The Buffalo Bills had an interesting week, to say the least. Aside from firing offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey following the 24-22 loss at home to the Denver Broncos in typical Bills fashion, the team watched their AFC foes become weaker due to injuries. All Buffalo had to do was beat the New York Jets — the very same team that forced quarterback Josh Allen to throw three interceptions and upset Buffalo in overtime in Week 1. All is well as the Bills handled the Jets easily — winning 32-6. We’re back, America! Deal with it!
Safety Micah Hyde (neck) and cornerback Christian Benford (hamstring) missed Week 10 but returned to the lineup on Sunday, while defensive tackle Poona Ford remains a healthy scratch following the signing of Linval Joseph. Linebacker Baylon Spector (hamstring) returned to the lineup and replaced A.J. Klein in his special teams role.
As always, let’s dive into the team’s snap counts from Week 11, and talk position battles on both sides of the ball.
Bills offensive snap counts (76 snaps)
Well, it’s refreshing to see the offense finally log more snaps than the defense. We even reached a point in the game where key starters were pulled — something I didn’t think I’d see happening again this season. Nonetheless, the offensive line limited the Jets’ elite pass rush enough for Allen (95%) to make things happen — holding them to one sack and four QB hits. For comparison, the Jets recorded five sacks and nine QB hits in the Week 1 matchup. Even after key starters were pulled in the fourth quarter, both guard O’Cyrus Torrence (100%) and tackle Spencer Brown (100%) still played the final four snaps together.
Despite logging 110 total offensive snaps across the last two games, wide receiver Gabe Davis (88%) has been non-existent. He caught 2-of-6 targets for 56 yards last week and needed to have a good game to get back on the good side of Bills’ fans... but he wasn’t even targeted in Week 11. After recording at least 100 yards receiving in five of the first six games of the season, wide receiver Stefon Diggs (80%) hasn’t been involved in the game plan as much as we’d like — totaling just seven catches for 61 yards across the last two games. Diggs’ lack of involvement and production has opened things up for Khalil Shakir (74%) to breakout, however, as he housed an 81-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Still, please involve Diggs in the game plan and get him the ball at least 10 times a game.
Tight end Dalton Kincaid (67%) continues to flash in every game since Dawson Knox (wrist) had surgery for his injured wrist. He hauled in 6-of-7 targets for 46 yards and currently leads the whole league in catch percentage (87.93%), and by a seven-percent margin.
Although the numbers don’t look amazing because of how great the Jets’ run defense is, the Bills’ willingness to run the ball was apparent. Running back James Cook (46%) led all backs in snaps, carries and rushing yards, of course, but both Latavius Murray (32%) and Ty Johnson (21%) made their presences known. Considering how well this “three-headed attack” performed on top of adding that pre-snap motion threat, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a lot more of this moving forward.
Bills defensive snap counts (57 snaps)
Despite injuries decimating Buffalo’s defense, it continues to perform at a high level. The Jets have really struggled to score points this season but holding any NFL team to just two field goals is a success. This was about as healthy as the Bills’ defense could look but of course, we can’t have nice things. Safety Taylor Rapp (12%) had a scary neck injury that forced him to leave the game very early while cornerbacks Taron Johnson (33%) and Dane Jackson (23%) both left the game with head injuries. All three were ruled out during the game and will be the most important names to monitor this week.
Due to the injuries, cornerbacks Rasul Douglas (100%) and Christian Benford (77%) held it down in the secondary. Douglas has logged every defensive snap in back-to-back games now and is already making a huge impact — finishing with two interceptions, one fumble recovery and three pass deflections. He has done nothing but make big plays since joining the Bills and considering the injury situation, the timing couldn't have been better. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of this Douglas-Benford duo moving forward. Cornerback Cam Lewis (60%) subbed into the Rapp/Johnson role while Siran Neal (19%) even got some snaps.
The linebacker situation seems to be figured out as both Terrel Bernard (82%) and Tyrel Dodson (68%) lead in snaps with Dorian Williams (25%) occasionally subbing for certain formations and looks. Dodson, who had a string of rough games at one point, has been playing well the last few weeks and has offered some tremendous run support.
Buffalo’s pass rush was all over quarterback Zach Wilson, totaling six sacks and eight QB hits. Defensive tackle Ed Oliver (58%) led all interior linemen in snaps and finished with one sack and one tackle for loss but Tim Settle (49%) out-snapping both Jordan Phillips (39%) and Linval Joseph (35%) is new. Phillips’ early roughing of the passer penalty may have contributed to his decreased snap count but it’s still an interesting position battle to monitor. The Bills’ edge rush remains a serious threat as defensive end Leonard Floyd (44%) picked up 2.5 sacks, bringing his total to 9.5 for this season (eighth-most in the league). Defensive end Shaq Lawson (33%) logged the fewest snaps out of the top four rotation but recorded a sack.
Bills special teams snap counts (27 snaps)
- 27 snaps (100%): FB Reggie Gilliam, TE Quintin Morris
- 20 snaps (74%): CB Siran Neal, LB Tyler Matakevich, DE Kingsley Jonathan
- 17 snaps (63%): CB Cam Lewis
- 16 snaps (59%): LB Dorian Williams
- 15 snaps (56%): K Tyler Bass
- 14 snaps (52%): CB Christian Benford
- 13 snaps (48%): WR Trent Sherfield
- 10 snaps (37%): WR Khalil Shakir, SS Taylor Rapp, P Sam Martin, LS Reid Ferguson
- 9 snaps (33%): LB Baylon Spector
- 7 snaps (26%): G O’Cyrus Torrence, G Connor McGovern, G David Edwards, T Dion Dawkins, T Spencer Brown, C Ryan Bates, WR Deonte Harty
- 6 snaps (22%): Ty Johnson
- 3 snaps (11%): LB Tyrel Dodson
- 1 snap (4%): CB Taron Johnson
Something worth noting that is both tight end Quintin Morris (100%) and fullback Reggie Gilliam (100%) each logged every special teams snap. I can’t remember the last time a player logged 100% of special teams snaps, let alone two. Nonetheless, they’re the leaders of this unit and that was apparent when Gilliam forced a fumble on the opening kickoff only for Morris to jump right on top of it.
Linebacker Baylon Spector (33%) filled the A.J. Klein special teams role while both Lewis (63%) and Benford (52%) saw increased snaps due to injuries.