News & Analysis

NFL Week 1 PFF ReFocused: Buffalo Bills 27, New York Jets 17

The Buffalo Bills‘ defense again looked like one of the NFL's best, and the New York Jets started off the 2020 season with an uninspiring performance in what could be make or break year for both quarterback Sam Darnold and head coach Adam Gase. In many ways, both teams continued where they left off a season ago.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the Game

The Bills' new-look receiving corps was as advertised. All three receiver additions from the past two seasons had impressive outings. Stefon Diggs hauled in eight of nine targets for 86 yards with, six of those catches going for first downs; John Brown caught six of eight for 70 yards with a score; and Cole Beasley had four catches on seven targets for 58 yards.

The receivers made life easy on Josh Allen, who picked up a good deal of his yardage without having to attack much down the football field. Allen’s 6.8 average depth of target was three yards shorter than his average from a season ago (9.8 yards).

Sep 13, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) looks downfield in the direction of running back Zack Moss (20) against the New York Jets during the first quarter at Bills Stadium. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

While Allen showed numerous signs to be encouraged about, the same can’t be said for Darnold. On throws targeted 15-plus yards downfield, Darnold was only 1-for-6 with an interception. Like last season, the Jets' passing attack was too lateral for much of the game. The one beneficiary was slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who saw over a third of the Jets targets on the day (12 of 34). Crowder was seemingly the only Jets player who showed up Sunday on offense — his 69-yard score was the lone bright spot for the team. Crowder did have two drops to go with his seven catches for 115 yards and a score, however. That’s just how the day went for the Jets offensively.

Rookie Watch

All things considered, Jets rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton had an impressive debut. While he did allow a sack, Becton allowed only one other pressure while often tasked with facing one of the better edge rusher in the league in Jerry Hughes. One of Becton’s biggest concerns coming out of Louisville was the fact that he hadn't been tested in true passing situations against top talent. It isn't easy for a rookie to hold up so well against a player like Hughes.

For the Bills, running back Zack Moss and wide receiver Gabriel Davis both saw considerable playing time. On 22 receiving snaps, Davis saw only two targets, hauling in both for 16 yards with a broken tackle in the process. Moss struggled to get anything going on the ground, with only 11 yards on nine attempts. The Bills' line didn’t give him much to work with, however, as he averaged -0.4 yards before contact on the day. He redeemed himself with his work as a receiver and had three catches for 16 yards, including a score.

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