Buffalo Bills Pass Defense Worse Than Numbers Indicate

ORCHARD PARK NY - DECEMBER 12: Leodis McKelvin #28 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates making an interception against the Cleveland Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12 2010 in Orchard Park New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Heading into their Week 15 matchup with the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills boast the NFL's fourth-rated pass defense, surrendering just 197.5 passing yards per game. Very few people are paying much attention to that statistic, and it's not hard to understand why: the stat doesn't mean a lot. Even Bills head coach Chan Gailey admitted as much earlier this week.

"That is a can’t stop the run deal," Gailey explained. "If they don’t have to throw it, they’re not going to. So, that’s what that is. It’s one of the anomalies of the statistics."

Gailey is, of course, correct. Thanks to Buffalo's league-worst run defense, opponents run the ball an average of 35.5 times per game - the highest average in the NFL against one team. As a result, those same opponents only pass the ball 29.7 times per game against Buffalo, which is - you guessed it - the lowest per-game average in the league.

Buffalo has allowed 22 touchdowns through the air this season; that's the ninth-highest total in the NFL. They've allowed first downs on 38.3% of passes, which is the fourth-highest percentage in the league. They're the seventh-worst team in the league in opposing quarterback passer rating, with Buffalo's opponents boasting a 92.1 quarterback rating on the season.

Part of the problem is, clearly, the pass rush; Buffalo's 22 sacks are the fourth-lowest total in the NFL. But the secondary isn't blameless, either; Donte Whitner made waves yesterday with his frustration over contract negotiations, and the likes of Drayton Florence, George Wilson and Ashton Youboty are set to become free agents, as well. Don't expect Buffalo to overpay for any of these guys; the results just haven't been there.

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