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Video Analysis: The Buffalo Bills have a fumbling problem

...and it could come back to bite them

The Buffalo Bills are sitting pretty with a +14 turnover differential. With 24 takeaways in just over half a season the defense is putting the lessons learned on blueberry hill to good use. That compares to a scant ten giveaways on the season. That second number could be a lot higher though. Let’s talk about how often the Bills put the ball on the ground.

The Bills have lost four fumbles so far, which is pretty average. Sixteen teams have four or five (ten teams total sit at four, matching the Bills). Twelve more teams have either two or six lost. That’s 28 teams at +/-2 to Buffalo. So yeah, really average. They’ve fumbled 15 times though. That’s fourth worst in the league with teams ranging from five to 18 fumbles. In other words, the Bills have been pretty lucky. Let’s look at most of this season’s fumbles to see if patterns emerge.


Fumble 1

None of the angles really catch this well. It looks like Josh Allen’s hands just aren’t in the right spot, or the timing is off. Not great.

Fumble 2

I don’t know if you can punch a ball out better than this. Stefon Diggs is being tackled and has his right arm pinned down so there’s no chance to protect the ball any better. Credit the defense on this one.

Fumble 3

Another well-timed punch from the Houston Texans. Devin Singletary arguably could have protected the ball better, but he was coming off a cut to avoid a tackle. His arms are helping him maintain balance so both hands aren’t on the ball.

Fumble 4

Zack Moss stumbles trying to fake out the defender. He stumbles and the ball somehow slips out of his hand.

Fumble 5

There’s a lot going on here with Allen being jostled. He seems like he tries to lateral to Moss and the timing just couldn’t be worse as he’s hit during the “throw.” Allen does well to initially secure the ball and if it wasn’t for his last-minute antics this is likely not a fumble.

Fumble 6

Tommy Sweeney gets his second hand on the ball but pretty late. His initial arm movement makes it look like he’s trying to ward off the contact, with protecting the ball an afterthought. A helmet right on the ball/hands goes a long way though.

Fumble 7

Allen is trying to make something happen and isn’t holding the ball with a whole lot of caution. The tackle compresses his arm to his side, which helps it along in flexing. The left arm, which wasn’t helping with the ball anyway, is pinned and the ball squeezes out.

Fumble 8

Devin Singletary just...forgets he’s holding the ball. I don’t have a good explanation for this one. No one does.

Fumble 9

Matt Breida wouldn’t be a Bills running back if he didn’t fumble, now would he? Breida is late to protect the ball and to be fair he’s hit pretty hard right on the arm.


Summary

There’s definitely some good play by the Bills’ opponents to blame. Let’s face it, all defenses are hitting hard. All defenses are trying to punch and rip the ball away. So some of this is on Buffalo. Based on the above, there’s a little bit of recklessness with the football. This is a trait that could bite the Bills where it hurts, particularly if they need to win a close game.