ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — The Bills offense wasn’t going to out-talent the Jets. They needed to try something else.

So, they outsmarted the Jets.

It’s not an out of left field idea. The Jets are young and fast and aggressive, but they’re also young and inexperienced and undisciplined. You don’t have to look far to find examples and the roughing the passer that negated a go-ahead pick-six against the Patriots in late October is the most egregious example.

The 4th down trick play late in the first half with Dawson Knox going under center was a brilliant way to take advantage of the one area where the Jets defense is lacking. The play totally changed the game, leading to points Mitch Morse said the Bills needed “tremendously”. Buffalo also scored on the next three possessions and put a big enough number on the board to make sure Mike White and the Jets were never a real threat.

Give Ken Dorsey credit for having that nugget in the bag and finding a perfect spot to use it. I wasn’t a huge fan of his inconsistent approach to killing the game off in the fourth quarter. Without that trick play however, we might still be sitting at Highmark Stadium watching the Bills and Jets exchange punts.

This is a bit of a brand-new world for the Bills offense. They haven’t been dominating teams for weeks now. Granted, the last couple against the Jets and Patriots are elite defenses that no one really dominates. It’s more than just the opponents for Buffalo. Josh Allen led the Bills in rushing for the 8th time in the 13 games. Knox, Isaiah McKenzie and Gabe Davis don’t get open consistently enough and are good for a handful of frustrating drops weekly. Devin Singletary can’t even be counted on to catch a bleeping swing pass these days.

Fortunately, Allen remains a force of nature and continues to do what must be done even while putting life and limb on the line. For the second straight week, Allen went airborne in a spot that likely had Bills fans cringing as much as celebrating another hurdle victim. The Bills need to make things easier for Allen before the landings stop being soft.

I don’t think the Bills can count on this offense to simply score other teams out of the ballpark. Not in January. They must find new ways to succeed. In this game, it was a very intelligent trick play that got the Jets on skates and helped start a 20-point offensive run.

Speaking of finding something new, that pass rush without Von Miller looked pretty darn good. It’s one thing to get four sacks. It’s entirely another to send the other team’s quarterback to the hospital after the game.

Greg Rousseau keeps finding his way to the quarterback. A.J. Epenesa had his second straight very good game. Shaq Lawson remains a dependable asset. I have my doubts about whether these three can adequately provide the pressure the Bills expected from Von Miller when we get to the postseason, but Lawson made a very good point about why the Bills should.

“I’ve been telling (Epenesa and Rousseau), ‘y’all got drafted first, second round for a reason’,” Lawson said. “All our D-ends are first and second-round picks. They drafted them and they brought me back for a reason. So, I feel like we can do it.”

You don’t get to be a first or second-round pick without showing a ton of ability in college. It’s way better to hope for success from guys that were already talented before they got into the league. The Jets O-line was a very respectable 13th in the NFL for least sacks allowed before Sunday. If the non-Von pass rush can get them, there’s good reason to hope it can continue.

The Bills were a number one defense without Miller last year because the secondary was as good as it gets with experience, talent and maybe more important in Sean McDermott’s zone-based defense, cohesion. McDermott doesn’t have that this year and this week’s result was White converting five third and long’s in his sixth career start.

The big problem is corner. Tre White isn’t back to his All-Pro level and I don’t think he’ll be there all season. I do think he’ll keep getting better and more comfortable, which means Playoff Tre will be the best version of Tre this year. Beyond that, there is no good option for the other side. There isn’t even a Levi Wallace this year.

I remain a huge Dane Jackson fan, but I have to admit he’s not getting it done. Kaiir Elam’s first three NFL months have been a bust. Xavier Rhodes got one shot against the Patriots and then got benched. Christian Benford will get an opportunity when healthy again because the Bills have nothing to lose, but hasn’t really been much better.

The plan for the Bills at the beginning of the year was to score a ton of points with a lights-out offense and then let Miller close the game with score at something like 35-17. The offense is no longer dominant because there isn’t enough consistent production beyond Stefon Diggs. And Miller is gone.

There’s going to have to be a new plan. The Bills have four games to figure out what they can depend on going into the playoffs beyond Allen heroics and the Diggs WR1 clinic. Against the Jets, it was intelligence. This is a team that loves to work the officials for every edge and every possible call. They have experience. They’ve played big games. There might be more nuggets there. And maybe those young guys the Bills drafted years ago for the defensive line are finally starting to realize their potential.

This was a really solid win against a pretty good division rival. It’s a win the Bills needed to have and it came in some semi-adverse weather. It’s the type of grinding victory we’ve seen from Buffalo over the last month or so. It’s why they remain a strong Super Bowl contender and the official favorite to win the whole thing in Vegas.

To stay there, it’s hard to shake the feeling this team still needs something else.