Orchard Park, NY—Days before the Jets’ 2020 opener, Adam Gase spoke of his offense’s problems on moving the ball last season.
“It was absolutely atrocious, everything last year,” the coach said, adding that his players have a better understanding of his scheme entering year two. “You can just throw all that out.”
The Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen went Air Force One on the Jets throwing the ball from the start.
Allen directed the offense to three consecutive first-half touchdown drives with ease, he became Buffalo’s first quarterback to throw for 300 yards passing in nearly three-plus years in a 27-17 season-opening victory over the New York Jets on Sunday at Orchard Park.
Allen looked a little shaky against a Jamal Adams less Jets defense in the first half. But he regained his composure and find passing lanes to throw into in the second half.
Allen spread the ball to different receivers, which now features the addition of Stefon Diggs, who finished the game 33 of 46 for 312 yards with two touchdowns and one rushing.
Diggs had eight catches for a team-leading 86 yards in his debut after being acquired in a trade with the Vikings in March. John Brown also contributed for the Bills with six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
“We wanted to start off and get the ball into our playmakers’ hands outside and let them do their thing,” Allen said. “But we still have to find more ways to get into the end zone. We left too many points out there. I take that responsibility on myself.”
Allen was careless with the football losing two fumbles in the first half, both times inside NY territory which was costly.
Buffalo’s defense was tough despite having key injuries on the unit. Sam Darnold’s pass over the middle was intercepted set the tone for the game. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds did not return to the game after hurting his shoulder while trying to tackle receiver Jamison Crowder, who scored on a 69-yard touchdown catch and run, which cut the Bills’ lead to 21-10 with 5:10 ticks left in the third quarter.
The Bills defense ramped up the intensity and caused a turnover. Safety Jordan Poyer stripped the ball from tight end Chris Herndon and was recovered by Jerry Hughes at the Jets 38 two plays into the fourth quarter.
Tyler Bass made good from the turnover and nailed a 22-yard field goal through the uprights.
“There’s going to be adversity like there was today, whether it was injuries or change of momentum,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “And I think we’ve learned that we’ve got to continue to push through and I thought our team did that today.”
The Gang Green had a dismal day on the offense side of the ball. They opened with three three-and-outs, combined for 23 yards of offense and one first down on their first five possessions, and trailed 21-0 before you could blink an eye.
“It was about as bad of a start offensively as we could’ve had,” coach Adam Gase said. “We just really did not play well. It’s disappointing in the aspect that, just watching the guys work all week and the excitement level coming into this game. We’ve got a lot to work on. We’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to get fixed.”
Darnold finished the contest 21 of 35 for 215 yards, with a touchdown and an pick in a match-up of two of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. Crowder had seven catches for 117 yards. Josh Adams scored on a 2-yard power play in the final minute of the game.
“I’ve got to be better and we’ve got to execute better. It’s as simple as that,” said Darnold, who opened hitting just four of his 10 first attempts for 22 yards.