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One Stat Recap: Buffalo Bills shy away from Cleveland Browns’ weakness

The Bills’ failure to run the ball costs them a win

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the Buffalo Bills Week 10 game against the Cleveland Browns I wrote that the Bills’ rushing attack against the Cleveland Browns’ run defense would be one of the key match-ups of the game. I turned out to be right, but for a much different reason than what I expected.

The Bills were a top-ten rushing offense going into the Browns game and had a running back in Devin Singletary who was first in the league in yards per carry among players with at least 40 rushing attempts. They were going up against a Browns defense that was ranked 22nd in rush defense DVOA and 29th in yards per carry allowed.

The Bills only ran the ball 20 times on Sunday. That is tied for the fewest rushing attempts against the Browns this season. Only the Denver Broncos ran the ball that little—and they had 19 fewer plays against the Browns. This all adds up to the Bills having run the most lopsided offensive attack the Browns have seen this season. Out of the 62 offensive plays they ran, 68% of them were passes. The Los Angeles Rams are the only other team that has eclipsed 60% passing against the Browns and their weak run defense. Unlike recent Bills opponents, Brian Daboll decided to avoid the weakness of the opposing defense and thus made it harder—too hard as the result of the game shows—for his offense to move the ball.