Buffalo Bills: Tyler Bass emerges as the difference in win over Jets

Geoff Magliocchetti
Nov 24, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a Buffalo Bills helmet on the field prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills rookie kicker Tyler Bass accounted for every visitors’ point on Sunday after against the New York Jets.

Tyler Bass’ propensity for the three-pointer on Sunday would have him fitting right with the WNBA’s New York Liberty, they of over 600 attempts from that range during their 22-game trek in the Bradenton bubble.

Bass won’t be hitting the hardwood anytime soon, but his three-pointers still came up big for a New York-based squad on Sunday. The rookie kicker accounted for every point the Buffalo Bills scored in New Jersey, becoming the catalyst behind an 18-10 win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. His six successful conversions tied a team-record previously set by team legend Steve Christie, who matched the tally in a 1996 victory…ironically also against the Jets in Jersey.

“It’s amazing,” Bass said of his afternoon, per Jourdon LaBarber & Dante Lasting of BuffaloBills.com. “I just couldn’t have done it without the guys up front, couldn’t have done it without (long snapper) Reid (Ferguson), (punter/holder Corey Bojorquez), the coaches for believing in me. But, yeah, it’s a good feeling that we won. That’s most important. I know I got some things to clean up but other than that I was very proud of what happened.”

At the onset of the game, Bass was destined by some to be history rather than making it; entering the contest with a 6-of-9 conversion rate, Bass ended Buffalo’s first drive with a 45-yard miss, a mistake that contributed to an early 10-0 deficit. He would later earn successful attempts from 53 and 48 yards out (the latter coming at the very end of the first half) and later gave Buffalo the lead for good with two more in the third quarter (these from 46 and 37 yards away).

However, doubt began to creep back into the Buffalo fan’s mindset with Bass missed another 37-yard attempt, keeping the affair at a slim two-point lead going into the final stanzas. In the time of trouble, Bass turned to an unusual, yet special, source of motivation…his eye black.

Bass notably wears eye black, an athletic tradition said to reduce glare, under only one of his eyes, something CBS announcers Greg Gumbel and Rich Gannon made note of during the course of the game. Asked about his unusual set up after the game, Bass said it’s a subtle reminder of the 2019 Cure Bowl, his final college game at Georgia Southern.

“It’s just something I do,” he said, per LaBarber and Lasting. “(It) makes me feel more than a kicker at times. (In) my last game of my college career, I had an ‘M.’ That was for my grandma. We were in a little Cure Bowl which was about breast cancer. So, kind of since then I just use it and it kind of gives me a little confidence.”

Called upon twice more in the fourth quarter, Bass was able to convert his later opportunities and help create the final margin. Buffalo’s defense took care of the rest, as a Jerry Hughes interception of Sam Darnold on the final drive put an end to the Jets’ comeback bid.

In the aftermath of the win, which ended Buffalo’s two-game losing streak, quarterback Josh Allen noted that the distress of not reaching the end zone was offset by Bass’ effectiveness.

“We have to find ways to finish in the end zone,” Allen declared, per Adam Unger of WKBW-TV. “A couple of penalties pushed us back and put us in a bad position, and shout out to T-Bass for making all those kicks and getting us the win.”

“It’s not about how many you make, it’s about what you do after you miss,” Bass also noted in Unger’s report. “Anyone can handle stuff when things are easy, just about. When something goes wrong, it’s just about, how do you handle that?”

Bills head coach Sean McDermott was certainly pleased with the way Bass answered that question on Sunday.

“Coming up with three instead of seven, that’s what keeps a team in the game,” McDermott said, per Unger. “I thought special teams, Tyler Bass, I know he had a couple of miscues, but at the end of the day he made some big-time kicks in some big-time moments in the game.”

Bass and the Bills (5-2) return to action on Sunday at home against the New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags