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Buffalo Bills Hot Take Wednesday: The defense is bad/the defense isn’t bad

The doctor’s in to address what ails ‘ya this week.

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, your Buffalo Bills are now 4-0 following a 30-23 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. The victory and the hot start has brought forth some really good hot takes from you the fans, so let’s get started with Week 4 Hot Takes, shall we?

Hot Take 1

@flapezoid (via Twitter) says, “Star Lotulelei is the linchpin to the defense and that the struggles have been because Quinton Jefferson/Horrible Harry can’t eat space like he could and free the rest of the front seven to make plays.”

Well @flapezoid, it’s no secret the defense hasn’t been playing up to its normal standards. Head coach Sean McDermott has gone on record, saying that the success of his defense starts up front with the guys on the defensive line. The Bills’ run game has been leaky through the first month of the season, and struggles to consistently make plays behind the line of scrimmage. However they did manage to hold the Raiders’ rushing game in check for most of the afternoon, only relinquishing 86 yards on the ground on 23 carries (3.73 yards per carry), and had a strip sack on Derek Carr that helped put the game away for the Bills

Bills beat writer Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic wrote in his postgame Seven Observations article that “This week, the Bills switched things immediately and gave Phillips the start at one-technique next to Oliver. Then, when the Bills went to their rotation, they subbed in Jefferson for Oliver at three-technique, and Butler made the switch to one-technique. The results were night and day against the run.” This type of move signals, that the Bills wanted a little bit more size at one-technique defensive tackle, the role that Star played for the Bills last season. Perhaps, this combination between Phillips and Butler can fill the void left behind by Star.

What do you think Bills fans? Was Star the lynchpin to the Bills’ success on defense under McDermott?

Hot Take 2

@danny1775 (via Twitter) says, “The place kicker (Tyler Bass) and his lack of field goal attempts is going to factor heavily late in the season.”

Well @danny1775 this is a tough one. On one hand, you want your kicker battle tested so that the team knows what they have at the position and be confident that if called upon he’s going to deliver. But also, you want your team to score touchdowns instead of field goals. The Bills have been really efficient this season, not settling for field goals once they get the ball past the 50-yard line. In 2020, the Bills’ offense ranks 11th in red zone touchdown percentage at 68.42%—up 11.9% from where they were last year when they finished 18th. As far as field goal attempts, the Bills are 25th in the NFL with six field goal attempts this year, where Bass is 4-6 (66.7%), with a long of 39.

Let’s just hope that the team continues to score more touchdowns, where field goals won’t factor as much late in the season. I’m curious to know what you think.

Hot Take 3

@carlifarley (via Twitter) says, “I don’t think the defense is as bad as everyone on Twitter think it is.”

Wow! With this take, @carlifarley is going after Bills Twitter. As stated earlier, Buffalo’s defense has not looked or performed as well as they have in previous seasons under McDermott and defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier. The Bills’ defense got picked apart by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, were sliced and diced by Jared Geoff and Darrell Henderson in Week 3, and couldn’t get off the field against a banged up Raiders team in Week 4.

What’s different this year, as opposed to previous seasons? The Bills lost two starters and one rotational player on their defensive line. Both Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips left in free agency, and Star Lotulelei opted out due to COVID-19 concerns. Second, veteran leader and defensive chess piece Lorenzo Alexander retired, and defensive line coach Bill Teerlinck resigned. The new players and coaches that were eventually added all seemed to be upgrades over the players and coach who left.

Also, it appears that defensive production is down across the NFL this season. Across the board, NFL games are averaging 51.3 points, which is the highest Week 4 mark since 1970, according to Kevin Seifert from ESPN. He attributes this to three main factors: better quarterback play, empty stadiums, and the explicit effort by the league to call only “clear and obvious fouls.”

Do you agree with @carlifarley? Are the defense struggles being overstated?

Alright Bills fans, that does it for Week 4 hot takes. I want to give a huge thanks to @flapezoid, @danny1775, and @carlifarley for providing their hot takes. It’s much appreciated it.

Like always, if you want your hot take heard and posted here, email me at or direct message me on Twitter @doctork44.