The Buffalo Bills nearly took down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a thrilling overtime contest. We’ll avoid any discussion of potential controversy regarding the game for now, but trust me it’s coming. For now let’s be content with a look at weekly playing time.
Offense (78 snaps)
Credit to his willingness to fight for his team, Josh Allen hit the 100 percent club mark despite being in obvious pain after a defender landed on his legs late in the game. The entire offensive line of Dion Dawkins, Ike Boettger, Mitch Morse, Daryl Williams, and Spencer Brown hit the mark as well.
Dawson Knox nearly hit the mark, just three snaps shy of being in the entire game. The Bills have gone (for them) tight end heavy in recent weeks. This wasn’t possible with no active backup for Knox aside from Reggie Gilliam, who likely hasn’t been practicing much to replicate Tommy Sweeney. With Gilliam’s one snap and another from Ryan Bates added to the mix, Buffalo was lighter in their personnel grouping than they have been. This could be nothing more than a response to Tampa’s defense being weaker against the pass than run, but it’s worth monitoring moving forward.
Stefon Diggs leading the team in receiver snaps is no surprise. An injury to Emmanuel Sanders took him out of much of the game however, leading to a major increase for Gabriel Davis. Cole Beasley closely followed. Isaiah McKenzie fell into his former gadget role and Jake Kumerow remains in the “technically saw the field” role.
I’ll phrase the RB counts a couple ways and let me know which sentence sounds more surprising.
- The Bills did not have a running back on the field for every play.
- The Buffalo Bills had a running back on the field 75 times.
In most weeks that first sentence would surprise me. It’s uncommon not to have an RB on the field in the NFL and the Bills specifically notoriously have 100 percent every single game. On the other hand, with how little they were utilized (not complaining) I wouldn’t have been shocked to hear it was much lower this week.
Defense (83 snaps)
There’s not much number-crunching here as all seven of the typical 100 percent club made it on this side of the ball too. Taron Johnson, Levi Wallace, Dane Jackson, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano never came off the field. Well, except when the offense was on. Or special teams. You know what I meant.
That sets a baseline of 100 percent nickel and scanning through the rest of the team it’s also the precise count. Buffalo was in nickel the entire game.
Buffalo wanted to play fast and did more tinkering on the line than we’ve seen most of the year. Ed Oliver and Harrison Phillips led the way in front of Eli Ankou and Brandin Bryant and defensive tackle. Despite a four-man rotation, tackles were “short” 23 snaps.
Those snaps were picked up by defensive ends kicking inside. Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes had the highest counts, but had three subs behind them. A.J. Epenesa, Greg Rousseau, and Efe Obada all had significant playing time.
Special Teams (35 snaps)
There aren’t too many surprises here with Tyrel Dodson and Tyler Matakevich tying for most snaps.