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Snap counts from Buffalo’s 16-0 win over New England

Insights about the players who played on Sunday

The snap counts are in from Sunday’s Bills win, and as usual we can get some clues about Buffalo’s gameplan from the amount each player saw the field. This week: a focus on tight ends, and Buffalo’s special teams core.

Personnel rotation? Not in the back seven

A week after using a confusing array of personnel packages that sometimes featured seven defensive backs, the Bills barely adjusted their on-field personnel between downs this week. Both safeties, both outside cornerbacks, and both inside linebackers played 100% of snaps this week. Jerry Hughes played 50/56 snaps, Lorenzo Alexander had 40/56, and Lerentee McCray had 16/56 snaps. The team spent most of its time in a 2-4-5 nickel package (or 4-2-5 depending on how you’d characterize the pass rushers), and the only back seven reserves to see the field were Brandon Spikes (five snaps), Kevon Seymour (six snaps), and Robert Blanton (eight snaps).

Special teams standouts

Four games into the season, the key pieces of Buffalo’s special teams unit have begun to emerge. With the Bills keeping their personnel packages relatively vanilla this week, a number of reserves only saw time on special teams this week. Safeties Colt Anderson (now recovered from his injury), Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks, along with Ramon Humber and Corey White, all played zero defensive snaps but saw significant time on teams. The other three members of the core special teams group? Lorenzo Alexander, who bulled a Patriots blocker backwards into the kick returner yesterday, Lerentee McCray, and Mike Gillislee.

Zach “Iron Man” Brown

The man, the myth, the legend, Buffalo’s bargain-bin free agent signing has been a revelation since joining the team and taking over for Reggie Ragland. Brown has already collected 52 tackles (35 solo) this season, which puts him on pace for a ridiculous 208 (140) line if he could sustain that pace. He’s played every single snap for the Bills this season, which means that, yes, he went right back onto the field after chasing Julian Edelman 90 yards to the goalline on the first play from scrimmage.

Tight end emphasis

Charles Clay was clearly a part of the game plan this week, earning seven targets and catching five of them. He played a nice 69 snaps, which was more than any Bills receiver or running back had. Nick O’Leary continued to increase his role, playing on 27 snaps. He had a nice fingertip grab and an excellent cut block among his plays Sunday. The team averaged 1 running back, 0.28 fullbacks, 1.32 tight ends, and 2.41 wide receivers this week; the tight end count was a season-high.