The Buffalo Bills’ offense decided to only play half the game against the Miami Dolphins and still walked away with a two-score victory. If you had asked me just a few short years ago if the phrase “disappointing victory” made any sense I’d have laughed. If this sounds like needless negativity let me assure you it’s coming from a place of excitement. Knowing your team handily won in a game where they were nowhere near their potential is a “goosebump” type of vibe.
Offense (73 snaps)
The only member of the 100 percent club who didn’t make the cut this week was Jon Feliciano, who left the game late with a lower body injury. Speaking of the club, with Spencer Brown out this week the Bills shook it up a bit with the line starting Dion Dawkins, Ike Boettger, Mitch Morse, Feliciano, and Daryl Williams. Josh Allen hitting 100 percent means he’s healthy (yay) but didn’t come off for Mitch Trubisky kneel downs (that’s fine).
After starting the season looking like they forgot tight ends existed, Dawson Knox saw steadily increasing time to the point that he felt like a core fixture on offense. With Knox out, I know I was looking to see how they used Tommy Sweeney and it looks like the position has simply become more important to the team with Sweeney breaking 80 percent AND seeing the most time of any skill position player.
Emmanuel Sanders edges out Stefon Diggs again, but the trio including Sanders, Diggs, and Cole Beasley all were pretty tightly bunched in playing time. Jake Kumerow and Isaiah McKenzie both also saw significant time on the field.
Even with a late injury taking Zack Moss off the field, he easily eclipsed the snap counts that Devin Singletary received.
Looking at the numbers in aggregate, the Bills appeared to use 11 personnel pretty much the entire game (1 TE, 1 RB).
Defense (69 snaps)
You love to see the 100 percent club come out healthy and that’s just what occurred. The linebacking duo of Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds hit the field every defensive snap. The same goes for the nickel starters; Taron Johnson, Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde.
Now that we’ve established that the Bills played at least nickel defense for the entire game (again), let’s do the very short notes on the line where rotation is still “a thing.”
For the tackles, Ed Oliver led the way and had himself a game. He was followed by Star Lotulelei, Vernon Butler, and Harrison Phillips. The tackle group was “short” four snaps, which went to the defensive ends.
Having that extra defensive end suggests some Wooden Dime defense was happening. That group was led by Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison which is pretty standard. Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa rounded things out. Of note, the Bills must have liked Epenesa’s skill set this week, as he was inactive versus the Tennessee Titans.
Special teams (24 snaps)
Most of this list should be no surprise. Of note, Reggie Gilliam received more time than Tyler Matakevich. This is the second time this season (Kansas City Chiefs game being the other). Taiwan Jones matched Matakevich. If the Bills are working on bringing up core players, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Matakevich this offseason.