Ahead of Sunday morning’s matchup, Corey Giacovelli of Buffalo Rumblings took some time to answer some questions I had about the Bills, including the tumultuous Josh Allen and a defense with similar struggles as our own.
Q: Which version of Josh Allen will the Seahawks see this week? The MVP candidate with 12 TD and 1 INT, or the Allen of the last four weeks with 4 TDs and 4 INTs?
Although I would like to see the Allen that dominated the first four weeks of the season, I would more so like to see the Josh Allen we saw against the Patriots. Yes he did throw an interception and the box score did not look pretty but he did what he had to do to give his team the victory. We are seeing more teams elect to play zone against Allen and realizing that blitzing him may not be the best option because he has learned to beat it. The team has been struggling against the zone and at times Allen has been forcing instead of what the defense has been giving him. The recent interceptions do not bother me as much as the one on Sunday was on his receiver and he has had others that were off the hands of his intended target. Allen is playing good football but we just need him to be a little bit better as the season goes on.
Q: Though Allen has cooled, the Bills are coming off back-to-back season high marks for rushing yards. What’s led to the recent success in the run game?
One reason for this is the return of Jon Feliciano who made his season debut this past weekend. The guy is an enforcer in the trenches and really adds an element of power to the team’s rushing attack. He even got to show his versatility switching to center after a concussion suffered by Mitch Morse. Also the recent success can be attributed to the team planning on winning the game via the ground. In post-game interviews the team mentioned how on Monday leading up to the game, the focus was being able to run the ball if they wanted to come away with a victory. I believe that the true identity of this team is ground and pound and using the play action off of that. Hopefully we will see the running game come together even more as the weeks go on.
Q: Seattle has struggled in the secondary in nearly every game. Stefon Diggs is a given threat, but who else should we be aware of from the Bills’ pass catchers?
Cole Beasley is the first name to come to mind, especially if defenses are going to continue to give zone looks. Beasley is arguably the best player on the team when it comes to finding holes in the zone. He is a speedy elusive target that can get open in a hurry and give the team easy 5-7 yard gains at any given moment. Alongside him would be John Brown who gives the team a speedy over the top option that could really impact the vertical passing game. Brown is working his way back from an injury a couple of weeks ago but can really impact a game when given the opportunity.
Q: This once-formidable defense has only really shut down the Jets this year - what’s happening on the defensive side of the ball?
I wish I knew what was happening because this is definitely not the same defense as we saw last year. The team did lose a couple of key players in Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips. The emotion and intensity that they brought to the defense has so far been irreplaceable as it seems that the defense doesn’t have the same intensity that we say last season. When it comes to on the field play, the run defense has been struggling which has been getting players out of position when they are hit with play-action which is never a good thing and opens up big plays. However, one thing the defense is still doing well is not allowing the big vertical plays over the top which will be the key matchup on Sunday as Wilson is one of the best in the league at throwing the ball vertically down the field.
Q: How are you feeling about the AFC East and the way the playoff race is shaping up so far?
We are feeling confident since we finally got a victory over the New England Patriots, our record is just about what we predicted it to be at this point but the true test comes in this portion of our schedule facing some big time teams. The team to fear would be the Miami Dolphins as they are starting to get hot at the right time of the season. They are believing in the culture that Brian Flores is installing and the players know that they can compete with anyone on any given day. The Bills will be facing the Dolphins in their second matchup of the season in a few weeks and that game will probably decide control of the division as the season comes to a close.