Written by Bobby Greco
Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season actually happened and it was pretty successful. Minus the fact that there were no fans in the stadiums, I think the league did a very good job keeping the game exciting and the teams deserve a lot of credit for that. With such a wild offseason there was of course some week 1 sloppiness, but it was really no more than usual. One thing that really surprised me was how clean the tackling was, I definitely expected a lot of missed tackles and that just wasn’t the case.
As I noted in my season preview, the Buffalo Bills were coming into this season as the favorites in the AFC East for the first time 1995, and week 1 had the Bills up against the division rival New York Jets. This was the perfect opportunity for the Bills to flex their muscles vs a young Jets team still trying to find their identity and I think they did for the most part. Though the final score of 27-17 was only a 10 point difference, the game was never that close. I thought Buffalo looked very good on both sides of the ball and without the few hiccups, they had a real chance of a blowout.
Offensively the Bills came out firing and were only stopped by a Josh Allen fumble. The team capitalized on their next three drives and jumped out to a 21-0 lead, thankfully for the Jets this wasn’t a game of Madden. The Bills coaching staff clearly understood that the Jets D-Line was the strongest part of the defense, as Allen dropped back to pass 46 times and threw for a career-high 312 yards with 2TD. He also looked with all the WRs, including the newest addition to the team in Stefon Diggs. Diggs led the team with 8rec and 86yards, which is nice to see with such a different offseason. On the downside of things, I think Buffalo abandoned the run too much this week and with such a talented offense I feel Josh Allen should absolutely not be the leading rusher. Had they tried to get the ball to their backs more ways, the two fumbles don’t happen and the game would have most likely been finished by halftime. I understand Josh is a physically imposing and athletic QB, but as we saw with Cam Newton in Carolina, taking that many hits can’t last forever.
Defensively the game went as expected and Buffalo kept the Jets offense grounded. On every level, Buffalo’s defense won their battles and didn’t allow a first down until the 2nd quarter. The D-Line looked more aggressive and the pass rush was much more efficient than last year. Even though it’s only a small sample size, it appears the Bills hit on all the signings across the line this offseason. You really have to give the Bills coaching staff a lot of credit here, because they had a lot of turnover up front and yet they looked like they played together for years. The linebacker duo of Edmunds and Milano proved once again to be one of the most productive young LB duos in the NFL, but both did suffer minor injuries and are considered day-to-day. This also showed the improvement in the D-Line, because the Bills had two backup LBs in during the 4th quarter and the pass rush made it so there was no drop-off. The Bills secondary as usual was lockdown, holding Darnold to 215 yards, 70 of those yards came on a Crowder touchdown. Had Allen did not fumble twice, there is a real chance Buffalo could have pitched a shutout. Either way, the defense performed as expected and will look to build off of this next week.
Buffalo has very high expectations this season, both inside and outside of the building and I think week 1 showed they are going to be up to the challenge. With McDermott in charge, I don’t see this team resting on their expectations, instead, I see them building week by week until they accomplish what they want to and bring a playoff game back to Buffalo. Now I am not saying they don’t have improvements to make, I just “Billieve” in the people in place and that they will make sure the team is able to accomplish all they set out to do.