I want you to read the next two COMPLETELY ACCURATE sentences a few times and then we’ll be ready for a conversation about snap counts. The Buffalo Bills beat the Houston Texans 40-0. The Buffalo Bills did not play as well as they could have. I mean...
Holy ****! Okay, okay. We’re supposed to discuss playing time. For the third week in a row playing time is really jacked up with the Bills pulling starters. There are still some talking points to be had but had to have that disclaimer.
Offense (72 snaps)
We have a really light 100 percent club due to the aforementioned “pulling of the starters.” Only Ike Boettger and Spencer Brown made the cut. The latter name is the big deal as the Bills tinkered with the offensive line this week. Cody Ford rode the bench most of the game after starting the first three weeks. Darryl Williams kicked inside to take his spot, and Brown took over at right tackle. An injury to Dion Dawkins took him off the field for one snap, which also put Ford out there—which is why he’s listed at ten snaps (one higher than the Trubisky offense, which had nine). Micah Hyde’s snaps always indicate the number of kneel downs on offense.
After looking like tight end might be a forgotten position group in Week 1, Dawson Knox has surged in playing time. This week he edges out the wide receivers again and leads all the skill position players. Tommy Sweeney is on the rise as well, and adding up their counts we broke the 100 percent barrier, meaning the Bills used some personnel grouping with two tight ends.
The wide receiver group went in the expected top four pecking order of Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, and Gabriel Davis. Jake Kumerow saw more time than Isaiah McKenzie this week, which is a small shakeup.
Zack Moss edges out Devin Singletary again, a far cry from being inactive Week 1. The Bills used a healthy dose of Reggie Gilliam to boot.
Defense (47 snaps)
As we all predicted before the season started, Jaquan Johnson and Cam Lewis led the way in defensive snaps. Filling in for the injured Jordan Poyer and Taron Johnson, the scoreboard indicates the J. Johnson/Lewis tandem did just fine this week.
Levi Wallace saw the most snaps of the usual 100 percent club with Micah Hyde, Tremaine Edmunds, and Tre’Davious White being pulled before Wallace. Matt Milano exited with a hamstring injury (finger crossing encouraged). He was replaced by A.J. Klein.
For our weekly nickel count, the snaps work out as we’ve come to expect this year. The Bills played in nickel for the entire game yet again.
On the line, Justin Zimmer led the tackles but only saw 51 perent playing time—which also tied for the highest on the entire line. Some of this is assuredly a result of pulling starts late in the game. Ed Oliver, Star Lotulelei, and Harrison Phillips all followed very close behind for a pretty even rotation overall.
For the ends, Jerry Hughes was the one who tied with Zimmer at 51 percent. He was followed by Boogie Basham. That’s pretty shocking as it was Basham’s first appearance (and sack, congrats Boogie). Things start to trail off a bit after Basham with A.J. Epenesa, Greg Rousseau, and Mario Addison rounding out the group.
One of the reasons Basham may have seen more time on the field (aside from pulling starters), was usage in the interior. I did the math for you and the defensive tackles are “short” five snaps, whereas the ends had five “extra.”
Special teams (24 snaps)
As far as I can recall this might be a first. Special Teams usually doesn’t have a 100 percent club so CONGRATULATIONS REGGIE GILLIAM! It’s also veeeeeeeery odd for a kicker to make the list at 50 percent or higher and Bass hit 71 percent. It took a lot to get him here. Four Houston interceptions and a lost fumble meant five less punts (or kickoffs). The Bills only punting once was a big factor. Weird game for special teams.