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Revisiting five Buffalo Bills to watch against the Philadelphia Eagles

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That stiff test in the middle of Buffalo’s defense? They failed it.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills were absolutely outclassed this week, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles 31-13. Buffalo’s strength—their defense—was exploited all day, as they were gashed for 218 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on the afternoon. The Bills continued to struggle defending screen passes, as well, as they allowed the Eagles’ running backs to make four receptions for 59 yards on five targets.

Buffalo’s key players were able to hang tough for right around 35 minutes of play, but the Eagles just outlasted the Bills in the second half. After Buffalo pulled to within four points in the third quarter, they totaled just over seven minutes of possession time over the course of their final six offensive drives. Eww.

How did our Bills to watch fair? Not great, Bob.


QB Josh Allen

Buffalo’s second-year quarterback had a reversal of tendency on Sunday. In all six of Buffalo’s other games, Allen has improved drastically in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, Allen was better in the first half (8-of-13, 74 yards, one touchdown; seven carries, 40 yards) than he was in the second half (8-of-21, 88 yards, one touchdown; one carry, five yards). Of course, Allen also had a costly lost fumble on an ill-advised designed quarterback run on 3rd-and-2 that handed the Eagles their first touchdown. While the quarterback sweep play where Allen fumbled has worked well for Buffalo this year, the play came just one snap after Frank Gore had gained eight yards on his own. Allen, who has struggled mightily with ball security in his young career, added three more fumbles to his ledger this week. It wasn’t a banner day for him on Sunday.

TE Tyler Kroft

The veteran tight end made it through his second game unscathed, and he did find his way into the box score this week. He wasn’t able to score a touchdown, but he did haul in two of his four targets for 32 yards. On his second catch, in particular, he showed good burst for a big man, gaining 20 yards on the play while breaking some tackles. As Kroft and Allen become more comfortable with each other, the big-bodied tight end could be a perfect safety valve for the young quarterback.

DE Trent Murphy

Put this guy on a milk carton—he just hasn’t been anywhere near what the team hoped he’d be when they signed him last offseason. On a per-snap basis, backups Shaq Lawson and Darryl Johnson have been far more productive. Murphy has played 110 more snaps than Lawson and more than twice as many snaps (298) as Johnson (138), yet he only has ten tackles (three for a loss) and two QB hits. Lawson has 11 tackles (four for a loss), two sacks, and six QB hits, while Johnson has seven tackles (one for a loss), one sack, and two QB hits. Perhaps it’s time for Lawson to begin taking over a greater share of the snaps, as he’s been a much more productive player than his higher-paid teammate.

LB Tremaine Edmunds

Color me unimpressed with the overall play of Edmunds on Sunday. Any time you allow 218 yards rushing when most of that damage is done right up the gut, the guys in the middle of the defense need to take some blame. At this stage of his career, Edmunds is a ‘backer who needs his defensive tackles to keep him clean, and Buffalo’s defensive tackles let him down in that regard. Edmunds struggles to shed blocks, as was apparent on Miles Sanders’s 65-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter; however, he looks great when he’s able to penetrate gaps and shoot into the backfield cleanly. He made nine tackles on the game, 1.5 of which went for a loss. He’s going to have to improve playing through traffic in order to develop into the elite linebacker the Bills drafted him to be.

S Jordan Poyer

The Bills used Poyer in a number of ways, and he filled up the stats sheet—his nine tackles were tied with Edmunds for second on the club behind Matt Milano, who had 13—but he was unable to sack quarterback Carson Wentz on his blitzes, and he was beaten by Dallas Goedert for a touchdown late in the first half. Poyer wanted an offensive pass interference call on the play but, if I’m being honest, it looked like a good no-call, as both players were engaged beyond the five-yard mark. It was a matter of the bigger, stronger player winning the battle for position and Wentz making a good throw. Poyer, just like the rest of his defensive teammates, was unable to make enough plays to stem the tide against the Eagles.