For just the sixth time in the Super Bowl era, a defense intercepted four passes and had at least nine sacks as the Buffalo Bills soundly defeated the Washington Commanders, 37-3.
And just like that, the honeymoon period for quarterback Sam Howell and friends is over. On the field and off it, the vibes have been largely positive as the local fanbase enjoys the beginning of the post-Daniel Snyder era. A new ownership group, led by Josh Harris, Magic Johnson and others, has distracted folks from some otherwise troubling trends so far this season.
For starters, Howell has been sacked 19 times through three games. Not only is that the most sacks allowed this season (six more than the next closest team) — it’s the most any offense has allowed three games into a season since 2005.
The Buffalo stampede was constant, as the Bills pressured Howell on 27 of 39 drop backs (69 percent). The first-year starter responded by completing 19 of 29 passes for 170 yards with zero touchdowns and four interceptions.
When Howell wasn’t turning the ball over, the offense still couldn’t get out of its own way. Running back Antonio Gibson only had five touches on the day but still managed to fumble for the second time in three games, the majority of the offensive line continues to look overwhelmed, and Washington converted just one of nine third-down attempts on the day.
Buffalo’s nine sacks were the most since the franchise registered 10 — against Washington — back in 2011. John Beck was the quarterback that day in Toronto, in one of the worst games during my 19 seasons on the sidelines. And yet, somehow, this showing was far worse. Howell has been pressured a league-high 15.4 percent of his drop backs, which isn’t going to change unless he starts to get rid of the ball quicker and/or the offensive line collectively steps up its game.