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2023 NFL season, Week 11: What We Learned from Sunday's games


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Buffalo Bills 32, New York Jets 6

Eric Edholm's takeaways:

  1. Joe Brady’s debut as Bills offensive coordinator is a success. In the first half, the Bills’ offense was in preheat mode. In the second half, it was cooking. The change in offensive coordinator didn’t provide immediate fireworks on Sunday, as Brady’s Bills came out a bit slowly, moving backward on the opening field-goal drive (after a turnover), settling for two more field goals and punting on their first four possessions. They finished the half with a gifted short-field touchdown and a Hail Mary interception. But the offense showed some mojo on the first two drives of the second half after the defense carried the first half. Josh Allen came alive on those drives, hitting all five of his pass attempts for 145 yards and two TDs, including an 81-yard strike to Khalil Shakir -- one of Allen’s best passes of the season. For most of the game, however, Allen’s biggest wins were taking completions underneath, avoiding turnovers and knowing when to fight for another day. That’s what Allen was struggling to do consistently under Ken Dorsey. For one game under Brady, it worked.
  2. Jets bench Zach Wilson in another dreadful offensive showing. Want the good news first? The Jets ended their touchdown-less streak, scoring for the first time in 41 drives. Then their two-point conversion attempt failed. The Jets lost an offensive possession when Xavier Gipson fumbled away the opening kickoff, but it only briefly delayed the misery. After the fumble, the Jets gained 18 yards on their first 14 plays, with Wilson’s second-quarter interception eventually leading to a Buffalo touchdown. Wilson led the aforementioned TD drive before the half, and the Jets’ defense played well enough early to keep it a 16-6 game at the half. But Wilson took two big sacks on the first two drives of the second half -- while the Bills were pulling away -- and Robert Saleh had seen enough. He replaced Wilson with Tim Boyle late in the third quarter, in a 29-6 game. It’ll be interesting to see how Saleh handles the situation -- he said after the game that no decision had been made about who will start the next game -- but the Jets’ season might be slipping away before Aaron Rodgers has a chance to make a potentially miraculous return. Boyle didn’t have much of an opportunity to show a lot in relief because the Jets couldn’t bench their struggling offensive line, too.
  3. Reggie Gilliam sets the tone on the first play. Gilliam is one of the Bills’ unsung heroes. He mostly does his work on special teams, and he delivered a crucial play on Sunday -- before the first offensive snap of the game. On the opening kickoff, Tyler Bass kicked off to the Jets’ Xavier Gipson -- the man who ruined Buffalo’s Week 1 with a walk-off punt-return TD in overtime. Gipson fielded it on his 8-yard line, ran 14 yards and was hit hard by Gilliam, who dislodged the ball. Bills TE Quintin Morris recovered it. Highmark Stadium erupted. Bills fans have been hoping and waiting for any kind of excitement during a frustrating season, and they got it before their seats were even warmed up. That the Bills would only score a field goal on the ensuing drive is less relevant. Buffalo started quickly and gained the early edge -- one they wouldn’t never really be in danger of giving up. The Jets lacked energy early, and when they finally showed some in the second half, it often felt borne out of anger. Gilliam’s opening hit might have had a sliver to do with it.

Next Gen stat of the game: Josh Allen hit Khalil Shakir for an 81-yard touchdown against the Jets. The play had a Completion Probability of 36.7%, and Shakir gained 58 yards after the catch (+49 YACOE). It was the first deep touchdown pass and the fourth deep completion allowed by the Jets’ defense this season.

NFL Research: Zach Wilson was 7-of-15 passing for 81 pass yards, with one pass TD and one interception when he was benched in the third quarter. It was his lowest completion percentage (46.7%) in a game this season and his only game with fewer than 140 pass yards in 2023.

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

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