ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- For a half, at least, the Buffalo Bills looked unstoppable.
Gone, it seemed, were the days of Bills defensive players growing frustrated on the sideline with their teammates' lack of offensive success -- as safety Micah Hyde admitted to doing early in the week. Buffalo scored three touchdowns on five drives in the first half, failing to score only after a pair of turnovers. It built a 21-3 lead and moved the ball at will to the tune of 223 total yards.
Except for the turnovers, it was about as perfect a half of football the Bills could play after an offseason dedicated to offensive improvement. Things stagnated a bit in the second half, but Buffalo showed enough promise on the more glamorous side of the ball during its 27-17 win against the New York Jets to suggest an emerging AFC contender by the end of the season.
Buffalo's defense remains what it's been for the past two seasons -- a top-three unit in the NFL, which will keep the team in essentially every game it plays. In that same span, the Bills have waited for their offense to catch up. Doing so might be the single largest catalyst to the Bills' success this season as it plays the 10th-hardest schedule in the league, according to ESPN's FPI rankings.
If Sunday is any indication, that wait may be over.
Buy/sell on a breakout performance: Don't call it a breakout, as he's been in the NFL for years, but Bills receiver John Brown torched the Jets in his first game alongside Stefon Diggs, recording 66 yards and a touchdown on five catches in the first half alone. He finished with six catches for 70 yards. Brown set a career high in receiving yards last season, and his chemistry with quarterback Josh Allen was obvious throughout the game. The duo of Brown and Diggs finished with a combined 156 yards and a score on 14 catches and 19 targets.
Promising/troubling trend: The Bills spent consecutive third-round picks on running backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss the past two drafts, but Allen (14 carries) nearly carried the ball more than both backs combined (18 carries). Singletary and Moss were given a near-even workload in their first game together, but the fact that neither was much of a factor in the run game is an intriguing storyline to follow.
QB breakdown: Whether you love Allen's game or hate it, you can generally find plenty of examples to support your argument in any game; Sunday's performance against the Jets was no different. He turned in the first 300-yard passing game of his career, also setting career highs in attempts and completions. It was a promising effort given the moves Buffalo's front office made this offseason to improve the team's passing game. He fit the ball into tight windows, anticipated openings and showed proper touch when necessary.
He also lost two fumbles and missed a wide-open Brown in the end zone when he neglected to set his feet before throwing the ball. It's far from a hot take, but Allen remains the biggest X factor on the Bills' roster. If his few mistakes from Sunday are cleaned up and he keeps this level of play up throughout the season, we will be talking about the Bills as a realistic Super Bowl contender -- and Allen will be in the MVP conversation.