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Snap count notes: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

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A look at playing time as the Bills move to 8-3 on the season

The Buffalo Bills notched their second convincing win in a row before entering the hardest part of their season’s schedule. This morale booster will hopefully carry the team through the short week for a Turkey Day win. But before we get ahead ourselves, our weekly check in on playing time vs. the Denver Broncos.


Offense (80 snaps)

Cody Ford joined the 100% club this week, thanks to an injury to Ty Nsekhe. This is Ford’s first time in the clubhouse. Dion Dawkins, Quinton Spain, and Josh Allen made their usual 100% as well. Jon Feliciano was in the 100% club but spent most of his day playing center after Mitch Morse injured his hand. Spencer Long came in for Feliciano at right guard.

John Brown remains on top for receivers. After some tinkering this year, Cole Beasley has risen back toward the top for now. Beasley had a season high last week, and only slightly fell off against Denver. Last week the top three receivers were listed without interruption behind the 100% club. A 2% dip for Isaiah McKenzie was all that prevented that from happening a second time. Robert Foster and Andre Roberts trail the pack. Foster left the game with an injury after a nice gain early in the second quarter.

For tight ends, Dawson Knox had a slight increase in playing percentage, which allowed him to interrupt the receivers being listed in a row. From there it’s a sharp decline to Tyler Kroft and another sharp decline to Lee Smith. As Smith goes, so too does Patrick DiMarco. With only four snaps this ties his lowest of the year (last week). Because of the higher snap counts this week, it’s also 1% lower than last week.

It might be safe to call it for the running back room. Devin Singletary leads the way again with Frank Gore around 13 of the playing time. That didn’t stop Gore from having a good day, though, as his 65 yards on the ground moved him into third place for most career rushing yards.

As a reminder, Jordan Poyer only plays offense for kneel downs. Seeing him on the list is generally an excellent thing to find.

Defense (50 snaps)

Before we get to the 100% club, let’s discuss the snap volume for the game. The Bills had 80 plays on offense compared to Denver’s 50. That’s a gigantic gulf in playing time. Thanks to chewing up just over 12 minutes of the fourth quarter, Buffalo gave their defense a bit of an easy day in terms of workload. That’s not a bad thing any week, but especially so for a short week.

For the 100% club, Tre’Davious White, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Tremaine Edmunds, and Matt Milano all hit the mark. The Bills continued to rotate Levi Wallace and Kevin Johnson. Last week was nearly a 50/50 split while this week saw Wallace play about 23 of the time. The aforementioned fourth quarter didn’t leave a lot of defense to be played. It’s possible Johnson would have gone in to even it out.

The defensive end rotation continues as it has been. Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy continue to bookend on most snaps with Shaq Lawson rotation in behind both players. Darryl Johnson continues to get time, but far less than at the start of the season.

Defensive tackle saw some fluctuation but nothing drastic compared to last week. Jordan Phillips leads the pack. Star Lotulelei shrunk the gap between the two this week. This cost Corey Liuget a few reps. Ed Oliver had a slight dip as well.

The Bills ran nickel defense 64% of the time as evidenced by how often Taron Johnson was on the field. That puts Lorenzo Alexander on the field as a linebacker 18 times, six snaps at defensive tackle and one at defensive end.

Special teams (24 snaps)

The top three remained static from last week with Corey Thompson, Julian Stanford and Senorise Perry hitting 71% of snaps. They were followed by a new face in Taron Johnson who played on 67% of special teams downs. Special teams has seen a good deal of tinkering this year, which seemingly continued with this move. Johnson’s previous highest total was 26% on special teams.