The Buffalo Bills have started the 2022 NFL season on a frenetic pace en route to a 3-1 record. Quarterback Josh Allen remains at or near the top of the MVP conversation, depending on who’s asked. The team’s receiving corps is potent enough to give defensive coordinators nightmares for weeks. Buffalo’s defense is performing lights out—especially in the second half of games. The talented unit has only allowed seven points after halftime during the first month of the season, and they continue to impress with their creative pressure schemes.
Bills Mafia’s confidence takes a hit
Why, then, has Bills Mafia’s confidence waned from Week 4, when it remained higher despite the team’s first loss of the season? The last poll found 91% of Bills fans confident in the direction of the team. Somehow, despite the statement game made in defeating the Baltimore Ravens, some fans are less confident.
Running out of options
Below are the results from this week’s poll that asked how concerned fans were with Buffalo’s run-game situation.
Let’s circle back to the original question about the overall drop in confidence: The graphic above might explain things. While I’m only able to guess, it’s possible that fans’ lack of confidence in the run game is affecting their confidence in the direction of the team. The overwhelming majority (90%) of fans polled are at least mildly concerned with the team’s inability to effectively run. While it’s not much of an issue now, it could become one as the season wears on and the weather worsens. This week’s opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are most vulnerable to rushing attacks on defense. That’s not the Bills’ forte—at least not one they’ve yet proven. Perhaps this weekend we see a dedicated effort to running the ball with players not named Josh Allen.
While Allen is a human cheat code on any NFL field, he can’t continue carrying the team’s run game with his own legs. It’s a recipe for disaster—and it may call for offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to continue thinking outside the box to put the running backs in successful situations. Running back Devin Singletary has been a key receiver for Buffalo out of the backfield, and Dorsey would be wise to continue putting him in space where he excels. It also wouldn’t hurt to see rookie running back James Cook utilized in similar situations, and given a more thorough opportunity to produce on game days.
Week 4’s worst loss
The AFC East hit the AFC North in the mouth last week. Both the Steelers and Ravens suffered disappointing losses. Sharing the dubious honor this week, 28% of fans polled felt both the Steelers’ and Ravens’ losses were the worst defeats. For Baltimore, that’s because they were at one point up 20-3 on Buffalo just before halftime. Pittsburgh losing to the New York Jets might seem disappointing on the surface, but the Jets are an improving team and the Steelers have major questions around much of the roster—and will now start rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett in Week 5. So, Pittsburgh and New York might not be as far apart as voters feel.
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