Written by Colleen Meosky
The Buffalo Bills are leading the AFC East in the bye week with seven wins and three losses. They will be facing highly competitive teams following the bye week so holding onto the lead will be no easy task.
The Bills’ offense has become an intimidating lineup. General Manager Brandon Beane’s acquisition of Stefon Diggs has played a key role in the offense’s success so far this season. He has a total of 73 receptions for 906 yards and four touchdowns playing in all ten games. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have clearly found chemistry. Allen was named Fox Sports’ midseason MVP, and the pairing have been commonly ranked as the top duo in the league. Heading into week eleven, Stefon Diggs is second in receiving yards, behind DeAndre Hopkins by just six yards
The Bills also have plenty of other offensive talent with WR Cole Beasley, WR John Brown, RB Devin Singletary, and OG Jon Feliciano. Singletary leads the team in 401 rushing yards, and Josh Allen trails him with 279 yards.
Kicker Tyler Bass had a very bumpy start for his rookie season but has shown quite impressive progress. He received a lot of criticism after missing an extra point in the week 4 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. However, Bass had a spectacular performance against the Arizona Cardinals to keep the score close. According to ProFootball Reference, Tyler Bass is the first to kick three field goals over 50 yards within a single quarter.
Unfortunately, the Bills’ defense have lost much of their prowess from last season. Lineups has them ranked #26 in the league, falling from their 2019-20 season ranking of #2. They have proven themselves to be much less reliable, and some key players like Tre’Davious White have quite frankly not shown up yet while we are ten games in. White was regarded as one of the very best cornerbacks in the league last year, but it seems like he’s struggling to find his inner drive this season. DT Ed Oliver is in dire need of growth as he is struggling to make a consistent and positive impact on the Bills’ defensive line.
On the other hand, not everyone on the defense is in a slump. DE Jerry Hughes has been a source of strength for the Bills’ defense, and he’s receiving praise for his leadership. Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are also having solid seasons.
Head coach Sean McDermott has turned around the franchise alongside general manager Brandon Beane. The organization clearly has faith in him since they agreed to a six-year contract extension this summer. However, the Bills have been notoriously bad in the third quarter all season long. So far this season, they have been outscored 76-30 in the third quarter.
While the Bills continue to have strong starts and often dominate the first half, it seems like the Bills are out coached during halftime. The Bills prepare well in practice and video sessions, but they have trouble adjusting their game plan at the half. So far this season, they have been able to recover most games, but as they face a difficult schedule for the remainder of their regular season, improvements need to be made if the Bills are going to win the AFC East.
Although COVID-19 is preventing fans tailgating and attending games safely, the Bills Mafia still came together as a community to support the team. Following the Bills win against the Seahawks, Coach McDermott told reporters the sad news that Josh Allen’s grandmother had passed away the day before. Bills fans immediately offered their support of the Firebaugh quarterback with donations in honor of his grandmother, Patricia Allen.
Josh has become a friendly face at Oishei Children’s Hospital here in Buffalo, and fans and families at Oishei have always appreciated his compassion and commitment to the community. As of November 21, $684,807 had been raised in memory of his grandmother. The Bills fan base mostly contributed using the number 17, a nod to Allen’s jersey number. Josh joined in with $17,000 to put the donations over $500,000. Oishei has been working with the Allen family to decide where to use the donations.
A wing on the sports-themed floor is being named after Patricia Allen, and a playroom nearby is being called ‘The Buffalo Bills Fans Fun Zone’ to recognize the outpouring of love and community in this difficult time.
Winning the AFC East will be no cake walk, and although Buffalo is on top, the Miami Dolphins are right behind and gaining momentum. Josh Allen has demonstrated his incredible talent numerous times, but he will need to be consistently good if the team will pull off winning the division. The Bills’ defense needs to step up and start making the big plays that they frequently made last year. Finally, Bills fans should continue to support the team. With COVID-19 cases on the rise throughout the country and Western New York, the NFL may be required to shut down. Football fans should remember to take part in mask-wearing and social distancing.