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Buffalo Bills league leaders: Jordan Poyer standing out in the secondary

He sits at second in the league in pass breakups and at the top of the sack list among defensive backs

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills’ offense put out a weak showing in their 9-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but a few individual defenders used the game to boost they’re profiles a bit.


A low-volume performance from Tyrod Taylor caused him to fall to 24th in the NFL in passing yards with 349, leaving him between Josh McCown and Blake Bortles on that chart. His two touchdowns from the Jets game still put him in a tie for 14th in that category, although his placement in the quarterback rating chart fell to 19th as that number dropped down to 86.1.


LeSean McCoy’s poor day on the ground (nine rushing yards) didn’t hurt him as much as one would assume it would. His 119 yards are still good for 13th in the NFL, putting him in a tie with LeVeon Bell and within 10 yards of five other backs (one of whom is Jay Ajayi of the Miami Dolphins, who has only played in one game this year).

Mike Tolbert added five yards on to his total against the Panthers, leaving him with 47 yards on the year. He had been at 21st in the NFL, but now sits tied for 49th with Peyton Barber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Six quarterbacks have more rushing yards than Tolbert, led by Taylor’s 93. Taylor led the Bills by a wide margin with 55 rushing yards, and currently ranks 22nd in the NFL among all runners. The closest quarterback is Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, who is 10 yards behind.


As you might have suspected, the Bills don’t have anybody placed very highly in the league in this category. Jordan Matthews remains the team leader with 91 receiving yards, which ties him for 56th in the NFL with tight end Benjamin Watson of the Baltimore Ravens.

McCoy caught six passes against the Panthers, giving McCoy a team-high 11 receptions through two games. That actually ranks pretty high in the league right now, as Shady is in a nine-way tie for 15th among all receivers and tied with James White of the New England Patriots for fourth among running backs.

McCoy also leads the team in targets, with 13. That’s good for another huge tie at 35th on the NFL leaderboard. One spot below him is Charles Clay with 12; the logjam there includes former Bill and current San Francisco 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin.


Ramon Humber added 10 tackles against the Panthers to bring his season total to 23, good for second in the NFL behind Jatavis Brown of the Chargers and just ahead of Washington’s Zach Brown. Lorenzo Alexander is second on the team with 15, putting him in a 10-way tie for 27th with a handful of other prominent names like NaVorro Bowman of the 49ers and Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A couple Bills are tied for 14th in the league with two sacks. Jerry Hughes came up with both of his against the Panthers, while Jordan Poyer has had one in each game. Poyer is the leader among defensive backs by a full sack, and he’s one of two players (along with T.J. Watt of the Steelers and Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs) who have at least two sacks and one interception this year.

Poyer also ranks highly on the pass breakup chart. His six on the season puts him at second place in the league behind Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr. To put that number in perspective, only nine players in the NFL right now have more than three pass breakups, and Poyer is one of three with more than four.

Special Teams

With Brandon Tate inactive, there’s very little to mention on the return front. Taiwan Jones didn’t have the opportunity to return any kickoffs, while Kaelin Clay only fielded two punts for two yards (he also muffed one that the Bills recovered). Obviously, neither player registers on the league leaders list in a meaningful capacity.

Stephen Hauschka is one of four kickers with a single field goal to their name in 2017. Interestingly, all four have made their field goal on either one (Connor Barth), two (Hauschka), three (Brandon McManus), or four (Younghoe Koo) attempts.

Colton Schmidt had a much-improved performance in Carolina, and it’s reflected in his rise on the punting charts. His gross average of 46.2 yards per punt (up about three and a half yards) moves him from 23rd all the way up to a tie for 11th, and his net average jumped almost five yards to 39.8, which may only be good for 23rd but is still an improvement. The Bills worked out some punters earlier in the week, but Schmidt will have the chance to continue his upward trend.