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Bills vs. Eagles analysis: Drive extenders

Extending drives on third and fourth down helped fuel Buffalo’s offense

NFL: NOV 26 Bills at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills lost an overtime heartbreaker to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season. Even though the loss stung, Buffalo’s offense took the form of what Bills fans are used to seeing — scoring over 30 points for the second week in a row.

A key to this offensive success was Buffalo's ability to extend drives on third and fourth down throughout the game. The Bills were 13-of-22 on third-down conversions and 1-of-1 on fourth-down conversions. In the end, the team wishes they would have capitalized on one more conversion for the win (a touchdown pass in overtime to wide receiver Gabe Davis that fell to the ground). Regardless, seeing the offense and quarterback Josh Allen look like their normal unstoppable selves for most of the game was a sight for sore eyes. Let’s review some of the drive extenders that propelled Buffalo’s offense to score 34 points.

Play 1

The Bills gave the Eagles a little taste of their own medicine on this 4th & 1 play. Buffalo’s offense took the “tush push” and converted it to the “snowplow” — surging ahead for a first down on a QB sneak.

Play 2

The Bills brought in an extra lineman for this 3rd & 1 play. This was a simple man-on-man blocking scheme where the offensive line won their blocks, and made room for Murray to pick up the first down.

Play 3

Josh Allen was the game’s leading rusher with nine carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns. He used his athleticism on this play to juke and drag a defender for a big conversion on 3rd & 10. Allen’s running ability changes the whole flow of the offense.

Play 4

Allen again used his legs to get out of the pocket, but this time kept his eyes downfield and was able to throw a strike to Gabe Davis to pick up the first down on this 3rd & 9. Davis did an excellent job of coming back to the football and giving Allen a spot to throw the football.

Play 5

Interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady schemed open wide receiver Kahlil Shakir with a wheel route on this 3rd & 7 play. Allen was able to throw the hole-shot down the sideline for a big gain to get the drive started.

Play 6

The chemistry between Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs showed up big time on this play. Diggs cut off his slant route and wrapped it back around to the sideline. He was able to adjust his route and get open just in time before Allen was sacked.

Play 7

This throw by Allen is insane. Look at all the traffic around Diggs when Allen was throwing the ball. Somehow, he fit it in the perfect spot for Diggs to make a sliding touchdown catch on 3rd & 6.

Play 8

Allen knew the Eagles were in man-to-man coverage on this 3rd & 6 play because the defender followed Shakir in motion. That defender ended up playing off-coverage, which made it an easy read for Allen to throw the quick out to Shakir for the first down.

Play 9

I love this play call on 3rd & 4 from Joe Brady. Before this video starts, Allen pointed out the impending blitzing linebacker (#53) at the bottom of the screen. A lane perfectly opened up away from the blitz and allowed Allen to convert on third down with a QB draw.

Play 10

Allen is a playmaker, plain and simple. Not many skill players can score a touchdown on this play, let alone a QB. The Eagles brought six defenders to rush the passer, which meant there were fewer defenders in coverage. Allen took advantage of this by squeaking out of the pocket and juking defenders on his way to a touchdown on 3rd & 11.

Play 11

The Eagles safety tasked with defending Murray in the slot decided to play way off in coverage on this 3rd & 4 play. This made Allen’s decision pretty easy to throw the quick out for a first down.

Play 12

The Bills used the run-pass option (RPO) play quite often the past two seasons and it mad its presence known in a big way on this 3rd & 4 play. Allen was reading the circled defender — if the defender stayed in coverage, Allen would have handed it off. Instead, the defender crashed toward the line of scrimmage and Allen pulled the run fake, throwing the slant to Davis for a touchdown.

Play 13

These final two plays were huge conversions to keep their drive alive in overtime. For this 3rd & 9 play, Allen was able to create extra time with his legs and fired a bullet to Davis for a huge first down conversion to begin overtime.

Play 14

Allen and his legs are a game-changer. Everyone know the offense is so much better with his running abilities being a constant threat. Another huge 3rd & Long conversion by the Bills offense in overtime.

In summary

The Buffalo Bills are in desperation mode heading into their bye week. Their playoff hopes are extremely dim at 6-6 with a tough schedule remaining. The Bills will have to go on a massive tear to end the season if they want any chance at sneaking into the playoffs. Winning out might be the only way. The encouraging thing is that the offense looks to be back and as dangerous as ever. Should the Bills make a run, it will likely be due to Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense playing unstoppable football.