Many Red Flags to Analyze
0: Washington didn’t get any pressure on Josh Allen throughout the game, finishing with 0 sacks. For all the hype that Chase Young and Montez Sweat were getting about potentially breaking the combined sack record of 39 this season, the duo has only combined for two sacks thus far, with Young having 0.
6: This is the third game in a row where Washington has finished the first drive without coming away with points. This was an issue last season as well, with the team going 16 games without scoring on its first drive. It’s clear not much has changed. Over the last three games, Washington has gone three-and-out on each of its opening drives, finishing with a grand total of 6 yards across the three games.
436: The defense has also struggled considerably on the first drive of both halves, having given up 436 total yards to opponents through the first three games. What’s worse is opponents have scored on all three opening drives of games against this defense. In the second half, it’s been a bit better, but the team lucked out with a fumble on a long drive against the Chargers, saw the Giants score a field goal on its first second-half drive, and saw the Bills go on a 17-play 93-yard touchdown drive in the second half. This is a major concern moving forward.
129.8: Buffalo was coming into this game struggling mightily with their passing game. Well, Washington’s defense was a cure to those woes. Josh Allen came into the game completing just 56% of his passes and having the sixth-worst passer rating in the NFL, 77.9. Against Washington, Allen completed 74% of his passes and finished with a 129.8 passer rating.
358: Allen also came into the game averaging just 224.5 passing yards per game and having three touchdowns to one interception. He finished the game with 358 passing yards, four touchdown passes, no interceptions, and a touchdown run to add insult to injury.
1,296: Through three games, the Washington defense has given up 1,296 total yards. That’s unacceptable for a team that was supposed to be one of the best defenses in the league. For those that want to look at the glass half full, last year, the team also started 1-2 and gave up 1003 yards in its first three games before making major strides throughout the rest of the season.
-3: Washington now has a -3 turnover differential for the season, with Heinicke throwing two interceptions in the game and Thomas losing a fumble.
26.4: Washington’s woes are on both sides of the ball, with the offense only converting 26.4% of its third downs, which is dead last in the league. Buffalo came in with the fifth-best third-down conversion rate (48.39%), and improved on that total against Washington, converting 60% of its third downs.
11:14: Washington once again allowed the opponent to control time of possession, with Buffalo holding the ball for 11 minutes and 14 seconds longer than Washington.
80.6: Taylor Heinicke came back to earth a bit, finishing with an 80.6 passer rating, after coming into the game with a 104.4 rating. Playing from behind throughout the game, it did look like he was trying to force some throws, but he wasn’t helped much with drops by Antonio Gibson, Cam Sims, and Dyami Brown.
With Buffalo being a popular Super Bowl pick in the preseason, this game just went to show how far Washington is from competing with the top-tier teams in the league. With what should be an easier matchup with the Falcons coming up, we will get to see the mental makeup of the team based on how it bounces back.