Image Credit: © David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
You know you have a problem when a Bills game becomes a memorable highlight of your Christmas weekend. That's not to say that Christmas weekend with the weekend wasn't fun, because it was. There's just something about a revenge game against the Hoodie that hits the right kind of way. Also, I have gotten sick the past few days, which is why this was late, and this will probably be a little short. My apologies.
1 - Allen - Before we ever drafted Allen and he was a twinkle in Beane's eye, one of the biggest things I didn't know I needed in a quarterback was a guy who just found a way to elevate his game in Foxboro. Josh had a swagger and determination in him for this game that had to make any fan feel confident. Allen wasn't perfect in this game, but he was pretty darn close. I still believe his toe is bothering him when he steps into a throw, but he pulled off so many trick passes that it was rarely a factor. Not only did Allen get a Patriot hurdle in, but he was also side-arming throws, shuffle-passing, and juking defenders out of their cleats. Josh was an absolute baller in this game, and you could see how much it meant to him. It was truly an MVP Performance in the one stadium you really want him to shine.
2 - Blocking - I wanted to talk about Knox here, but Spencer Williams and Dawkins also played great games for me. There were multiple runs to the outside where our guys released their blocks at the perfect time not to draw the holding penalty. We haven't seen this often, and I really believe it made a difference. Knox was left on an island on quite a few plays and held his own, minus one holding penalty. Judon could only get a hit in by being an ####### with his tripping because he was a non-factor in the game itself. Whatever scheme adjustments Daboll made, Josh had all day to throw with a backup line, and it seems they are figuring it out at the right time.
3 - Haack -
4 - Alone, listless
Breakfast table in an otherwise empty room
Young girl, violence
Center of her own attention
The mother reads aloud, child tries to understand it
Tries to make her proud
The shades go down, it's in her head
Painted room, can't deny there's something wrong
© David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
5 - Run Defense - In hindsight, I should have noticed this sooner, but counters and cutbacks are the biggest Achilles heel for our run defense. It seemed like every big run came from some form of misdirection where our guys over-pursued and then couldn't cut back without running into a blocked. Worse than that, Edmunds continues to find ways to get blocked. If I didn't know any better, I would think he was instructed to run into the first blocker he sees in order to free up a defender behind him. I'm not only picking on Edmunds, but Hyde and Poyer are also terrible at over-running plays. I will say, though, Harrison is moving fast and catching people on the edge for a big guy. I think he may have finally figured it out.
6 - Daboll - Welcome to the party! The pre-snap motions, Allen runs, McKenzie sweeps, delayed-release blocks were all on display in this game, and it led to the first-ever zero punt game against the Hoodie in Foxboro. This offense was clicking on all cylinders and should have put up 11 more points (thanks Sanders and penalties. Daboll seems to have figured out his rushing attack as well as dialing up some good red zone plays. The offense is gaining speed at the right time and doing it against cover 2 and 3. Allen is taking the check-downs, forcing the defense to creep up, which........ OPENED UP THE DEEP CROSSING ROUTES!. It only took 15 games, but we got there.
7 - McKenzie - Does this guy love having late-season success or what? All I could think about in this game was him torching the Dolphins last season. For those already calling for McKenzie to replace Beasley, I think it's worth noting that they play the slow position very differently. Almost all of McKenzie's catches were outside the hash marks, while Beasley typically lives between them. It was almost comical to see how easily Josh made those throws versus watching Mac. I'm torn on the usage of McKenzie in this game and concerned with all the post-game comments made by all the players. I almost wonder if his benching and under-utilization didn't sit right with some of the players. I could also be reading into too much. Regardless, McKenzie was a monster out there and gave upcoming opposing coaches something else to worry about going forward. He even showed Sanders how to catch a touchdown pass (Can you tell that I'm over Sanders yet?)
© David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
8 - Holding - Jerry Hughes had a holding called in his favor. That's all I think I need to say here. In other news, Unicorns are real, and wearing socks with sandals is cool again.
9 - Hoodie - I'm going to do my best not to throw up while saying this, but I think the Hoodie might actually respect and appreciate Josh. I try to avoid looking at his face as much as possible, but the way he sought out Josh after the game and the attention he gave him really stood out to me. While the Hoodie has had *some* some success in the NFL, I think he was actually humble enough to pay respect to the man who just humiliated his defense on the field. It was a rare sight.
10 - McD - If any other Bills team over the past 20 years played this game, the drops would have been too much to overcome. When Sanders dropped that touchdown and the holding penalty made us settle for a field goal, I could feel that pit in my stomach creep in. On the last possession where we had to convert multiple 3rd and longs, I was already picturing Mac Jones leading a game-winning drive against us. But not these Bills. Not the McD-led Bills. They were relentless, focused, and would not be denied. They've come out flat in weeks and seemed soft for many others. In this game, they were the superior team who put their foot on the Patriots' necks and pushed down until the final whistle. While the team played well against the Chiefs and Titans, I would argue this was their most complete game of the season, and the best Josh has looked. I believe McD has them focused and ready for a playoff push. And right now, I don't think there are many teams that would want to face us, home or away.
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