The Buffalo Bills won in convincing fashion against the New England Patriots to close the regular season, but it was far from business as usual. Two kickoffs returned for touchdowns by Nyheim Hines were the deciding points in a game that featured three turnovers, and inconsistent performances from both the offense and defense. After the week the Bills had, none of those “gripes” should be taken for anything more than facts. Since we’re a Bills site though and we do this thing called “analysis,” let’s take a look at one of the more important pieces of the defense and see how linebacker Tremaine Edmunds fared.
Play 1 — Trouble in one-on-one
Two facts to start off with here. I love Tremaine Edmunds. I used to be very critical of how he struggled to shed blocks. That critique showed up again versus New England. This isn’t the most egregious example as Edmunds faces center David Andrews one-on-one. I would say it fairly represents his night. He just seems a little “stuck” at the point of attack. On the positive side of the ledger, think about the play design by the Patriots. They seem to respect Edmunds enough to launch their center at him to neutralize the threat he brings.
Play 2 — Changing directions
The Bills don’t blitz a ton, but when they do it can be from just about any position. Someone didn’t recognize that Edmunds was on the way, and they let him through. The highlight to show here is not anything at the line as a result, but the change of direction when quarterback Mac Jones escapes the initial rush. He should have been able to buy enough time to maybe get a throw off, but Edmunds is right on top of him again. I don’t mind the shove at the end, for the record.
Play 3 — All about depth
One of the things Edmunds is known for is wiping out swathes of field by occupying passing lanes with size and speed. Generally, I feel he has an uncanny knack for knowing the best depth to pull this off. Here he’s a bit shallow to discourage a throw over his head and Jones is able to float the throw past him for a touchdown. Safety Jordan Poyer is also uncharacteristically off on this play, for the record. I counted a few passes behind Edmunds this game that I felt weren’t the norm.
Play 4 — Home on the range
One of the reasons I love watching Edmunds play is the ground he can cover with alarming speed. He’s flowing to his left with the play, notices it’s moving to his right and gets in on the play.
Play 5 — Range roving
While he wasn’t perfect on every snap, Edmunds makes the throw to the man he’s covering a very bad idea. Mac Jones wisely finds a better target and once again Edmunds is fast enough to get in on the play.
Play 6 — End on a high note
This wasn’t Tremaine Edmunds’ best performance (again, not a gripe), but he still showed off what makes him great. Here’s a play where he had no issue with the one-on-one block and flowed easily into the gap to make the stop.
The Buffalo Bills and Tremaine Edmunds played about how I would have expected. Some big plays made. Some big plays allowed. In the end they made more than their opponent, which is all that matters. The Bills will look to clear their hearts and heads as they progress into the playoffs and we’ll be right here watching and supporting them.