The Buffalo Bills had a few hiccups that left fans worrying for some of the game, but in the end won in exceedingly convincing fashion. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Fish so thoroughly squished. Week 2 is where we’d start trying to piece together personnel patterns. It’ll be a little harder this season though as Buffalo was able to pull starters in the second half.
Offense (65 snaps)
It’s a short 100 percent club this week with just Cody Ford and Darryl Williams. That’s not a problem though as most of the usual club came off for two kneel-downs to close the game for our first Mitch Trubisky regular-season sighting. There is one other notable takeaway from last week. The Cody Ford/Ike Boettger rotation seems to have vanished.
Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders both had falling counts this week with both pushing near 100 percent last week. Cole Beasley fell as well, but not atypically so. Gabriel Davis seems a bit low, but it could be related to the ankle injury he’s recovering from.
The Bills had 30 rushing attempts to 33 passing. Even removing Trubisky’s kneel downs, that’s far more balanced than Buffalo has been for awhile now. It’s hard to determine if this was the intended game plan or if playing with a lead made a difference, but the snap counts definitely reflect it.
At 83 percent of playing time, Dawson Knox led all the skill positions, beating out even Stefon Diggs. Reggie Gilliam saw significant playing time and Tommy Sweeney hit the field too. Speaking of that running game, Devin Singletary was the main back, though the usage differences led to Zack Moss stealing the show.
Defense (74 snaps)
Last week we had a record seven defensive players hitting 100 percent. This week is zero. The usual grouping was pulled when the game got out of hand, though earlier cramping that took Levi Wallace off the field likely led to Tre’Davious White playing a few snaps longer than the rest of the crew. Tremaine Edmunds didn’t come back after the half following dehydration/overheating issues. Things went fine with A.J. Klein subbing in.
Taron Johnson is usually our bellwether for how often the Bills are in nickel. He was one snap shy of fellow 100 percent club members (usually) Jordan Poyer and Matt Milano and Micah Hyde. Astute observers likely noted that Hyde isn’t on the list. If you missed it, he’s up above on the offense, which gets sorted first in the game book. He also had 61 defensive snaps but came in for the kneel downs. This used to be Jordan Poyer’s job and hopefully someone with journalistic integrity gets us the answer we deserve on such a hot topic.
Anyway, the strong suggestion is that the game plan was to play nickel pretty much the entire game again. That leads me to Greg Rousseau who earned a couple sacks this week, one of which came on a snap in which he dropped into coverage first. Remember we’re calling that the Wooden Dime defense in honor of Groot. He also had the highest snap count total for any defensive end, beating out Jerry Hughes, which is significant. Mario Addison was technically second place but he, Hughes, and A.J. Epenesa all were in a virtual deadlock.
For defensive tackles, Ed Oliver led the way followed by Justin Zimmer. Vernon Butler followed close behind with Star Lotulelei playing at just under one-third of the time. Last season the Bills mixed this group up frequently. With the Miami Dolphins trailing significantly much of the game too, this is a hard week to judge what the initial plan was for the tackles.
Special teams (22 snaps)
Reggie Gilliam earns the top spot this week with 21 snaps or 95 percent of the total. Don’t worry, Taiwan Jones and Tyler Matakevich weren’t shunned. They both came in second at 68 percent. It was a log jam tie though with Siran Neal, Jaquan Johnson, and Tyrel Dodson all hitting the same number.
This was a weird week for special teams with only a single opposing kickoff. This should impact the numbers a bit, though it’s a safe bet the above list will continue to be well represented on special teams.