I hope you enjoyed the bye week.
Now it’s time to get back to work and, what should be, an intense six more weeks of the 2020 regular season.
The Buffalo Bills coaching staff spent part of their bye week self-scouting and trying to determine what the team needs to do better the rest of the way. I’ll bet you have some ideas about that, and I think I can name the main ones on your list.
Let’s start with the performance of the offense in the third quarter.
It is the Bills’ lowest scoring quarter of the season. They have produced just three touchdowns and three field goals in the third quarter through the first 10 games of the season. In case you were wondering, here is the breakdown on the other quarters:
– First: 10 touchdowns, three field goals
– Second: Seven touchdowns, nine field goals
– Fourth: 11 touchdowns, four field goals
The Bills have been held scoreless in the third quarter in five of their 10 games. It has happened just one time in the first quarter, one time in the second and they have yet to be shutout in any fourth quarter this season.
As to the issues coming out of the halftime break, there is some good news to report.
Those five scoreless performances came in the first six games. The Bills have points in the third quarter in each of the last four games, so maybe they already figured something out.
As we approach the December portion of the schedule, I’ll bet some of you are worried about the Bills’ running game, specifically the lack of production from the running backs. The Bills are currently 27th in rushing yards per-game and 25th in yards per-carry, and that includes Josh Allen’s totals.
Devin Singletary does not look like the running back we saw in 2019. He is averaging just 4.1 yards per-carry, down a full yard from last season. Singletary ranks 31st in the NFL, and rookie Zack Moss is behind him averaging just 3.8 yards per-carry. Singletary has been under four yards per-carry in seven of his 10 games, and Moss has been sub-4.0 in four of his seven games.
Despite those stats, we might be seeing more of Moss if the last two games are any indication. Singletary had just six carries the last two games (granted the Bills hardly ran at all against the Seattle Seahawks), and his snap count was at 45%. Moss had 16 carries in those two games and was on the field for 55% of the snaps.
There is some good news, though.
As far as the rest of the schedule, the Bills will face just one top-10 defense (based on yards per-carry), which is San Francisco. The Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday’s opponent at Bills Stadium, are just 25th.
I’m hoping the struggles of the running backs can be explained, in large part, to the lack of continuity on the offensive line. The Bills have had five different starting combinations in 10 games and have yet to see what we think are the best five up front (Dion Dawkins, Cody Ford, Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano, Daryl Williams) play together in the same game.
One of the big stories this week will certainly be the status of Morse. The fact that he was dressed and didn’t play against the Arizona Cardinals, in what was called a coach’s decision by head coach Sean McDermott, certainly raised some eyebrows. Perhaps they wanted to give Morse a couple more weeks to recover from his most recent concussion.
Finally, there might be some of you who are worried about the Bills’ run defense going forward.
They are an unsightly 28th in both yards per-game and yards per-carry. I will point out that this stat is a little skewed because they gave up 462 yards on the ground in two games (Kansas City Chiefs and the Cardinals). The Bills have held their opponent under 100 yards rushing in five of their 10 contests.
In my continuing effort to make you feel good, here are the rankings of the remaining opponents, again, using yards per-carry, which is a better indicator than yards per-game. You will notice only one top-10 team on the list:
– Los Angeles Chargers: 22nd
– San Francisco 49ers: 18th
– Pittsburgh Steelers: 27th
– Denver Broncos: 16th
– New England Patriots: 7th
– Miami Dolphins: 32nd
As the late Van Miller would say, fasten your seat belts, and let’s see if the stretch run brings the Bills their first AFC East title in 25 years.