On Nov. 7, during Week 9 of the NFL season, the Buffalo Bills, in a close race for the lead of their division, flew to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars, who carry one of the worst records in the NFL. The Bills proceeded to lose 9-6. No touchdowns were scored by either team in an absolutely atrocious display of offense.
Out of the ashes of this mess came a record that well may stand the test of time for decades. The Bill’s star quarterback, Josh Allen, was pressured all game by the Jags’ front four, allowing four sacks. One of those crucial sacks came courtesy of a 6’5”, 262 pound edge rusher also named Josh Allen, a Jaguars defender who was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl his rookie season. This marks the first time since 1982, when sacks became an official statistic, that a player has sacked another player of the same name.
The Bills’ Allen also put up his worst QB rating of the year so far at 62.7, mostly attributable to his turnovers: two interceptions and a lost fumble. His second interception was an errant throw out of a sack late in the third quarter, which landed right in the hands of a lurking Josh Allen. His lone fumble, coming in Jags’ territory with a potential game-winning drive on the line, was recovered by—you guessed it—Josh Allen.
Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, quarterback Baker Mayfield and company did what they do best: destroy the Bengals. Mayfield ended the day 14 of 21 for 218 yards and two touchdowns, good for a QB rating of 132.6, his best so far this season. Running back Nick Chubb rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries for a mind-boggling 9.79 yards per attempt.
Mayfield’s record improves to 6-1 in his favor against the Bengals. This pair have had some of their best career games against the Bengals, including a five touchdown, 297 yard game last year from Mayfield on nearly 80% completion. Chubb has had four different 100-plus rushing yard games against Cincinnati.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this game is the player who didn’t show up for Cleveland: star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham was released Friday, Nov. 5 amid a very disruptive controversy sparked by his father. Beckham Sr. complained on social media about his son’s lack of targets, resulting in the Browns excusing him from multiple practices and Beckham allegedly telling his head coach that he no longer wanted to be on the team.
Beckham has not had double-digit targets in a game since week one of the 2020 season; for reference, Jarvis Landry, widely considered the “WR2” in Cleveland, saw 10 passes thrown his way just a week before Beckham’s release.
The general consensus is that the quarterback, Mayfield, and the wide receiver, Beckham, were never on the same page to begin with. That five touchdown game mentioned above came during a stretch of games with Beckham sidelined due to injury. Many point blame at Mayfield for not finding an often-open Beckham, while others criticize Beckham for being a distraction to the team and not working with the Browns’ offensive system.
(*All stats compiled from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise stated.)