It’ll be the last one of these for a long while so let’s take a minute and appreciate a Buffalo Bills season that was more successful than many imagined back in the summer. It’s not the finish we wanted, but the team seems to be heading in the right direction. Let’s take a look at who saw the field on Saturday.
Offense (85 snaps)
The full 100% club from the season was a go in the playoffs. It’s our last shout out to Dion Dawkins, Quinton Spain, Jon Feliciano, Mitch Morse and Josh Allen for reaching that number. Quinton Spain was four snaps shy of hitting 100% for the season. Cody Ford and Ty Nsekhe had a nearly perfect split at right tackle.
It’s no surprise at this point that John Brown led the team in snaps at wide receiver. It is a bit shocking to see Duke Williams surpass Cole Beasley. It was Beasley’s lowest total since hosting Washington.
Devin Singletary and Frank Gore have done the 80/20 split before, and in this game it comes as no surprise to see it again.
Dawson Knox is clearly the favorite at tight end with everyone else being dependent on game plan. Lee Smith seeing more snaps than Tyler Kroft, along with fairly high snap counts for Patrick DiMarco, suggest the Bills wanted a heavy dose of blocking.
Defense (69 snaps)
The entire 100% club on defense showed up, consisting of Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, Tremaine Edmunds, and Kevin Johnson (in lieu of the injured Levi Wallace).
A second quarter injury to Taron Johnson led to him only playing ten snaps. Siran Neal and Dean Marlowe came in to do slot work. With the four starting defensive backs all at 100%, the sum of these players gives us a great guess at time spent in nickel. The total comes to 93%. While the Bills are traditionally nickel-heavy, this is very nickel-heavy even for them.
Darryl Johnson Jr. sat out at defensive end, but otherwise a normal rotation occurred between Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, and Shaq Lawson. The group had a heck of a day with Hughes and Murphy combining for five sacks (three and two respectively).
At tackle, Jordan Phillips led the way as expected. Star Lotulelei outpaced Ed Oliver by a few snaps. That would suggest a run-based approach to defense but just hold your horses for a minute. Corey Liuget subbed in at his regular pace.
Here’s where the sadness creeps in a bit. Our final Lorenzo Alexander watch starts now. Using the numbers above, we get Alexander as a true linebacker on just five snaps. Alexander played seven reps at defensive end and hit the field eleven times as a defensive tackle. As noted by me anytime someone will listen, Alexander is used as a tackle for pass-rush situations. With Lotulelei around his standard 50% and Alexander being used more often on the line, the Bills had a pretty good balance in their schemes.
Special Teams (30 snaps)
Senorise Perry and Julian Stanford led the way at 67%, which is not shocking. Getting back to what’s important, Lorenzo Alexander saw the field on special teams 16 times or 53%.