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Film Breakdown of Tyrod Taylor: Week 11

Plenty of GIFs to help analyze much of what Taylor did on the field against the Bengals.

The Bills got a much needed win against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. Although they got a much needed victory on the road to keep their playoff hopes alive, they would go on to lose Robert Woods to a knee injury for at least a few weeks.

Scoring 16 points in the game with only one offensive touchdown, the offense, Tyrod Taylor in specific left quite a few plays on the field. Looking through the game-in-full, Taylor yet again took a step back after posting his best performance as a pro.

Let’s take a look at a few plays that stood out to me.

This play is really a perfect example of why I like Taylor throwing from under center. He does a nice job getting depth off of the play action. My first issue from there however stems from poor timing and staring down his receiver. The route itself ran by Robert Woods took far too long to develop. I understand the concept, as it’s meant to look like the Woods is running a crossing or post pattern but then breaks down and hitches up. This throw however is a timing route and has to be thrown before Woods makes his break.

Taylor drifts out to his left, stares down Woods and throws the ball late. The ball likely should have been picked off but Woods does a terrific job making a play off of the tip. I don’t necessarily believe there was a better option for Taylor on this play because of the numbers game. Only two Bills receivers truly went out on routes on the play and went up against three Bengals defensive backs, one being the over-the-top help. There really isn’t a winning throw to be made on this play and I think I’d rather see him Taylor tuck it and find a positive play or look to dump it down.

We’ll see on a few plays from last Sunday, Taylor seems a little unwilling to make the dump down throw and it hurt him a lot in this game.

Grade: C

This is the exact type of play that has really frustrated me about Taylor’s season and an example of him not checking or dumping it down to LeSean McCoy to make the safe play. He also holds onto the ball for far too long on this play and panics when his first two options aren’t immediately open. What confuses me the most is his willingness to wait for routes to open up down field but panics and tries to escape before they finally get open.

The offensive line does a great job giving Taylor a clean pocket but Taylor again puts himself directly in harms way by taking his eyes from his receivers down field and running right into the pass rush. When you see the coaches angle on this play, you’ll see the Bengals drop back into a Cover 2 look leaving the receiver at the top of the screen eventually come open when the defensive back settles into his zone. Nick O’Leary eventually comes open over the middle of the field which is where you want to target and hurt a defense running a two-high safety look.

When Taylor holds onto the ball as long as he does, he wastes or misses the small windows of opportunity to make a big play when receivers come open. At the very least, a play to LeSean McCoy NEEDS to be made to allow McCoy an opportunity to make one or two guys miss. Instead, Taylor panics out, bails out of the pocket and it ends up putting them behind the sticks even further and ultimately leads to a punt and wasted possession.

This is where I desperately need Taylor to improve. He just doesn’t trust what he’s seeing out there or doesn’t have the guts to make a window throw over the middle. I’m not suggesting it’s an easy throw to hit O’Leary who breaks open over the middle between both safeties but it’s a throw, if made, can be a huge game changer and put more points on the board.

Grade: D+

In yet another example of bailing out of a good pocket too soon, Taylor fortunately, is able to recover and deliver a catchable ball for a big play. To me though, Taylor just needs to sit back and wait until Tate passes the face of the linebacker. On this play, because the Bengals are running a zone, the crossing route will take slightly longer to come open. Taylor however, doesn’t need to buy time on this play as the offensive line does a nice job giving him a fairly clean pocket.

I don’t want to dwell on the negatives of this play as I’m glad Taylor was able to keep his eyes down field to make the throw as Tate eventually got open but it speaks to the deeper issues in Taylor’s game. As much as fans and analysts love Taylor’s ability to escape from pressure, he sometimes “escapes” prematurely when a clean pocket exists. What it does is hurts his ability to keep his eyes down field and make quick decisions.

Grade: B-

I’m going to blame this play a lot on lack of timing with Percy Harvin, who has only played with the Bills for a few short weeks and simply doesn’t have his timing down with Taylor. But, there is some blame to be passed along to Taylor on this play who seems to resort back to poor footwork far too often. This is a quick timing route and generally speaking, is thrown in rhythm.

What I think hurts Taylor’s rhythm on this play is some sloppy footwork. He falls back on his heels when he comes to a stop and instead of staying on his toes he throws a slightly inaccurate ball too far to the sideline.

This is a throw I need Taylor to make nine times out of 10 and instead of an easy first down for a Bills offense to simply run out the clock and get out of Paul Brown Stadium with a drama free victory, the Bills are forced to punt the ball and rely on their defense making a stop.

The Bills defense was indeed able to step up and make the stop so no harm done, but it’s something I really want to see this Bills offense and Taylor in particular work on. These short timing routes may not seem super important, it’s the timing in which they come that will be important.

Grade: D

All-in-all it was a pretty rocky performance for Taylor and the Bills offense. They’ll need a better performance in Week 12 against a pretty good Jaguars defense. Luckily for Taylor, he’ll likely have his top weapon Sammy Watkins back in the line up this week, so the pressure moves back on the shoulders of Taylor.