The visiting Philadelphia Eagles took down our Buffalo Bills in a game where essentially nothing seemed to work right. Sloppy weather and somewhat sloppy run defense made for a long day for fans. It also made for a short day for our offense (again) and a long day for the defense. Let’s find out who had the longest and shortest days by playing time.
Offense (62 snaps)
While the snap counts are fairly ordinary, the Bills only had 24:03 time of possession. That’s twelve minutes less than the Eagles and backs up what our eyes saw. An ineffective offense that struggled to stay on the field.
The 2019 version of the 100% club hit their goal this week. Josh Allen, Dion Dawkins, Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse and Jon Feliciano made it the full game. The Ty Nsekhe and Cody Ford rotation continues. Whether it was game plan or Nsekhe getting healthy, the veteran tackle got the bulk of snaps this week. Ford saw more time against the Miami Dolphins.
John Brown remains the undisputed number-one receiver. Cole Beasley remains second and Duke Williams is a close third. Isaiah McKenzie was inactive this week despite getting 21 snaps last week. Robert Foster was called up instead and saw the field eight times on offense.
Devin Singltary’s high snap counts don’t seem to make sense based on only carrying the ball three times. He was third on the team with six targets, which helps explain the discrepancy. Singletary’s time came along with a major dip for Frank Gore. On a rainy day with plenty of wind, this oddity should really help assuage fears of Brian Daboll calling a bad game.
Tyler Kroft edged out Dawson Knox in snap counts again. Unlike last week, he also saw more targets than Knox. Lee Smith saw the least amount of time (by percentage) he’s had this season. Ditto for Patrick DiMarco. This is more evidence that the Bills had little interest in a power running game.
Defense (73 snaps)
Only Levi Wallace didn’t make it to all 73 snaps from the 100% club after exiting with an injury. Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, and Tre’Davious White all made it through. That’s overall good news, but especially so for Milano who had been returning from a hamstring injury.
Starting with the defensive backs, Kevin Johnson received more time than Taron Johnson. Most of Kevin’s were likely in relief of Wallace. Adding their snaps to the total from the 100% club and factoring in Dean Marlowe, the Bills played nickel defense 72% of the time, which is not the best lineup against the run. The Eagles ran the ball 63% of the time.
Defensive tackle snap counts do show a desire to stop the run with Star Lotulelei seeing his highest playing time this season. Kyle Peko saw a slight increase as well. Jordan Phillips saw a pretty typical amount of time and Ed Oliver has decreased the last couple games.
At defensive end, Hughes and Trent Murphy fell below the 2⁄3 threshold we generally see as the ideal for Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier. Shaq Lawson’s count was higher as a result, but Darryl Johnson’s was not. Lawson’s experience on both sides of the field is the culprit.
This week we’ll run the exact numbers the above would predict for Lorenzo Alexander, our hybrid player in the Bills defense. As the only linebacker listed aside from Milano and Edmunds, the “not-nickel” snaps put him at 20 reps in the linebacker position. There are three “missing” defensive end snaps and eight at defensive tackle. Add those three numbers together and it’s a perfect match for Alexander.
Special Teams (26 snaps)
The Bills tinkered around with this group for the third week in a row. Lorenzo Alexander’s counts went back up with less time on defense thanks to Milano’s return. L. Alexander hit 65% of special-teams snaps. Maurice Alexander had a similar occurrence but jumped to 73% of time on the field for special teams, which tied for top honors.
The “other” Alexander was matched by Julian Stanford and Senorise Perry who have both been at the top at least once before. They were also joined by Siran Neal and Jaquan Johnson. Both have had significant time but failed to lead the group so far this year.