Broncos @ Bills
Final Score: Broncos 24, Bills 22
Writer: Adam Nardelli (@adamnardelli on Twitter)
Coming into the game as a touchdown favorite (at least), the game couldn’t have started any worse for Josh Allen and the Bills. A fumble by James Cook on the first play from scrimmage and a Josh Allen interception on their second drive had Highmark Stadium in shock. This was supposed to be the Bills’ get right game, right? Not so fast. Three first half turnovers by the Bills saw them trailing the 3-5 Broncos by a touchdown at the end of the second quarter. A botched third quarter exchange between Allen and James Cook led to the fourth turnover of the night for Buffalo, but the Broncos were unable to take advantage of the mistake. Denver almost squandered away a game where the Bills made mistake after mistake, with two missed extra points of their own and several stalled second-half drives. A pass interference by Bills CB Taron Johnson led to a Will Lutz game-winning field goal, only after Lutz missed the first attempt, but was bailed out by the Bills being called for 12 men on the field. It was a fitting end for a Bills team that couldn’t shake the mistakes. A team with Super Bowl aspirations has to go back to the fundamentals and figure out why they keep beating themselves.
- Javonte Williams – not the most efficient night, but Williams dominated the carries in the Broncos backfield
- Courtland Sutton -had a fumble, but also a spectacular touchdown and hogged the targets
- Dalton Kincaid – no sign of his connection with Josh Allen slowing down any time soon
- Josh Allen – I know you have to live with turnovers from Allen sometimes, but the second interception was especially concerning. Also fumbled on a handoff to James Cook.
- Gabe Davis – He did lead the Bills in receiving, but still disappeared for too much of the game, only catching two balls.
- Jerry Jeudy – why does Russell Wilson barely look his way?
Russell Wilson: 24/29. 193 yards, 2 TD | 9 carries, 30 yards, 4 sacks
Until the middle of the second quarter, Russell Wilson was rather underwhelming, to say the least. It almost looked like Sean Payton was protecting his quarterback by emphasizing the run and the shorter to intermediate passing game. Underwhelming was anything but the way to describe Wilson’s scramble and throw to Courtland Sutton on 4th & 2 from the Bills 7 yard line in the middle of the second quarter. Wilson somehow escaped the Buffalo pass rush and essentially lobbed a perfect ball to Courtland Sutton for a touchdown. I know this article is what we saw, but you should take a minute and check out this vintage Russell Wilson touchdown.
Wilson and the Broncos offense responded well to a Bills touchdown in the second quarter with a field goal. They also added three more points after a Josh Allen interception right before the end of the first half. Wilson’s offseason weight loss continues to pay off as he was moving crisply and compiling yards on the ground, 30 in total. Wilson brought it back to circa 2015 when managed to escape Buffalo defenders and flip the ball to Samaje Perine for a first-down conversion in the fourth quarter. At this point in his career Russ looks to be a better real life quarterback than fantasy quarterback. Efficiency is the name of the game for Wilson these days, which is great for him, but doesn’t help get fantasy managers in the win column.
Javonte Williams: 21 carries, 79 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, TD
Early on it was pretty clear that Javonte Williams is growing into a bigger piece of this offense. Payton fed Williams on their first two plays from scrimmage, and he touched the ball twice on their second drive, including a short pass that Williams took 17 yards. The 2021 second-round pick didn’t have the most efficient night on the ground, but you have to love the volume and the fact that this is clearly Williams’ backfield. Over 30 of Williams’ yards came after contact, showing he often doesn’t go down easy. Four targets and a receiving touchdown separated him even further from the rest of the backfield. As much of a mess as the running back position is, it looks like Williams is coming into his own at just the right time and fantasy managers who were patient with him may reap the benefits.
Jaleel McLaughlin: 6 carries, 8 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 4 yards
The days of McLaughlin threatening Javonte Williams’ lead back role seem to be getting further and further away. Tonight just emphasized that. Inefficiency on eight touches for the undrafted rookie sums up his night.
Samaje Perine: 1 carry, 8 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 35 yards
The former Bengal took a short pass that Wilson flipped to him for 18 yards on the game winning drive. He looked explosive at times, and it feels like Perine’s ability in the passing game is a bit of an untapped area for the Broncos offense. Getting him the ball more often in space can lead to some easy chunk plays and act as an extension of the run game. That happened tonight, but could’ve happened even more if he was more of an emphasis in this offense.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Courtland Sutton: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 53 yards, TD, fumble
Sure it wasn’t an acrobatic catch, but Sutton’s ability to keep his feet in bounds on a second-quarter touchdown is one of the more impressive plays of week 10. It was so impressive the officials didn’t even think he got his feet in on the fourth down throw from Wilson, calling it incomplete initially. The second half wasn’t quite as friendly to Sutton after he fumbled the ball along the sidelines on a third down and six in the third quarter. It gave the Bills great field position and led to a Buffalo touchdown drive. The numbers were solid, but possibly the most notable aspect of Sutton’s day is his targets. He led the team in targets by eight, with no other receiver or running back having more than three targets.
Jerry Jeudy: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 35 yards
The disappointing numbers are one thing, but what’s more concerning is his lack of involvement in the offense. Jeudy is too talented for Wilson to not look his way more often. The 2020 first-rounder did, however, come up with a huge 19-yard catch on 3rd and 11 in the fourth quarter. He also was involved in arguably the most impactful play of the game when Bills CB interfered with Jeudy’s ability to track a deep ball by Russell Wilson. It resulted in a pass interference penalty and ultimately the Broncos game winning field goal.
Adam Trautman: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards
Lil’Jordan Humphrey: 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards
Chris Manhertz: 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards
Josh Allen: 15/26, 177 yards, TD, 2 INT | 4 carries, 13 yards, TD
After a first possession fumble from James Cook, Allen had the Bills rolling down the field. Allen found Gabe Davis on a beautiful throw for 18 yards, looking like the Bills offense we have grown accustomed to. Later on in the drive, however, the Bills’ turnover woes reared its ugly ahead again when a rocket from Allen went through the hands of Gabe Davis, resulting in a Justin Simmons interception. More sloppy football from a team that seems to shoot itself in the foot all too often. Allen led an 8-play, 81 yard drive in the second quarter that culminated in a Dalton Kincaid touchdown reception. Just when you thought the Bills offense was starting to heat up, they reminded us why sloppiness has been a common adjective to describe them in 2023. On their final possession of the first half Allen was looking for receiver Deonte Harty on a deeper outside throw, but cornerback Fabian Moreau jumped right in front and picked off Allen. It almost looked too easy for the journeyman corner.
The California native orchestrated a seven-play 54 yard touchdown drive in the 3rd quarter that tied the game. Latavius Murray scored on a three-yard run, but the drive was highlighted by Allen’s 24 yard pass to Khalil Shakir. Josh later ran in a six-yard touchdown to give the Bills the lead at 22-21, and helping his fantasy night not be a complete dud. At this point we all know who Josh Allen is, and you either love it or hate it. He’s aggressive and going to take chances. Tonight that didn’t pay off, but from a fantasy perspective we all know there will be those games where it does pay off. We’ve seen it countless times.
James Cook: 12 carries, 109 yards, 2 fumbles (1 lost) | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards
For a guy who hasn’t exactly grabbed hold of the lead back role lately, the day couldn’t have started any worse. On the first play from scrimmage Cook caught a short pass from Josh Allen only to see it stripped away. As Joe Buck put it during the broadcast, Cook looked to be “residing in the doghouse” after his first quarter fumble, just perfect for yours truly needing 18 points from the Miami native. Cook wouldn’t see action until the middle of the second quarter when he came in angry, making the most of his opportunity. OC Ken Dorsey immediately went to Cook, giving him three straight carries after he took a screen pass from Allen for seven bruising yards on the first play of the drive. The broadcast showed Cook walking up to Sean McDermott while he was stuck on the sidelines, presumably to ask the coaching staff for another chance. Well, they sure gave him another chance. Even after Cook had a botched exchange with Josh Allen leading to another turnover (which was more Allen’s fault), the Bills rode Cook down the field on a late fourth-quarter drive trailing 21-15. Cook broke a 42-yard run on a great block from Dalton Kincaid after he actually fumbled again, but recovered the ball and kept going.
Latavius Murray: 9 carries, 68 yards, TD | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 1 yard
Death, taxes, and Latavius Murray stealing carries from a young running back with high-upside are the only guarantees in life. To Murray’s credit, he’s breaking the mold of running backs not playing past 30. He’s not just playing, but he’s looking like he’s in his mid-20s at times, especially on a 14-yard second quarter run where he was breaking tackles and running over defenders. He found the endzone on a three-yard run in the third quarter, helping the Bills to capitalize on an earlier Courtland Sutton fumble. Of course this yards-per-carry average is hard to sustain for any running back, let alone a 33 year-old back,
Ty Johnson: 1 carry, 2 yards
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Stefon Diggs: 5 targets. 3 receptions, 34 yards
23 yards on three targets through the first half was a big reason the offense only managed eight points during the first two quarters. I can’t imagine he didn’t let his voice be heard in the locker room during halftime, but it didn’t pay off after Diggs ended up having his worst game of the season so far. I contemplated putting him in the three down list, but considering tonight has been truly his only bad game of the year, I don’t want to be unrealistic and get too down on him.
Gabe Davis: 6 targets, 2 receptions 56 yards
Davis connected with Allen for an 18-yard reception in the first quarter, giving Bills fans and fantasy managers hope that Davis was going to get back on track after a quiet week 9. A 36-yard reception late in the third quarter looked like it was going to spark the Bills offense, but of course the Bills’ second fumble of the night threw those hopes down the drain. 56 yards is nothing to sneeze at, but Davis essentially disappeared for two quarters between his first and second catch. He’s still so volatile to trust in regular season-long lineups, but I won’t argue the upside and ceiling is there if you want to give him a chance and hope the week you start him isn’t a game where he’s missing in action for most of it.
Dalton Kincaid: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 51 yards, TD
The volume wasn’t quite like his week 9 outing, but Josh Allen continued to look Kincaid’s way often. The Broncos struggle against tight ends, which was evident when Kincaid was wide open for a 22-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He tied for the lead on the Bills in targets a week after solely leading Buffalo in targets against Cincinnati. It’s no secret that Kincaid is arguably Allen’s second-favorite option in the passing game. For a rookie tight end that’s really saying something.
Khalil Shakir: 2 targets, 1 reception, 24 yards
Allen found Shakir for 24 yards in the third quarter that helped the Bills get into the redzone, which was the Bills’ longest play of the night. Unfortunately, that’s all there was for Shakir who couldn’t follow up his solid week 9 with a productive week 10. He actually only had one other target, which on a night when the Bills offense was sputtering at tines, could’ve been helpful to get the ball in his hands a bit more to help provide a spark.
Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@justparadesigns on Twitter/X)