The Buffalo Bills hosted the Chicago Bears and... well, things didn’t go great at all. The Bills’ defense kept the Bears under 200 yards of total offense, but couldn’t prevent an onslaught of points in what was definitely a very weird game. Let’s look at playing time.
Offense (91 snaps)
The big story this week is of course the return of Nathan Peterman but that’s been covered well enough already. For playing time, the more significant narrative is that Sean McDermott elected to rotate offensive linemen in what appears to be an attempt to upgrade the trenches.
For the skill positions, Zay Jones keeps his spot at the top with 87% of playing time. Notably, Terrelle Pryor saw nearly the same amount of time at 82%. Chris Ivory ate into LeSean McCoy’s playing time before leaving with an injury sustained on an attempt at a goal line dive. Team captain Patrick DiMarco was again used sparingly, with only three snaps out of 91.
If that last sentence isn’t shocking let’s put that into context. The Cleveland Browns have participated in four overtime games this year, with an average time of nine extra minutes. Of those four games (and eight data points) only two teams have had more offensive snaps than the Bills. Even these were close with the Oakland Raiders logging 92 snaps and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ending with 95.
Defense (51 snaps)
The 100% club comes back to full strength with six players remaining on the field for every defensive snap. The only deviation from the intended plan was Julian Stanford subbing in for the injured Tremaine Edmunds.
On the defensive line, Shaq Lawson exceeded the usual two-thirds playing time in McDermott’s usual rotation schedule. Star Lotulelei came in under 50% again. Lorenzo Alexander saw playing time in relief of both players along with some linebacker work. Jordan Phillips added to the rotation at defensive tackle.
Taron Johnson (76%) and Rafael Bush (10%) indicate that the Bills continue to use a lot of nickel looks.
At 51 defensive snaps, this shows the stark contrast in who held the ball in this contest. A difference of 40 snaps between teams is glaring, especially considering the score. For time of possession, the Bills had the ball eight minutes longer than the Bears did.
Special teams (30 snaps)
As always, the list includes players that hit 30% or more time on special teams. The Bills used 36 players in all on special teams which is right around their normal amount. Kyle Williams looks out of place on the list and nine snaps is his high for the season. However, he has had six or seven snaps in four other games. Julian Stanford’s number remains stable for special teams. However, with his defensive playing time reaching 100% subbing for Edmunds, it’s a safe bet he slept well.