Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley had a quiet year by his “playing alongside Josh Allen” standards—and he still nearly hit 700 yards. Since there’s only on-field stuff to talk about regarding Beasley, let’s just jump right to the clips.
Ultimately, the ball goes nowhere near Cole Beasley but he still puts a nice move on the defender. I liked this play for a couple reasons. It shows that there’s nearly always something to see, even if the spotlight player isn’t in the spotlight. Also, the tackle is made by Nik Needham. That’s the guy Beasley put the move on. He’s able to run down Allen eventually. It might have been sooner if he wasn’t thrown off by Beasley first. This was going to be a big play still—but perhaps less big.
Beasley starts off looking like he’s going to veer to the sideline but cuts back in. Allen needs to rifle this in to beat the triple coverage, which causes the ball to drop. So does Beasley—and it’s a big gain.
The GIF does the heavy lifting on the commentary. The only thing I’ll add is that Beasley creates a lot of separation. The ball goes to the other side of the field, which is precisely why this play made the cut. The defense can’t know where the ball is headed until after the dust has cleared. Beasley is capable of this on any down, which commands attention.
There were a ton of these plays in the games I checked out. Most often they were roughly this successful. Beasley makes a nice stop, then a decisive cut to try and get around the defense. Getting the ball in the hands of a playmaker immediately is great in theory. It’s less great if the defense is ready for it and the blocking can’t keep up with what they’re bringing.
Here’s an even worse version of that same general idea.
And let’s end on a high note. The Bills did find some ways to quickly get the ball in Beasley’s hands. This route isn’t superhuman but Beasley makes a nice cut. Buffalo puts significant stress on the defensive backs with this route combo and it’s an easy pick up.
Next Gen Stats route chart
Here’s the route chart from the game that Plays 1-5 came from. This article and the Isaiah McKenzie one are companion pieces. Go take a peek at the McKenzie GIFs and route chart if you haven’t yet.
It’s undeniable that Cole Beasley had his worst year in a Buffalo Bills uniform. Some of that is likely due to Father Time. Personally I think that some play designs hurt YAC opportunity and pulled back from Beasley’s success in his other two seasons with Buffalo. That said, Beasley still objectively had a pretty good season in many respects.
Though I think Beasley may be starting to slow down, I also don’t think the Bills have anyone who can truly replicate what he brings to the table. Being fair to Buffalo’s roster, I’d wager that many teams don’t have an equivalent player either. I don’t think general manager Brandon Beane was fibbing. The Bills likely want Beasley back and it’s hard to blame them.
- All-22 Review: Cole Beasley’s 2021 season
- All-22 Review: Isaiah McKenzie’s 2021 season
- Salary cap consequences of releasing Cole Beasley
- Contract projection for Isaiah McKenzie
- In-house replacement options for McKenzie/Beasley
- Free agents available at slot receiver
- NFL Draft options at slot receiver
- Opinion: Bills should use multiple tools to improve slot WR position this offseason