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Too Early To Judge Buffalo Bills' Run Defense

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In the surge of optimism following the Buffalo Bills' 41-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, one area of the team that I've been reticent to talk about is the run defense, even though I've been asked repeatedly to opine on it.

Here's my opinion, and it hasn't changed an iota since before Week 1: I'm still in wait-and-see mode.

The circumstances of Buffalo's big win made running the football an afterthought for the Chiefs very quickly in the ball game. Jamaal Charles logged his eighth carry of the game during Kansas City's lone scoring drive of the game (which made the score 20-7 in favor of the Bills); he didn't log his ninth carry until the Bills were up 41-7. The Bills grabbed an early lead, which changed Kansas City's game plan so drastically that it's tough to pass initial judgment on anything the Bills did defensively.

What they did do is shave two yards off of the 7.6 yards-per-carry average Charles had posted against them in their last two meetings. Charles still averaged 5.6 yards per carry, however, and the Chiefs averaged six yards per carry as a team. We'll get a better idea of the gains (or lack thereof) the Bills have made against the run this week against Oakland.

In case you were wondering, here's how Charles' carry breakdown occurred in the flow of the game.

Bills lead 7-0
Run 1: 4 yards
Run 2: 3 yards
Run 3: 4 yards
3 carries, 11 yards (3.7 YPC)

Bills lead 14-0
Run 4: 22 yards
Run 5: no gain
Run 6: 2 yards
6 carries, 35 yards (5.8 YPC)

Bills lead 17-0
Run 7: 3 yards, fumble lost
7 carries, 38 yards (5.4 YPC), 1 fumble lost

Bills lead 20-0
Run 8: 14 yards
8 carries, 52 yards (6.5 YPC), 1 fumble lost

Bills lead 41-7
Run 9: 5 yards
Run 10: -1 yard
10 carries, 56 yards (5.6 YPC), 1 fumble lost