Well... here we are. The final snap count notes of the season. Just remember, the reason this game was such a gut punch was because of all the fun we had along the way. None of the drought losses are in the same zip code as this one when it comes to how bad this hurts. Maybe it’s too early for silver linings but I, for one, am still happy we have this Buffalo Bills team that’s so easy to root for on and off the field. Let’s check in on playing time for one of the most exciting football games of all time.
Offense (64 snaps)
In a game like this there was no way players were coming off the field unless it was absolutely necessary. So for the first time in a long while, the 100% Club on offense was at full attendance. Dion Dawkins, Ryan Bates, Mitch Morse, Daryl Williams, Spencer Brown and Josh Allen all made the cut. The Bills also took feature back to the next level and added Devin Singletary to the club for one night only. HIs previous highest this season was 93%.
Dawson Knox was nearly there, only absent for a single play. Reggie Gilliam hit 25% and Tommy Doyle came in for 4 plays. That’s less for Doyle than we’d been seeing, but there’s no question the Bills’ offense played a great game.
Stefon Diggs took the top spot at wide receiver for the first time in a while. It was only one more snap than Gabriel Davis who had a night for the record books. Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, Isaiah McKenzie, and Jake Kumerow round out the rest of this group with a big variation in playing time.
Defense (76 snaps)
The defensive 100% Club also had full attendance. Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson, Dane Jackson, Tremaine Edmunds, and Matt Milano all hit the mark. That means the Bills were in nickel (at least) the entire game. Siran Neal’s two snaps means the Bills played dime on two snaps. More on how the Bills played fast in just a moment.
The defensive tackle list was a rotation of just three guys. Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, and Star Lotulelei were the only tackles to hit the field. They also played 113 snaps combined or 148% of the total. With two tackle positions in a 4-3 defense, that means the Bills played one tackle “short” on 52% of the plays. Or 39 snaps.
Of those, 37 snaps were taken by the defensive ends. This group was led by Jerry Hughes, followed by Greg Rousseau, Mario Addison, Efe Obada, A.J. Epenesa, and Boogie Basham. That means just under half the time, Buffalo was playing with three defensive ends and a lone tackle. That means the Bills were very deliberately trying to play fast.
I could easily pile on the Bills and say this strategy was a bad one, but they used very similar personnel earlier in the year and that game went quite a bit better.
Special teams (33 snaps)
I’ll have something special teams related for you later in the week. For now, Tyler Matakevich ends the season as the most core of the core special teamers.