Drew Brees knows what it takes to be a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. As an NBC analyst now, he’s thrown his support behind one of the best QBs in the league in 2020 and pegged that signal-caller’s team to come out of the AFC when it’s all said and done. Even though Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have struggled at times through nine weeks, Brees still believes in the team.
The Buffalo Bills aren’t the juggernaut many expected in 2021
The 2020 season for the Buffalo Bills was the team’s best since the mid-1990s.
In his third season, Josh Allen had a career year. He threw for 4,544 yards with a 69.2% completion rate, 37 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions. Some of this success was due to the team bringing in Stefon Diggs prior to the season. The former Minnesota Viking led the league in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535).
Another factor in Allen’s emergence was offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. His pass-heavy scheme and deft play-calling helped the Bills win the AFC East and reach the AFC Championship Game last season.
With that level of success and almost everyone, including Daboll, back for 2021, the Bills were a trendy Super Bowl pick coming into the season.
Things have not played out as expected for Allen, Diggs, Daboll, and the Bills so far this year.
After a stunning Week 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo seemingly got right with wins over the Miami Dolphins, Washington Football Team, Houston Texans, and Kansas City Chiefs. A surprising Monday Night Football loss to the Tennessee Titans came in Week 6, but the Bills got back on track after their bye with another Dolphins W (albeit one where the score was 3-3 at half).
The team was still cruising at 5-2 on their way to Duval County last week. It should have been an easy win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
No one gave that memo to Urban Meyer, Trevor Lawrence, and the other Josh Allen, though.
The Bills lost in a shocking 9-6 slog-fest, and now questions surround the team. Allen’s decision-making and Daboll’s play-calling have been poor this season, even in wins at times. Bills running backs had just nine carries in this latest loss, and Allen took four sacks and threw two picks.
This poor performance is making many hop off the Bills bandwagon — but not Drew Brees.
Drew Brees stuck with the Bills despite their struggles
Recently retired QB Drew Brees is one of the pundits firmly in the Buffalo Bills’ corner this season. A former Super Bowl champion himself, Brees sees title potential in Buffalo.
As recently as a few weeks ago, Brees was touting the Bills as the best team in the NFL. He told SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert, Kristian Garic and Mike Detillier on WWL Sports, “I think the Bills are the best team in football right now, and it’s not even close.”
After two losses in three weeks and some less-than-playoff-worthy play in those games, Brees stuck to his guns at halftime of the Week 9 Sunday Night Football game between the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams.
During the halftime show, host Mike Tirico posed the question: Who is the best team in the AFC? Brees responded:
[In the] AFC, I don’t know. It’s too hard to tell. The way Tennessee’s playing tonight, you want to say Tennessee. I am still on the Buffalo train. They’ve really made me look bad the last couple weeks, but I think long-term, that’s the team. With their defense, they have some staying power.Drew Brees on the Buffalo Bills
While that’s not a ringing endorsement, Bills fans have to be happy that an accomplished former NFL player still believes in their squad. To get more people back on the Bills Super Bowl train, they’ll have to win convincingly in what should be another easy game in Week 10.
Buffalo can steady the ship against the New York Jets on Sunday
If the Bills walked into TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville thinking the game would be a cakewalk, they were sorely mistaken. Learning that lesson should help them in Week 10 as the team again goes on the road, this time to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to play the 2-6 New York Jets.
Yes, the Jets have struggled mightily at times this season, but they are starting backup QB and folk hero Mike White (or Mike “F’ing” White as one teammate christened him). The young signal-caller pulled a big-time upset over the Cincinnati Bengals last time he played a full, healthy game and will look to add to his legend against the Bills.
Despite the Bills’ offensive struggles, the team’s defense has been top-notch no matter what the offense is doing. As the season continues, this Super Bowl-quality defense should be able to keep the team afloat until the offense rights itself.
That is the biggest piece, though. Daboll needs to figure out how to get in a rhythm like last season while scratching out at least the threat of a running game and protecting Allen better.
For his part, Allen needs to make quicker, smarter decisions with the ball. He also needs to take what’s given instead of looking for the home run shot on every play.
Luckily for the Bills — and Drew Brees — both Daboll and Allen are talented and sharp. They should be able to figure this out as the season goes along. It needs to start in New Jersey, though, if they want to be real Lombardi Trophy contenders.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference