Vote for the play that defined the 2020 home opener!
What if someone told you they had the audacity to miss a Bills game? What if you could show them one play, and one play only, to recap the whole thing? What play would you choose? Welcome to Plays that defined 2020…
The season opener! The home opener! The New York Jets were coming to town to continue the Josh Allen/Sam Darnold rivalry. If the Buffalo Bills wanted to improve following their Wild Card loss the prior year, a statement game against a division rival would be a good start.
But surely the familiar foe would put up a fight! Or not. The Bills jumped out to a 21-point lead until a Ficken field goal put the Jets on the board before the half. Buffalo took their foot off the gas after halftime but still cruised to an easy win.
Defensive stop (Q1, 10:17)
The Jets got off to a rough start, in large part thanks to a solid Buffalo Bills defensive effort. The Jets got one first down in the entire first quarter and that aforementioned field goal. The Bills’ offense took advantage and the first two quarters were entirely lopsided.
Fourth-Down Conversion (Q2, 12:02)
Plenty of fans and pundits have called head coach Sean McDermott conservative during his time in Buffalo. In 2020, McDermott and the Bills put that narrative to rest. Up by two scores the Bills elected to add more nails to the Jets’ coffin by going for it.
As an aside, the data fully supports the assertion that there’s been a major shift in Buffalo play-calling tendencies.
Allen to Stefon Diggs (Q3, 5:04)
This play was selected for two reasons. First and foremost, the addition of Stefon Diggs was a primary catalyst for the gigantic step forward the Bills’ offense took in 2020. This “only” went for eight yards but shows off the raw talent Diggs brings to the field. Secondly, the wealth of talent on the field allowed the Bills to stay on the field to dominate the game.
Despite only scoring six points in the second half, the insanely skewed time of possession meant the Jets never had a shot at a comeback. How skewed was it? The Bills had the ball for 41 minutes and 17 seconds. They ran 87 plays. Against Houston in 2019, Buffalo ran 85. That game went nearly 12 minutes into overtime and still had two fewer offensive plays from Buffalo than this one.
Tyler Bass field goal (Q4, 10:52)
You could make an argument that this kick or the next one from 19 yards were both a bit conservative from the Bills. The better argument might be that the game was never really close and the coasting Bills were able to get their rookie kicker some low-pressure attempts to get started in the NFL. After two misses in the third quarter (from 38 and 34 yards), McDermott’s decision to keep testing Tyler Bass paid off.
Josh Allen to Dawson Knox (Q4, 5:30)
Josh Allen had 297 yards passing before this 15-yard completion to Dawson Knox. Josh Allen, Franchise Quarterback, had arrived.
It’s time to vote for the play that defined the game. Remember, it’s the play that best tells the overall story of this contest, not necessarily a favorite play or best highlight.
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