Everything is a lot more fun when the Buffalo Bills win, even snap count notes. The numbers are skewed a bit thanks to subbing some players late in the game, but there are still plenty of fun things to pick out. Let’s dive right in!
Offense (58 snaps)
Only two members of the 100 percent club made it to that threshold this week—congrats to Ike Boettger and Spencer Brown. The latter returned from injury and seemed to make a big impact on the line. Josh Allen, Mitch Morse, and Daryl Williams all sat for a few snaps as Davis Webb took his first regular-season NFL snaps in what were mostly kneel downs. Dion Dawkins came out briefly due to injury, with Tommy Doyle making a less-than-perfect debut in his stead. Luckily the Schnowman returned to action and the Bills finished strong.
Dawson Knox returned from injury and picked right up where he left off. Namely, at the top of the skill position list at 84 percent. With Tommy Sweeney adding another 20 percent the Bills used the rarely seen two tight end set on two snaps. Reggie Gilliam also saw fairly heavy use, meaning the Bills went pretty “big” against the New York Jets.
That doesn’t mean Buffalo forgot about fast. Not only did Isaiah McKenzie see some action on the offensive side of things, but running back Matt Breida (who is actually even faster than McKenzie) did as well. The pair accounted for three touchdowns.
With Stefon Diggs’s big day, it’s no surprise to see him leading the way for the receivers. Emmanuel Sanders as the number two is also no shock. Buffalo did roll with a heavy dose of Gabriel Davis and a sparse showing from Cole Beasley, which is not typical. Remember though that Beasley’s snaps have fluctuated greatly this year based on game plan.
Zack Moss was ahead of Devin Singletary as has become tradition, but this appeared to be a pretty true “committee approach.”
Defense (77 snaps)
Technically the defense had a bad day statistically. By their standard anyway. They came into the game allowing 14.75 points per game and gave up 17 to the Jets. And the Jets have the worst scoring offense in the league to boot. In “unrelated” news, there’s no 100 percent club this week as the Bills pulled their starters in the fourth quarter. The depth players may or may not have allowed a TD to a former Super Bowl MVP.
We’ll go light on player-specific notes from what was obviously a stellar performance from the defense. Injuries took Micah Hyde and Levi Wallace off the field briefly. Both were able to come back, which is excellent news for the team.
Buffalo ran nickel defense 92 percent of the time based on these counts. That’s a shockingly low number for them. Buffalo went fast in another direction though. Bear with me on the math here...
- Buffalo was six defensive back snaps “under” their usual of 100 percent nickel.
- Linebackers only had two snaps over their expected, leaving four DB snaps unaccounted for.
- Defensive tackles had, wait for it, THIRTY TWO snaps under the expected (77 snaps x two players or 154 expected snaps). That’s a preposterously low count.
- That’s not all on the end of the game either as the starters were only pulled for nine snaps.
- Defensive ends had 36 extra snaps. That means they were brought in as defensive tackles 32 times and to replace a defensive back four times. That’s not big nickel. That’s giant nickel.
Some of this is likely due to playing with a lead, but make no mistake that this is an incredibly odd set of counts. Buffalo seems to have given Mike White basically zero chance at preparing for them.
Special Teams (27 snaps)
Reggie Gilliam reclaims the top spot again this week. At this point, don’t be shocked if it’s his name on top of the list at the end of the season. One major change up this week. I had been doing the graphic cutting off any player under 50 percent of snaps. I figured the graphic can be a bit larger, so this is everyone over 25 percent of snap counts.
Also, I’ve been getting these off of pro-football-reference.com most of the time this season. There was a transcription error with Tyler Bass (and only Bass from what I could tell). He was listed as six snaps on STs and, lol, 15 on offense. The 15 is correct for STs but if you wondered why he was up above it’s a mistake. I found it funny and left it in.