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Buffalo Bills have a scoring problem under Sean McDermott

Not breaking news.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills have a scoring problem. With a great defense, you don’t need to score too many points to win but Buffalo can’t even do that and it’s been a recurring theme under head coach Sean McDermott.

With offensive coordinators Rick Dennison (2017) and Brian Daboll (2018 and 2019), the Bills have consistently struggled to score three touchdowns worth of points in a single game. In well over half of their games (plus a playoff game), they can’t hit 21 points.

In 2017, they failed to score 21 points seven times in 16 games plus scored just three points in their playoff loss. They moved on from Dennison and starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor because of it. The Bills’ offense scored 30 points just once; a 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (A 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders included a Matt Milano fumble recovery score.)

In 2018, 11 times with struggling Nathan Peterman, rookie Josh Allen, and veteran Derek Anderson, Buffalo failed to score 21 points. Brian Daboll was brought in and the team moved up to draft Josh Allen in the hopes that it would eventually solve the problem. A 41-point explosion led by Matt Barkley against the New York Jets and the season-ending 42-17 drubbing of the Miami Dolphins led by three TD passes from Allen were the high-water marks of the season and McDermott’s head coaching career.

In nine games in 2019, Buffalo once again has failed to score 21 points in a majority of them. They have five games of fewer than three touchdowns. Over the offseason, Buffalo completely revamped their offensive line, drafted a new running back and tight end, and signed three new wide receivers in an effort to jump start their struggling scoring offense. It hasn’t worked yet. The offense scored 28 points against the New York Giants in Week 2. (The 31 points in a game against Miami was aided by a kick return touchdown.)

Under McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane, that’s 23 games with less than three touchdowns of scoring out of 36 games played, a rate of 54.8%.

In 294 team games this season, teams have scored more than 20 points 172 times. The league rate for teams scoring fewer than three touchdowns is 41.5%, a stark contrast to Buffalo’s percentage.