ORCHARD PARK, NY — Through their years together as Buffalo Bills’ decorated safeties, Micah Hyde and Jordan Boyer are known for speaking the same language, and they’re the defense’s super-efficient communicator.
Asked about a particular topic at the Cincinnati Bengals on a Sunday afternoon, they probably needed an interpreter.
“It’s a good question,” Pouillet said, shaking his head and looking at the floor of the Haymark Stadium locker booth. “I honestly don’t know. I’m sure you take something out of it, but it’s going to be a whole new game.”
A few minutes ago, Hyde stopped thinking while pulling his stockings on.
“You can learn a lot,” Hyde said, “from One game.”
Three weeks ago, Buffalo and Cincinnati played for 9 minutes and 2 seconds before a nightmare unfolded.
Billing safety Demar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest when doing a routine tackle and collapsed. CPR and a defibrillator were required to bring Hamelin back to life. He was unconscious and on a ventilator for two days.
The NFL canceled the game, clearing all statistics and pulling the broadcast from the replay service. Officially, the game does not exist.
But what happened.
Now that we know Hamlin is recovering — he was able to reunite with his teammates at One Bills Drive last week — everyone can revisit without guilt the Bengals’ seven offensive games and 11 Bills games they’ve had against each other at Paycor Stadium.
Sunday’s rematch has been beefed up. The Bills outplayed the Miami Dolphins, and a few hours later the Bengals ran away from the Baltimore Ravens. The victors will meet at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Highmark Stadium.
Seven notes from the Bills’ uncomfortable card win over the Dolphins
What is the value of their matching shortlisted screenshots?
Bills left guard Rodger Saffold said, “I know it’s hard for our guys to watch because of Damar, but you have to take a detailed look at him. I don’t think it would be professional to not take any of those plays into account.”
“It’s a chess match when it comes to these types of games. Preparation will be key.”
Bengals coach Zack Taylor leaned on Poyet’s uncertainty about the value of those new nine minutes between teams that have since played twice apiece.
“I’ve never been in a situation like this in my life,” Taylor said. “It’s very strange because you’ve been training for a whole week, and it’s not like it was nine weeks ago; it was two weeks ago. There’s a balance there. What you adjust, what you keep, both teams will deal with that.”
While coaches and players can derive accurate insights from each formation, handicap plan and trick, 18 shots should not be used to assess what might have happened the rest of the way or how to place your bets.
Buffalo trailed 7-3 on one possession apiece, but opened with a 3.5-point lead Sunday.
“It’s an incredibly small sample size,” said Sam Munson, senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. “In 18 offensive games, the Chargers were 7-0 ahead of the Jaguars, he had the ball and they were about to score again and take the lead. Anything can happen over 18 plays.
“It was certainly interesting to have Cincinnati up front and looking good in the game, but who knows how the next 120 games will unfold?”
However, the substantial work was mustered on that 18 offensive plays, one pass interference penalty, one field goal, one extra point and three kickoffs.
If coaches find value in simply glancing at the opponent’s formation before calling a timeout on critical turns like fourths and inches, 9:02 from the game movie should provide invaluable clues.
“There’s really a lot to learn,” Savold said. “We can see how they attack us. We can see the defense in front of us.
“Both offenses moved the ball very well. It looked like it was going to be a shootout.”
Those who haven’t watched the live stream will have to take Saffold’s word for it because the stats and gameplay data have been erased from most sites.
Cincinnati won the coin toss and wanted the ball. Tyler Bass’ kick was a rebound.
On the first over, Joe Borough dribbled a ball deep down the left sideline for the Ja’Marr Chase. Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White was flagged 29 yards for pass interference.
Terrier connected with tight end Hayden Hurst for 4 yards. Joe Mixon rushed for 5 yards. Taron Johnson left the game with a head injury. Burrow caught a first down himself with a 2-yard touchdown run, then found Hurst again for 21 yards. On the next play, Burrow caught Tyler Boyd for a 14-yard touchdown.
“They scored in the opening round,” Hyde said, “so obviously you have to look back to see how they did it.”
Taylor’s offense led to a slew of early film scores. They have appeared in the opening drive touchdown seven times if you count the canceled Week 17 contest. They started with a field goal three times.
In Sunday night’s triple-elimination game with the Ravens, Cincinnati started with a field goal, followed by a touchdown on his second possession and met his other offensive touchdown on the first series after halftime.
“It’s happened before when opening a car,” Boyer said. “We’ve been able to settle in as a defense and counter-punch.”
But Buffalo’s defense had to wait three weeks to respond to Cincinnati’s opening offense.
For a month, the Bengals have been white hot from the jump.
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Take the playoff opener, the first three series against the Ravens in the regular season finale, the only completed series against the Bills and the first three series of Week 16 against the New England Patriots, the Bengals scored six touchdowns and three field goals with zero punts or turnovers. All against quality competition.
“The first 15 plays are written,” said Hyde, who was sidelined by neck surgery all season. Recently returned to practice. “They’re in a flow and a rhythm. As a defense, you don’t have to panic about that.”
The Bills’ defense surrendered the opening drive touchdown six times.
“Teams have their first 15 plays planned out well,” Boyer said. “So, it’s hard to say that you’ll stop every team in every opening campaign. To be able to handle adjustments throughout the game, that’s what counts.”
Veteran Bills safeties may still speak the same language after all.
Buffalo responded to Cincinnati with a long and selective field goal drive.
Josh Allen hit Stefon Diggs for 17 yards and then fumbled with Isaiah McKenzie. Allen ran for 9 yards. Devin Singletary ran 3 yards to move the chains up. Allen scrambled for 5 yards and found Diggs again for 9 yards. James Cook took the next two carries for 18 yards.
Then Allen found he rarely used Reggie Gilliam’s 7-yard run on what would have been a linebacker’s second touchdown in nearly three months, a potential clue to Cincinnati’s defensive team. Allen’s next two throws fell incomplete.
“We’d probably have the same game plan,” Betts said, “because we haven’t been able to show much. The first couple of drives, you can’t talk much about it because the first 15 plays you don’t know. They kind of feel like how we’ve come to terms with things and all that stuff.” “.
There’s that 15-game reference again.
Bass made the ball, then chipped away to Trayveon Williams, who returned it 26 yards. Mixon ran for 7 yards, and Burrow threw to Tee Higgins through the middle for 13 yards on the final play.
“It’s like watching your next opponent’s third preseason game,” Hyde said. “You care what the starters did on that drive, but you realize they might change it up. You never know.”
Saffold noted that all NFL guess games regardless of what is already known. Teams delve into the cinema room, sometimes for several years, hoping to spot a strategic tip.
“We’ll be back to square one,” Bates said. “They won’t know what we’re in for. We won’t know what they’re planning for this week. We’ll go and tape-watch just like any other week and make sure we’re ready.”
Bills defensive tackle Tim Settle didn’t want to get into the details of what happened three weeks ago.
Regardless, he said, every bit of information will be gobbled up and adjustments made.
“I’m not trying to go back and think about it,” Settle said. “You can’t say anything. It was very early in the game, but we’ll be ready if they try the same things or not.
“We’re not going to beat around the bush over nothing. We’ll get right to the point. We’ve been in this situation. They can bring Joe Montana out there, whoever they want. It doesn’t matter. We’ll keep getting to them.”
Contribution: Paul Diner Jr. and Guy Morrison
(Photo: Dylan Boyle/Getty Images)
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