What a great game! Or at least that’s what it sounds like it was based on accounts from people who were there and didn’t miss most of it due to the power outage. Needless to say, the interrupted broadcast adversely affected my usual note taking process. I had hoped that DirecTV’s condensed version of the game would let me catch what wasn’t broadcast but that wasn’t meant to be. Congrats to those of you who got to see the whole thing.
I got to see 21 of the 30 runs. 4 went to the left C gap and went for 0, 6, 5, and 4 yards— 3.8 ypa. 3 runs went to the left B gap and went for 2, 8, and 7 yards—5.7 ypa. 3 runs went to the A gap and went for 3, 3 and 1 yards—2.3 ypa. 5 runs went to the right B gap for -2, 3, 0, 4, and 1 yards—1.2 ypa. 6 runs went to the right C gap and went for 2, 9 (TD), 2, 0, 5, and 19 yards—6.2 ypa. A gap running continued to be tough sledding for the Bills, not a great surprise given the centers Buffalo employs and the DTs the Chargers have. With that said, I like the fact that Buffalo is at least trying to pound the ball up the middle. By the end of the game the Chargers’ DTs were looking tired. Once the play was past the DT he often just kind of stood there and watched instead of trying to run the RB down. Having the ball 10 minutes more than the Chargers certainly helped but forcing the big boys shed blocks and make tackles wore them down. It really paid off on the final drive when the last 3 runs (4, 1, 7 yards) went through the B gaps.
Of those 21 runs, the Chargers stacked the box on 16 (76.2%) of them. The Bills picked up 58 yards on those 16 runs—3.6 ypa. Take out the 19 yarder and the Bills got 39 yards on 15 carries—2.6 ypa. While not good, it’s not exactly terrible when you consider the Bills (using 2 backup interior linemen) did it by running straight into the teeth of the Chargers’ defense. On the 5 runs where the Chargers had 7 or less in the box, the Bills picked up 24 yards—4.8 ypa. Teams just can’t afford to give up that kind of yardage to the Bills so look for the stacked boxes to continue. Besides, why not have 8 in the box if Buffalo is content to try to make a living off the short passing game?
There is good news, besides a ‘W’ that has nothing to do with the resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or the farcical movie about him. The Evans TD was a run play. When I watched it during the game I thought the blocking was awfully strange for a pass play. Well, it wasn’t a pass play. It was a run play all the way. I saw Edwards later on buffalobills.com talking about the TD. He saw Evans had single coverage and threw him the ball. It wasn’t an audible, given that he never called out a different play, but rather a sight adjustment. Let’s hope we see more of that against stacked boxes. (The Chargers had 10 in the box on that play.) That’s the only way the Bills are going to get teams to back off of the line of scrimmage.
Before hitting the linemen, the touchdown run by Lynch (Run 18) was a thing of beauty. While Jackson is deservedly getting credit for laying out Jammer there were 4 other key blocks on the play. Whittle cut 92 at the point of attack, taking him out of the play. Reed took on 95 (!) and rode him in a circle away from Lynch’s run lane. Royal drove 93 5 yards off the line of scrimmage. Finally, the last guy to have a shot at Lynch (20) was unceremoniously slapped into the endzone by Walker. It was a terrific blocking scheme and executed perfectly. While Jackson is getting all the attention, the block by Reed was even more impressive. Reed has to be giving up at least 50 pounds to 95 while Jackson likely has a weight advantage on Jammer.
Peters had a very good game. He had 7 good run plays, 12 decent ones, 2 bad ones and no killed run plays. Highlights include driving DEs and LBs 3-5 yards off the ball and giving Cromartie a flying lesson. Lowlights include being knocked flat by a DE and getting tangled up with Dock and winding up in a heap. Peters has 2 good pass plays, 8 decent ones, no bad ones and no killed pass plays. (I only got to see 10 pass plays.) Peters wasn’t helped on any pass plays.
Dock had a good game as well. He had 5 good run plays, 14 decent ones, 2 bad ones, and no killed run plays. Highlights included driving the DT 3 yards off the line, putting a DE down on Lynch’s TD run, and getting a piece of 3 defenders on the last run play of the game—letting Jackson pick up the clock killing first down. Lowlights were virtually the same as Peters’ and even on the same plays! He had no good pass plays, 10 decent ones, no bad ones and no killed plays.
I’ve read a couple of comments about Preston on the boards to the effect that perhaps Buffalo should look to him instead of Fowler. I didn’t see anything to support such a move. Preston had 3 good run plays, 12 decent ones, 6 bad ones and no killed plays. Highlights include driving the backup NT 3 yards, putting the starting (stud) DT down, and driving the backup DT 2 yards on the last run play. Lowlights include being tossed aside by the starting DT, whiffing on multiple cut blocks, and being driven into the backfield several times. Preston had no good pass plays, 10 decent ones, no bad one and no killed pass plays.
Butler was in the game long enough to have 3 decent run plays, 2 decent pass plays and 1 bad pass play.
Whittle replaced Butler and had a fairly good day. He had 5 good run plays, 10 decent ones, 3 bad ones and 1 killed run play. That killed play also killed a drive that started at the 1 yard line. 76 just beat Whittle and made the tackle for no gain. The highlight was his cutblock on the Lynch TD. Whittle had no good pass plays, 8 decent ones, no bad pass plays and no killed plays.
Walker had a fantastic game. He had 7 good run plays, 14 decent ones, no bad ones and no killed plays. The highlights include helping Royal with a DE then peeling off to take out a filling DB, putting DEs down, and swatting a DB into the endzone on the Lynch TD. There were no lowlights. He had no good pass plays, 10 decent ones, no bad pass plays and no killed plays. Walker was helped on only 1 pass play.