Toronto Star Classroom Connection

Bills regain some swagger

Offence awakens in blowout win over division rival Jets


Josh Allen put aside shouldering the blame for getting his offensive co-ordinator fired this week by placing an emphasis on injecting a little more energy and joy into his on-field performance.

It showed.

Allen threw three touchdown passes and a once-stagnating offence showed signs of regaining its swagger by scoring on six of its first eight possessions in a 32-6 rout of the AFC East-rival New York Jets on Sunday.

“Let’s have fun playing this game. It’s football, and at the end of the day we get to do, in my opinion, the most amazing job on the planet ... So we’ve got to enjoy it when you can,” Allen said.

“We were executing at a high level today. Every season, man, has its ups and downs. You’re going to have adversity. It’s how you bounce back from the adversity.”

The 6-5 Bills snapped a two-game skid and topped 25 points for the first time in seven weeks. After building a 9-0 lead on three field goals by Tyler Bass, Allen broke the game open with three touchdowns over four possessions spanning halftime. In doing so, he extended his streak to 19 games with a touchdown, breaking the franchise record set by Hall of Famer Jim Kelly spanning the 1986-87 seasons.

The Jets dropped to 4-6 after their third straight loss, and coach Robert Saleh potentially opened the door for a quarterback switch. Starter Zach Wilson was benched with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter and replaced by Tim Boyle, who didn’t fare much better in overseeing an offence that managed to score just its ninth touchdown of the season.

After spending the past few weeks backing Wilson, Saleh said he was going to watch the tape before making a decision Monday.

“We’ll look at all of it. I’m not really answering those questions yet,” Saleh said.

The Bills, meanwhile, followed Allen’s energetic lead.

“I love Josh. What I did tonight is all him, just his energy,” said receiver Khalil Shakir, who scored on an 81-yard catch-and-run. “Tonight it was just nonstop. It was fun. It felt fun to operate the way we were playing tonight, and 17 was the head honcho of all that.”

Allen was efficient in finishing 20 of 32 for 275 yards with an interception, which came on a desperation Hail Mary to end the first half. Otherwise, he put the game on ice with a 26-yard touchdown pass to former Jets running back Ty Johnson on fourth-and-one to cap Buffalo’s opening drive of the third quarter followed with his TD to Shakir two plays into the Bills’ next possession.

The 81-yard touchdown was the longest scoring play from scrimmage this season, and the offensive outburst came with quarterbacks coach Joe Brady taking over as coordinator after Ken Dorsey was fired on Tuesday following a 24-22 loss to Denver.

The offence was so charged up, it carried over following the game with Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins getting into a skirmish with Jets defensive lineman Michael Clemons in the tunnel leading to each team’s locker room.

“I’m not a fan of the Jets — like, very disrespectful players,” is all Dawkins would say.

Clemons did not address reporters following the game, while teammate Sauce Gardner said he was attempting to break up the fight.

“A lot of emotions going into it. That’s it, a lot of emotions, frustrat- ed,” the cornerback said. “I ain’t have no issues with none of them. I was trying to resolve everything.”





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