The Buffalo Bills are now 4-0 after beating the Las Vegas Raiders. The first few weeks of the 2020 NFL season showed a good deal of tinkering with the playing time. Aside from injuries, the snap counts versus the Raiders show a team starting to settle in.
Offense (61 snaps)
The 100% club was disrupted when Brian Winters injured his knee and exited the game. As was noted in our weekly rapid recap, Cody Ford did not slide over to the right side. Instead, Quinton Spain came in for Winters. Ford remained at left guard for 100% of the offensive snaps. He was joined by Dion Dawkins, Mitch Morse, Darryl Williams, and Josh Allen.
Stefon Diggs and John Brown remain the one and two for receivers. Cole Beasley’s leg injury kept him out long enough for both rookie Gabriel Davis and gadget-man Isaiah McKenzie to eclipse his snap count. Andre Roberts rounded out the rotation as usual and saw his first target and catch of the season.
Andre Roberts also was given an opportunity to run the ball too, though it was clear that Devin Singletary was the feature back at 89% of the snap count. T.J. Yeldon was on the field but saw less actions than Roberts.
Dawson Knox returned to the top tight end spot, but the Bills ran it a little more “by committee” than they have been with Tyler Kroft close behind.
Jordan Poyer did not come in for the kneel down at the end of the game. It’s too early to tell if this means he’ll be traded or released.
Defense (74 snaps)
The defensive 100% club has not been intact all year due to injuries and sub-packages near the goal line. Only Tremaine Edmunds and Tre’Davious White reached the mark this week. Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde fell one snap short. Levi Wallace left early due to injury and was replaced by Josh Norman. Matt Milano was also injured and replaced by Tyrel Dodson.
The Bills have fluctuated between 85% and 100% nickel this year. They hit around 86% this week with 64 “extra” snaps from defensive backs. The usual pair of Taron Johnson and Dean Marlowe rotated between nickel and Big Nickel.
That leaves ten “linebacker” snaps. Eight of those went to A.J. Klein and the remaining two went to the defensive tackle position. Speaking of tackles, Harrison Phillips was the top man this week, which is a first for the season. Ed Oliver and Quinton Jefferson had been rotating the top spot. Ed Oliver was the second-most frequently seen tackle but was followed by Vernon Butler with Jefferson in the final spot.
The defensive end rotation continued much as it has been with Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, and Mario Addison tightly clustered in snap counts. Addison continues to move around the most though they’ve continued with Hughes on both sides of the line as well this year. A.J. Epenesa’s time in the rotation was solidified this week with 20% of the playing time.
Special Teams (26 snaps)
Tyler Matakevitch’s 62% of special teams snaps was NOT the highest this week. He was tied with Tyrel Dodson and Jaquan Johnson. They were all slightly edged out by Taron Johnson with 65%. The top honors went to another Johnson however as Darryl Johnson hit 77%. After this group Reggie Gilliam, Taiwan Jones, Dean Marlowe, and A.J. Klein all hit 58%. Most of this group remains the same week to week despite some variability in exact playing time.