Quinnen Williams wrecked the Bills in 2022, and the New York Jets need him to do it again
To win in the NFL, you need your biggest stars to shine brightest in the biggest moments.
Despite exiting with an injury midway through the second quarter of the Jets’ second game against Buffalo, Williams recorded three sacks in two games against the Bills. He did this across just 46 pass-rush snaps, giving him a sack rate of 6.5%. How good is that? It’s more than double his season average of 3.1% – which led all defensive tackles.
In Week 9, Williams beat Bills center Mitch Morse for a 7-yard sack on first down, restoring momentum one play after the Jets lost a fumble. It’s worth noting the quality of the competition Williams defeated here – this sack ended Morse’s 16-game streak of no sacks allowed.
The eventual impact was also crucial. This sack created an obvious passing situation on second-and-17, where Josh Allen forced a bad pass and was intercepted by Sauce Gardner.
In Week 14, Williams picked up another first-down sack to set the tone for a defensive series, beating left guard Rodger Saffold for a 9-yard loss. The Bills ended up punting.
While it’s not nearly as impressive as the other two sacks, Williams also had a cleanup sack on Allen in the Week 14 game. Williams doesn’t win his rep but is able to shed his block and catch the scrambling Allen (courtesy of Bryce Huff’s pressure) before he escapes the pocket. This came on third-and-10, forcing a punt.
It wasn’t just the sacks, though. Williams’ overall pass-rush consistency was also outstanding against Buffalo.
With six total pressures on 46 pass-rush snaps, Williams had a pressure rate of 13.0% across the two Bills games. That is better than his season average of 12.4%, which ranked third among defensive tackles. It was also better than Javon Hargrave’s position-leading season average of 12.6%.
Williams soared even further beyond his already dominant standards when the Jets faced Buffalo. That’s what superstars do.
And the Jets need him to do that again on September 11.
Whether Williams replicates his 2022 dominance over Buffalo will be one of the biggest factors in determining the outcome of next Monday’s season opener. Last year, it was clear how vital Williams is for the Jets to hold Buffalo’s offense in check.
With a healthy Williams in the first Bills game, New York limited Buffalo to 17 points and pulled off the victory. In the second game, the Jets held the Bills scoreless over their first four drives while Williams was still in the game.
But after Williams left, the Bills scored 20 points over their next eight drives. That’s 2.5 points per drive, just a hair behind their overall regular season average of 2.52 (second-best in the NFL) and identical to the Eagles’ third-ranked mark.
Across both games, the Bills scored just 17 points over 12 drives with Williams on the field. That’s 1.42 points per drive, which would slide between the 31st-ranked Texans (1.43) and 32nd-ranked Colts (1.39).
Essentially, the Bills looked like the Texans when Williams was on the field, and when he wasn’t, they looked like their usual selves.
That is how important Williams will be on Monday Night Football.