Our final Buffalo Bills game of the season has no shortage of dramatic story lines when it comes to playing time. With concerns heading into the game, LeSean McCoy stood out as a huge question mark. Defensive standout and frequent special teamer Matt Milano’s absence was sure to be felt. The shadow of Kyle Williams’ retirement loomed large over every down.
Offense (77 total plays)
- Nathan Peterman was only in for four plays, but it felt like eternity didn’t it? Being one score down with the ball in your hands at the end of the game isn’t the worst way to go out but it certainly amps up the drama.
- Ryan Groy saw some action in relief of Richie Incognito and also got some snaps in some heavy personnel formations.
- Deonte Thompson edges out Zay Jones again. Both caught two passes. Jones had 20 yards, and was slightly edged out by Thompson, who was also credited with one rush for 9 yards.
- LeSean McCoy worried a lot of fans with hints that he might not be 100% for the game. He ended up playing 74% of the time, which is actually higher than his season average of 68%.
- Nick O’Leary saw the field more than Charles Clay, which as you might expect is pretty unusual. Clay was dealing with an injury in the first half. Logan Thomas also saw a healthy dose of action.
Defense (60 total plays)
- With Milano out, Ramon Humber was sure to see increased time. They have been splitting reps roughly 70/30, but Milano’s absence led to Humber seeing no relief on the field. Preston Brown and Jordan Poyer also didn’t leave the field on defense.
- Despite a leg cramp for Tre’Davious White that sent him to the locker room, he only missed four snaps. Leonard Johnson only hit the field 53% of the time, strongly suggesting that the Bills played a lot less nickel defense than they used against Miami where it was around 90%. This stark contrast should bring hope to Bills fans as it is evidence of significant adjustments between opponents.
- The Micah Hyde injury led to Colt Anderson playing time. Anderson’s injury led to Shamarko Thomas time. With injuries considered, the Bills defense held up remarkably well.
- Jerry Hughes edges out Kyle Williams again, but only by two snaps.
- Lorenzo Alexander was widely applauded for his play, and did so seeing the field 78% of the time, his highest total since Week 6.
Special Teams (26 total plays)
Buffalo used all but six players who hit the field on special teams. This compares to 11 for Jacksonville as a reference point.
Lorenzo Alexander had the highest snaps of anyone on the Bills, on the field 81% of the time on special teams. Remember, he had a higher than normal snap count on defense as well. Ramon Humber and Matt Milano also split special teams time. Without Milano, Humber filled in some of his snaps to reach 54%. Typically, whichever one of them starts plays about 30%. Shamarko Thomas and Colt Anderson saw heavy duty as well, with 77% and 58% respectively.
Lafayette Pitts, Tanner Vallejo, Deon Lacey and Joe Webb continued to be the core group here, all playing over 70% of the time on special teams.