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Buffalo Bills team stats: A field goal better than almost every team on defense

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Only one team is within three points of Buffalo’s league-low 13.5 points allowed per game

The Buffalo Bills moved to 3-1 with an upset win over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday. Where did the team move in the league rankings?

Offense

Passing: 171.5 (31, last week 29)
Rushing: 112.8 (16, last week 12)
Total: 284.2 (29, last week 26)
Scoring: 18.2 (23, last week 25)
Turnovers: 1 (t-2, last week t-2)
Third down conversion rate: 40.6% (13, last week 15)

As hype continues to build around the 2017 Bills, the numbers you see above are what keep it from reaching a full-blown hysteria. Only the Ravens, Colts, and Dolphins are averaging fewer yards per game than the Bills, and two of those teams have had their primary starting quarterback sidelined by injury all season. Most notably, the top rushing team in the NFL over the last two seasons now ranks right in the middle of the pack, owing largely to a monster ground game in the season-opening win over the Jets.

That said, they’ve been extremely successful in one key area and moderately successful in another. While I incorrectly placed the Bills at the top of the league in fewest turnovers last week (the Saints have yet to turn the ball over), they really might as well be there; the lone interception came at the end of the very first drive of the year in a game the Bills won by two scores anyway. They’re also doing a good job of keeping drives alive on third down, converting 6-of-13 chances in the win over the Falcons.

Defense

Passing: 212.8 (11, last week 9)
Rushing: 93.2 (13, last week 7)
Total: 306.0 (8, last week 6)
Scoring: 13.5 (1, last week 1)
Takeaways: 7 (t-4, last week t-9)
Sacks: 11 (t-10)

For the second consecutive week the Bills are atop the NFL in fewest points allowed, 1.3 points ahead of the second-place Steelers and over a field goal better than their upcoming opponent, the Bengals. They’ve managed to hold that status despite sitting outside of the top ten in passing and rushing defense while dropping to eighth in total yards allowed.

A big reason for that is the amount of turnovers they force. After picking off Matt Ryan twice on Sunday, both by Micah Hyde, the Bills are tied for third in the NFL with six interceptions. They only have one fumble recovery, but it was a big one as Tre’Davious White ran the ball back for the team’s first defensive touchdown of the season.

I’m not sure why I wasn’t tracking sacks to start the year, but I’ll rectify that now. The Bills are in a five-way tie for tenth in the league with 11, with six teams tied right ahead of them at 12.

Other

Turnover differential: +6 (t-2, last week t-5)
Penalties: 28 (t-15, last week t-10)
Penalty Yards: 218 (t-7, last week t-8)
Average time of possession: 28:20 (24, last week t-25)

I touched on turnovers in both of the previous sections, so it should come as no surprise that the Bills are ranked so high in differential, tied with the Jaguars and behind only the Lions at +9.

The Bills have been a fairly well-disciplined team all year, and it’s interesting to me that after nine penalties for 55 yards against the Falcons, they managed to simultaneously fall out of the top ten in fewest penalties while rising up a spot in fewest penalty yards. If you’re wondering, the Bills currently rank 24th in the NFL in yards per penalty at 9.04, with the lowest (Rams) at 6.59 and the highest (Texans) at 10.39.

You know what’s even more interesting? Despite have one drive last for 11 minutes and 20 seconds in the second half, the Bills still lost the possession battle to the Falcons by two-and-a-half minutes. Half of their third-down conversions came on that drive.