A win is a win, right? That phrase is undoubtedly enshrined in the "coach speak hall of fame," along with gems like, "next man up," and "we're taking things one week at a time." After regurgitating the latter two sentiments over the past two weeks, the Buffalo Bills could finally apply the first, snapping a two-game losing streak Sunday with an 18-10 win over the New York Jets.
Considering the Bills' failure to score outside of a whopping six field goals from Tyler Bass, McDermott and his staff have plenty to focus on as they prepare to host the New England Patriots in Week 8.
Buffalo's offense, which ranked fourth in the NFL in yards per game from Week 1 to Week 4, was nearly outgained by the league's 31st-ranked offense in the first half Sunday, before roaring to life in the final two quarters. The Bills' run defense, which allowed 245 rushing yards to the Chiefs in Week 7, allowed Jets running back Frank Gore, one of the league's oldest players at 37, to average more than 5 yards per carry before the Jets were forced to abandon the run.
Trailing 10-0 at one point in the first half, the Bills (5-2) looked far from the explosive offense they flashed through their first four games. And as the league's worst defense in terms of second-half scoring margin, one could reasonably wonder if they would do the unthinkable and lose to the winless Jets.
But Buffalo's defense woke up in the second half, holding New York scoreless and allowing four yards of offense in the third and fourth quarters. Bills quarterback Josh Allen said after last week's loss that he needed to do a better job of taking what the defense gave him, and he backed up his words with a 307-yard performance on 30-of-43 passing -- mostly on checkdowns and short crossing routes.
"Sometimes in the NFL, you're going to have to play through lulls, [Josh] did a good job of that today. That's what you like to see out of your quarterback," Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley said.
It's a win, albeit an uninspiring one for the Bills; finding a way to win is a trait veteran teams, especially good ones, share.
Describe the game in two words: Straight Bass. It took a Herculean (for a kicker) effort from the rookie. He set a franchise record by attempting eight field goals and tied a franchise record by making six of them -- although he missed two of them, badly. The sixth-round pick is now 12-of-17 on the season. Buffalo more or less expected some growing pains out of Bass, given his lack of a preseason, but this game should go a long way toward building his confidence after a shaky start.
Buy/sell on a breakout performance: Stefon Diggs is the Bills' star at wide receiver and John Brown is considered the Bills "1B" receiver, but Beasley might be more deserving of that title. As Brown has battled injuries throughout the season, Beasley is quietly on pace for his first-career 1,000-yard season after tying a career-high with 112 yards on a career-high 11 catches. Allen called him the team's most consistent receiver, and it has shown through seven games.
Promising/troubling trend: For the third time this season, the Bills ran for more than 100 yards, putting up a season-high 126 rushing yards against the Jets. Rookie Zack Moss contributed 47 on seven carries in what looked like his strongest performance to date, but Buffalo hit this figure by getting back to one of its core principles of the past two seasons and letting Allen run. The Bills quarterback led the team with 61 rushing yards, bringing his two-game total against the Jets to 118 yards on 25 attempts. This is Allen's second straight game leading the Bills in rushing and perhaps is a sign of life for what has been an anemic overall run game to date.