Well if you didn’t think the Buffalo Bills’ season was in jeopardy heading into Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos, I’m sure you think differently now. The Bills broke our hearts per usual and lost to the Broncos in front of Bills Mafia at home, 24-22, to bring their record to 5-5. Things are starting to look bleak for this season’s playoffs, but let’s see how the team does next week versus the New York Jets following the dismissal of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey late Tuesday morning.
As if things couldn’t be worse on the defense when it comes to injuries, both safety Micah Hyde (neck) and cornerback Christian Benford (hamstring) were ruled out ahead of MNF. Luckily, linebacker Terrel Bernard (concussion) was back in the mix and was flying all over the place. Defensive tackle Poona Ford was a healthy scratch for a second straight week as it seems Buffalo values Tim Settle’s versatility.
As always, let’s dive into the team’s snap counts from Week 10, and talk position battles on both sides of the ball.
Bills offensive snap counts (54 snaps)
Let’s hope Ken Dorsey’s departure rejuvenates this offense. Quarterback Josh Allen (100%) had his usual WTF moments — except the Bills aren’t good enough to win games when they lose the turnover battle anymore.
Running back James Cook (46%) fumbled on the Bills’ first play from scrimmage and head coach Sean McDermott proceeded to put him in the doghouse for three straight drives. Even Ty Johnson (2%) got a snap over Cook. Are we serious, McDermott? Nonetheless, the two-headed attack comprised of Cook and Latavius Murray (52%) looked quite good together, with the Bills actually committed to running the ball against Denver. Cook averaged 9.1 yards per carry, while Murray averaged 7.6.
As Cook sat on the sidelines, wide receiver Gabe Davis (98%) dropped one of the easiest passes, which resulted in Allen’s first interception of the night. Did Davis get benched? Nope. Davis has his moments but his days feel numbered in Buffalo, especially if he keeps dropping the ball. It’s baffling to see wide receiver Stefon Diggs (98%) log all but one snap yet garner just five targets. It’s also baffling to see wide receiver Khalil Shakir (76%) be completely removed from the game plan and garner just two targets, one of which was a bad overthrow by Allen.
Tight end Dalton Kincaid (76%) remains a crucial part of the offense and has led the team in targets and receptions in back-to-back weeks. Quintin Morris (26%) continues to primarily function as a blocker along with wide receiver Trent Sherfield (17%). Sherfield has hauled in just seven of 10 targets for 53 yards this season.
Bills defensive snap counts (75 snaps)
With Hyde sidelined, safety Taylor Rapp (100%) stepped up in his absence and played quite well, totaling seven combined tackles and a half-sack. Safety Jordan Poyer (100%) continues to get occasional looks at linebacker, and it seemed that the Bills were in 3-4 formation in certain situations on Monday night. Getting Terrel Bernard (100%) back in the mix was huge as he was flying all over the field, finishing with 13 combined tackles and one sack. Now that Buffalo’s linebacker room is presumably healthy again, it will be interesting to see how they handle the splits between linebackers Tyrel Dodson (64%) and rookie Dorian Williams (24%), especially with Poyer and Rapp playing in unique roles.
I’m loving the move to grab cornerback Rasul Douglas (100%) from the Green Bay Packers because he’s made an immediate impact. Douglas finished with six tackles and a fumble recovery, but he also forced a fumble and returned the recovery for a touchdown, both of which were overturned. He was all over the place — plain and simple — and once Benford is back to 100% health, maybe we can feel some security again in the Bills’ secondary. I had flashbacks to the New York Giants game where cornerback Taron Johnson (92%) almost cost Buffalo the game with a pass interference on the final play. That’s because he was flagged on a prayer from quarterback Russell Wilson during Denver’s final drive, which sealed the game. Nonetheless, the defense shouldn’t have been in that situation.
Buffalo’s pass rush certainly gave Wilson issues at times with defensive ends Greg Rousseau (52%) and A.J. Epenesa (43%) recording 1 sack and 1.5 sacks, respectively. They each recorded a tackle for loss, as well, along with defensive end Leonard Floyd (59%), who remains the best offseason acquisition by far. The interior pass rush is still led by defensive tackle Ed Oliver (73%) with Linval Joseph (39%) already fully claiming the third rotation spot ahead of Tim Settle (31%) after out-snapping him in back-to-back weeks.
Cornerback Cam Lewis (24%) saw an increased role at safety, while safety Damar Hamlin (12%) took his first defensive snaps since his injury — when Lewis was forced into the medical tent late during action.
Bills special teams snap counts (27 snaps)
- 24 snaps (89%): CB Cam Lewis
- 23 snaps (85%): CB Siran Neal, LB Tyler Matakevich
- 20 snaps (74%): TE Quintin Morris, FB Reggie Gilliam
- 18 snaps (67%): LB Dorian Williams
- 17 snaps (63%): SS Damar Hamlin, DE Kingsley Jonathan
- 10 snaps (37): WR Khalil Shakir
- 9 snaps (33%): LB Tyrel Dodson
- 8 snaps (30%): RB Ty Johnson
- 7 snaps (26%): SS Taylor Rapp, SS Jordan Poyer, LB Terrel Bernard, CB Josh Norman, K Tyler Bass
- 6 snaps (22%): DE Greg Rousseau, DE Shaq Lawson, DT Tim Settle, LS Reid Ferguson, P Sam Martin
- 5 snaps (19%): WR Deonte Harty, DE A.J. Epenesa, LB A.J. Klein
- 3 snaps (11%): T Dion Dawkins, G Connor McGovern, G O’Cyrus Torrence, T Spencer Brown, G David Edwards, C Ryan Bates, WR Trent Sherfield
- 2 snaps (7%): DE Leonard Floyd
- 1 snap (4%): CB Taron Johnson, CB Dane Jackson, CB Rasul Douglas, DT Jordan Phillips, DT Ed Oliver, EDGE Von Miller