FanPost

Rush – Moving People

No. I am not hear to talk about the awesome band from the Great White North that is famous for their album "Moving Pictures", but I would like to discuss the Bills Rush Offense and the conundrum with "Moving People" that we all have been lamenting recently.

... although if you want to talk about Geddy, Alex, and Neil in the comments, then I am all in!

The Rush Offense Conundrum

There has been lots of talk recently about the lack of a running game for the Bills. I have been at the forefront of many discussions around the inability of this OL to create running lanes for the RBs, especially in the zone scheme. There has been lots of talk about needing better RBs. And even more talk about needing to run more to make the offense less 1-dimensional. There has been lots of talk about stopping the run.

So, I thought that I would put together some data to put behind this discussion.

Offensive Rush Yds/Att

Here is the Team's Offensive Rush Yds/Att against the Team's Win%. I highlighted the Bills in yellow.

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NOTE: the "3rd Level Adjusted Offensive Rush Yds/Att" is the rush yds/att adjusted against the opponents' defense. It also includes rushes from all positions (RB, WR, QB, etc...). "Rush Yds/Att RBs" is non-adjusted but includes only rushes from RBs.

The Bills (surprisingly) are above average in both of these categories.

Category

Bills

NFL Avg

3rd Level Adjusted Offensive Rush Yds/Att

4.64

4.27

Rush Yds/Att RBs

4.27

4.18

In 3rd Level Adjusted Offensive Rush Yds/Att, the Bills are ahead of everyone that is ahead of them in the standings (including the Titans -€” this was surprising). The Browns and the Colts are the far-and-away leaders in this category. The Browns and the Colts are dominant running teams. I know the Bills were embarrassed last week, but many teams struggle to stop their running attack.

The other notable piece of information from this graph is that there is no notable correlation between Rush Yds/Att and Win %. There is still more time left in the season for this to change, but as of now at week #11 there is no correlation.

I know that many of you are screaming right now that yds/att is not the only metric when it comes to running. I agree. Which leads me to ....

Rush Attempts/Game

Here is the Team's Offensive Rush Atts/Game against the Team's Win%. I highlighted the Bills in yellow.

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The Bills (not surprisingly) are below average in both of these categories, but only by a little

Category

Bills

NFL Avg

Rush Atts/Game

25.30

26.16

Rush Atts/Game RBs

18.50

21.08

Just like with Yds/Att, there is no significant trend that correlates Rush Attempts/Game and Team Win%. The only notable thing that this data shows is that the Bills RB rush attempts is lower than all of the teams that are ahead of them in the standings. However, the difference is fairly minor. They are only between 0.5 and 3.0 less carries per game than the Chiefs, Ravens, Bucs, Packers, and Cards.

Summary

The Bills are not great at running the ball, but they are not awful at it either. That said, there are other non-statistical reasons to want to be better at running the football.

  • It does make your offense less predictable and 1-dimensional.
  • It can wear down the defense.
  • It can really help ice a game if you can lean on your running game to get 1st downs.
  • It can help in bad weather games

Based on this, the run game is an area that the team needs to continue to try and get better at if they are serious about the playoffs. I think they can. Most of the failures seem to be effort and technique based.

I have been a staunch critic of the Bills' OL (and WR and TEs) and their inability to block for the run. I still standby that, but I have seen some small signs of improvement that I hope will continue. The Bills successfully executed a cutback zone run!! This was the 1st time I had seen this in the McD era. Spencer Brown is very, very good at zone blocking. Boettger has been pretty solid (albeit nothing great, but nothing bad) and I would say that he is an upgrade from Feliciano. And overall, since the Jags game there has been better effort and less mental errors from the WRs, TEs, and OL in their run blocking. I would add that it seems that Daboll has increased the number of Power/Gap plays and these plays have been fairly successful. I don't have any stats on this, but in watching the games it seems like this is true.

All in all, hang in there Bills fans. This is a rough patch and maybe it is a reality check on this team, but this team is still very good and I would not count them out of any game if Josh and Diggs are on their best game. I am excited to see if they are up for the challenge.

P.S. Don't expect to see an increase in the run game on Thanksgiving. The Saints are far and away the best team in the NFL against the run.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.