The Buffalo Bills battled their way back into the win column on a short week, gaining a 24-18 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For most of the game, Buffalo’s offense seemed to find the rhythm they have been so desperately searching for — however, they still didn’t put it all together for the game’s entirety. The Bills ran more 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) than usual and that meant wide receiver Khalil Shakir was able to see the field more often. Shakir made the most of his opportunities and helped the Bills find some identity on offense. Let’s take a peak at how Shakir was able to turn in a career day for the Bills in Week 8.
Khalil Shakir’s Week 8 Stats
Shakir caught all six of his targets for 92 yards. He had four receptions that went over 10 yards (13, 21, 30, and 14).
Shakir was used in a variety of routes but most notably seemed to be featured in the short passing game similar to the way Bills fans were used to seeing Cole Beasley play. He often found the soft spots in the zones and offered up easy throws for quarterback Josh Allen. Shakir was able to rip off some yards after the catch and showed his ability to be a play maker.
This play looks just like the good ol’ days of Cole Beasley. For this play, Shakir slow released to read the defense and then quickly moved to find the hole in the zone coverage. Allen saw the opening and got the ball out on time. This simple pass resulted in a first down for Buffalo. This was the first of Shakir’s three receptions on the opening drive.
Shakir showed off some of the play-maker traits that the Bills liked so much when they drafted him. At Boise State, Shakir often looked like a running back after he caught the ball. Here, he showed some wiggle by making a defender miss, then laid the hit stick at the end of the run for a big chunk gain.
A simple route can be effective. Shakir’s job above was to find the open zone and sit down. After Allen worked through his reads he had an easy throw for a checkdown option that picked up five yards on second down to make for a manageable third-down try.
Some of you may be wondering why Allen didn’t throw this ball sooner, Shakir was wide open for most of the play. Shakir likely wasn’t the main read on this play and he just had to wait for Allen to work through his progressions. Shakir did an excellent job of sticking with the play and continuing to move to the open spot and give Allen a window to throw in late during the play.
Another slow release to read the defense. Once the linebacker shaded towards wide receiver Stefon Diggs, Shakir “sat down,” caught the quick pass, and got yards after the catch.
The Bills ran a mesh route concept for this play, and used Shakir as one of the crossing routes. Allen fired a pass in a tight window and Shakir makes the tough catch. Then to continue the theme, Shakir turned upfield and found some extra yards.
The Buffalo Bills’ offense found a groove in Week 8, but failed to stay in that pocket for the whole game. Khalil Shakir looked to be part of the reason the Bills found their rhythm, as he played the role of Cole Beasley that everyone has been clamoring for since Beasley left.
I’m not sure if this game is a “one-off” by Shakir — we’ve seen plenty of those by players like Isiah McKenzie over the years — but I will say that it was an encouraging performance by Shakir. The Bills will look to get in a groove early and often in Week 9 versus the Cincinnati Bengals, at which point we’ll see if Shakir is still part of the solution.