The Buffalo Bills flew South for the
Winter late Fall to take on the Miami Dolphins. A sluggish first half gave way to a thrilling second. In the waning moments the Bills came literal inches away from a heck of a last minute comeback victory. What lessons can be learned from playing time from this week’s scrappy Bills?
Offense (72 snaps)
Injuries caused some shuffling on the offensive line. John Miller’s oblique injury kept him out of this game. He was replaced primarily by Jeremiah Sirles. Russell Bodine was injured early on with Ryan Groy filling in at center. Wyatt Teller continues to be the starter at left guard.
Kelvin Benjamin had seen his snap counts incrementally decreasing the last few weeks. He’s now going back the other direction and landed at 60%. While this isn’t quite back to where he had been in the first half of the season, it’s a big step up from 40% last week. Zay Jones remains top dog for the receivers and came up with big plays several times. Isaiah McKenzie and Robert Foster round out the receiving group with Deonte Thompson seen more sparingly. Charles Clay returned from injury and came back right where he left off with snaps. When Clay wasn’t on the field, it was Jason Croom.
LeSean McCoy continues to be the workhorse with Chris Ivory pulling second string duty. While many clamor for this to be reversed, it should be noted that both players have an identical yards per carry at 3.3. Ivory arguably provides the more consistent gain with McCoy trending boom or bust. Patrick DiMarco was on the field a pretty typical amount but saw four targets (one catch). This is his highest amount of targets since 2015.
Defense (55 snaps)
Tremaine Edmunds left the field for one play which was juuuuust enough to scare the crap out of Bills fans. Aside from that, the 100% club was intact for this week. This includes Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, and the latest pleasant surprise Levi Wallace.
The defensive end and Kyle WIlliams plan of about 2⁄3 playing time continued as normal with Jerry Hughes on the right side. The left side still favored Shaq Lawson despite Trent Murphy’s return from injury. It’ll be interesting to see if Lawson continues to see a starter’s share or if Murphy was being eased back in. Star Lotulelei hit around his normal amount as the team continues to customize defensive line personnel with with his spot.
Taron Johnson and Rafael Bush split nickel duties as usual, with a slight uptick for Bush and downtick for Johnson. Lorenzo Alexander saw a slight decrease this week as well. These three see a good amount of variability based on the weekly game plan. Alexander in particular continues to defy Father Time in his Swiss Army Knife role.
Special Teams (25 snaps)
As per the new weekly trend, all players who saw 25% or more of time on special teams appear on the chart. In all, 37 players saw at least one play in this phase of the game. This is a pretty standard amount for the Sean McDermott-led Bills.
The core group has remained mostly intact this year. Matt Milano, Lorenzo Alexander, Eddie Yarbrough, and Levi Wallace contributed a lot of time on special teams in addition to their time on defense. In the case of Milano and Wallace, a friendly reminder these are two members of the defensive 100% club.
Matt Darr made his Buffalo Bills debut with four punts and three snaps holding for Steven Hauschka. It was a rough day for Hausch-money as he missed two of his three kick attempts, including his first missed extra point since joining the Bills.