The Buffalo Bills are now 1-4 in games that EJ Manuel did not finish after yesterday's tough 23-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They're 3-6 overall, their playoff hopes are fading fast, Manuel is probably still at least a week away from returning to the lineup, and the team still has a lot of problems to fix.
Let's take a look at the snap count numbers from yesterday's game to see what we can learn. We're keeping a year-to-date table of snap counts, as well, which we'll update with these Chiefs numbers as soon as we can.
It's pretty ridiculous that C.J. Spiller was able to compile 155 yards of offense playing just 23 snaps in the game. That right there is making the most out of your opportunities. Here's hoping that his ankle didn't get discernibly worse yesterday, even though he was spotted limping on the sideline on multiple occasions.
Marquise Goodwin continues to see more snaps; he had 44 against Cincinnati, 33 in New Orleans and 29 more yesterday. He also got hurt again yesterday, so it's not exactly difficult to understand why the Bills might feel inclined to limit his reps, as nauseating as that Roscoe Parrish logic might be. Durability is a concern for this guy, but it's also painfully obvious that he needs to be on the field a lot. That's an interesting line the team will need to walk.
After a slow week in New Orleans, it was heartening to see Lee Smith used more frequently as a pass protector. It shouldn't be shocking that the Bills were much better in that department against the Chiefs than they were a week ago.
Kiko Alonso gets credit for playing every snap this season, but three Bills linemen deserve credit for the same thing: Cordy Glenn, Erik Pears and Eric Wood have yet to miss a single snap this season. That's been huge with the Bills dealing with issues at left guard, and it's especially huge given the team's durability issues up front over the last several years. Here's to hoping that those three linemen can keep the streak alive.
Buffalo's defense was only on the field for 58 snaps - easily a season low. Two Chiefs defensive touchdowns certainly helped their cause, but holding the Chiefs to 3-of-13 on third downs was also crucial. The Bills didn't force a turnover for a second straight game, but they did more than enough to win that football game.
With the low snap count came unusually high snap percentages for several players, most notably Kyle Williams and especially Marcell Dareus up front. The numbers were also unusually high for Arthur Moats and Nigel Bradham, which speaks more to Kansas City's conservative style on offense than anything specific to Mike Pettine's game plan. Where the linebackers saw more playing time than usual, nickel corner Nickell Robey saw easily his lowest snap total of the season.
It was a bit surprising to see Da'Norris Searcy check in at just 40 percent of snaps played; he was at 61 percent a week ago as the third safety in the rotation, albeit against a much more high-octane offense. How Pettine uses his safeties now that Jairus Byrd is fully healthy and Aaron Williams is back at the position will be a subtly important story line to follow heading into an off-season where a decision will need to be made on Byrd and, if he leaves, more help will be needed.
What else sticks out to you within these numbers, Bills fans?