The Bills welcome Zach Wilson to the NFL
Welcome to Plays That Defined 2021! This ain’t your usual game recap. Here’s what to do. Pretend you’ve just written a novel and it’s time to select the cover art. You want a single picture that tells the reader what it’s all about, right? That’s the deal here. Vote for the play that best tells the “story” of this game. Which GIF is the best “cover art” for…
Week 18: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
The Jets hadn’t been able to take off all year, and were closing out their season in Orchard Park where the Buffalo Bills were starting to taxi for the playoffs. At times it seemed Buffalo was content to glide for long stretches. Even with their foot off the gas, they ended up winning with a three-score margin. Check the numbers below—some of the stats from this game went plaid.
Harrison Phillips/Taron Johnson tackle for loss (Q1, 10:42)
On the very first offensive play from scrimmage the Jets lost ground. Buffalo had 11 tackles for a loss, starting with this one. The shared stat between Harrison Phillips and Taron Johnson highlights how the entire defensive unit smothered the opposition in this game. We’ll talk about how woeful the passing stats were for Zach Wilson soon enough. For now I’ll highlight how their ground game averaged 2.82 yards per carry.
Boogie Basham’s sack (Q2, 10:54))
Buffalo’s first sack of the day didn’t come until nearly four minutes into the second quarter (the play right before this one). They made up for lost time in a big way though, racking up a total of nine. That’s over one-fifth of their season total in this game alone. After missing Zach Wilson the first time they met, Buffalo made sure the defense all said hello. Jordan Poyer and Mario Addison both led the team with two sacks. And would you believe the Bills had ten QB hits on top of the sacks as well? Roughly two-thirds of the time Wilson dropped back he was either hit or taken down. He ended the game with a 35% completion rate, which makes perfect sense based on the rest of the cited stats. Why use this one from Basham? The first sack of the day referenced above came with a trick play where Jamison Crowder was technically the QB.
Keelan Cole’s touchdown (Q2, 4:01)
As you might have seen this year, sometimes it’s easier to highlight a trend with the outlier. This 40-yard touchdown from Zach Wilson to Keelan Cole was nearly half of Wilson’s total for the day. Combined with the sacks noted above, the Jets ended the day with a net of five yards passing. This was also the longer of their two scoring drives—set up by an absolutely dreadful punt from Matt Haack that gave the Jets the ball at midfield. One more fun stat here. The Jets has 14 third-down and one fourth-down conversion attempt. They obviously converted the fourth (this play). That matched the number of third-down conversions they had all day.
Matt Haack’s fumble (Q3, 5:38)
There’s an argument to be made that this game would have been a shutout, or at least a bigger blowout, if it weren’t for Matt Haack. In addition to multiple terrible punts, this happened. The Jets managed to LOSE eight yards on the ensuing drive and were still within field goal range for their second and final score of the day.
Devin Singletary’s touchdown (Q4, 8:25)
While the offense as a whole did pretty well, it was the running game that provided the steady presence for the day. Devin Singletary averaged over 4.6 yards per carry on 19 tries. He added a touchdown on the ground and another in the passing game during the fourth quarter to seal the Jets’ fate. Until this touchdown the Jets were only trailing by three points, which is pretty crazy all things considered.