The Buffalo Bills defense allowed 434 points in 2011, a total that placed them 30th in the NFL. After two straight years allowing points by the barrel, defensive coordinator George Edwards lost his job. Let's dive a little further into the Bills scoring defense as we continue our year-end autopsy.
During the two years Buddy Nix has had to transition to the 3-4 defense, he has signed several free agents and waiver wire pick-ups as well as drafted six defenders in the first four rounds. Still, they gave up the second-most points in team history in 2011. The league average for points allowed was just over 22 points per game. The Bills defense allowed less than that in just three games; a shutout of the Washington Redskins in Toronto, a season-opening beat-down of the Kansas City Chiefs, and a late-season demolition of the playoff-bound Denver Broncos.
In 1984, the Bills allowed 454 points. Until Chan Gailey arrived, the only other time the Bills allowed more than 400 points in a season was in Gregg Williams' first year transitioning from the 3-4 to 4-3 defense in 2001. (It took Williams until his third season to see a great improvement in the defense and by then, he was on his way out. Mike Mularkey replaced him and inherited a great defense.)
When you look at the two-year span, the numbers are even worse. In 2010, the Bills allowed 425 points. The total allowed under Gailey, Nix, and Edwards in two seasons stands at 879. That figure is the worst over consecutive years in team history. It's also the worst in the NFL over the last two seasons. (Next on the inept list are the Denver Broncos with 861. Every other team is under 813.)
It's not the worst scoring ranking in team history, but it's close. The 1971 Buffalo Bills finished dead last in points allowed in the NFL and went 1-13. The 1984 team we discussed earlier was next-to-last while the 2001 team was 29 of 31 teams. The 2011 Bills matched that figure, coming in just two spots from the bottom at 30th in the league.
Thanks to the offense's hot start, the scoring differential didn't kill the Bills in 2011. They were 22nd in the metric with a -62 scoring differential. If the Bills want to contend for a playoff spot in 2012, they will need to get the scoring defense under control with new coordinator Dave Wannstedt.