat better teams - which is pretty much everyone else on their schedule.

That starts next week at Carolina, where head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane return to face their former employers. They’ll want to show they are capable of building a winner on their own in Buffalo. And the Panthers will want to make sure they aren’t shown-up by their own former staff. Both teams will go into the game 1-0, which oh, by the way, puts the Bills alone atop the AFC East.  


Enjoy it, Bills fans.

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