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Buffalo Bills snap counts vs. San Francisco 49ers: Benching to the max

Sean McDermott isn’t playing around

Another week, another two-score win. The Buffalo Bills kept their foot on the gas with a vivid display of how much more aggressive head coach Sean McDermott has become in 2020. The victory over the San Francisco 49ers keeps Buffalo in the AFC East driver’s seat. Let’s see who pitched in this week!


Offense (73 snaps)

A big change in the 100 percent club occurred this week with Ike Boettger getting the start at left guard. The rest of the crew was mostly as expected with Dion Dawkins, Mitch Morse, Darryl Williams, and Josh Allen making the cut. Jon Feliciano exited with an injury for a short time, which prompted Brian Winters to come in.

Gabriel Davis outpaced Stefon Diggs in the receiver group (barely). Both saw playing time in the mid-90s percentage wise. Cole Beasley hit 75 percent and had the game of his career. Isaiah McKenzie and Jake Kumerow round out the group. McKenzie made the most of his short time hauling in a touchdown with one of his two catches.

The tight ends were led by Dawson Knox. Lee Smith had roughly half the playing time but it was enough to set a new season high for the blocking specialist. Although they had Smith running some routes including a near-touchdown. Reggie Gilliam rounds out the list. Reading the counts, the Bills likely played with 12 personnel on eight snaps or about 11 percent of the time. The pass-heavy strategy suggests a possible desire to beef up pass protection for this week.

The big news comes from the running back room though as Devin Singletary returned to the top of the heap, comfortably outpacing rookie Zack Moss in snaps and carries. Both exited the game due to injury, but Moss’s lapse in fundamentals cost the Bills a possession. Moss was on the sidelines with his helmet, which suggests he wasn’t too hurt to come back in.

Defense (61 snaps)

Some goal line magic limited the 100 percent club on defense this week with only Tremaine Edmunds hitting that mark. I keep saying Taron Johnson should be included in the list of starters and this week makes that point nicely. T. Johnson only missed one play, which puts him in the same spot as Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Tre’Davious White, and Levi Wallace.

A.J. Klein and the hopefully fully healthy Matt Milano shared reps at the second linebacker spot with Klein getting the nod for now.

Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison had a perfect split at the top of the defensive end pile. With Trent Murphy a healthy scratch again, that left A.J. Epenesa and Darryl Johnson in the backup spots. Both younger players seem to be improving on a weekly basis, which I’m sure will upset zero Buffalo Bills fans.

Defensive tackles had a fairly routine top of the charts with Ed Oliver, Vernon Butler, and Quinton Jefferson leading the charge. Harrison Phillips and Justin Zimmer finish off the group. The tackles had four “extra” snaps than might be expected, which would be the goal line play that knocked most of the 100 percent club down by one rep.

There was some curiosity this week to see if the Bills might use a bit more 4-3 to counter the running game of the 49ers. They did not, flirting with 100 percent nickel. Likely this was to counter the sideline-to-sideline approach the 49ers rely on with their offense. With the garbage time TD putting San Francisco right around league average in points, it was a strategy that seems to have paid off.

Special teams (24 snaps)

I’ll give you one guess on what player had the most special teams snaps this week. Need a hint? It rhymes with Zymer Batamenitch. Kinda. Did you guess Tyler Matakevitch? I hope so, as he hit 75 percent of playing time with the various special teams units. Darryl Johnson was next at 62 percent, followed by Andre Smith at 58 percent. From there, a large cluster of the usual players hit the 54 percent mark.