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Bills vs. Chiefs Week 14 snap counts: The return of Dawson Knox

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The postseason chase is back on for the Buffalo Bills after beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-17, and bringing their record to 7-6 with the Dallas Cowboys on tap before facing the Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins to close the regular season. If Buffalo wants any realistic chance of sneaking in the playoffs, it will have to win out. It was a classic Josh Allen versus Patrick Mahomes showdown except the Bills were on the winning end in a late-game scenario this time around. Instead of hearing all about Allen’s turnover woes and mistake-prone play style like usual, the media is instead focused on Mahomes’ post-game interaction and interview — which is a nice change of pace.

Entering the game, Buffalo’s injury report was quite clean with tight end Dawson Knox returning from Injured Reserve and both cornerback Dane Jackson and safety Taylor Rapp logging enough practice time to be able to suit up.

As always, let’s take at the Week 14 snap counts from Bills-Chiefs and talk position battles on both sides of the ball.

Bills offensive snap counts (100 snaps)

Quarterback Josh Allen (100%) has been one of the least sacked quarterbacks this season and his offensive line had a tall task of containing the high-powered Chiefs pass rush that ranked top-five in sacks entering the game. Kansas City got to him just three times but totaled 10 QB hits in the process.

While the offensive efficiency fell off after the first two scoring drives for Buffalo, Allen was making highlight plays with his weapons, particularly his running backs and tight ends. Running back James Cook (44%) was cookin’ again, averaging 5.8 yards per carry on just 10 carries and he led all pass catchers in receptions (5), yards (83) and touchdowns (1). Latavius Murray (32%) and Ty Johnson (21%) have become a regular part of the backfield rotation at this point, each making plays through the air and on the ground. I’d personally like to see Johnson usurp Murray’s role soon, though.

Tight ends Dalton Kincaid (78%) and Dawson Knox (48%) were back in the lineup together for the first time since Week 7 and both made their presences known, hauling in five and three receptions, respectively. The wide receivers were a different story for Buffalo on Sunday. Gabe Davis (82%), Stefon Diggs (79%) and Khalil Shakir (61%) were virtually invisible all game. Diggs has totaled 30 targets across the last three games but has caught just 14 of them, while Davis has totaled three zero-reception games in the last five games. Yeah... not ideal, folks.

Note: Kincaid received X-rays on his shoulder after the game but they came back negative. Nonetheless, it is an important situation to monitor given his consistency.

Bills defensive snap counts (66 snaps)

First, let’s dive into the injuries. Safety Micah Hyde (52%) picked up another stinger injury and was forced to sit out the rest of the game while defensive end A.J. Epenesa (6%) injured his ribs during the interception return on the opening drive and didn’t return. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson (73%) also picked up a head injury due to a collision with safety Taylor Rapp (55%) but was cleared to return.

As for the secondary led by safety Jordan Poyer (100%) and the cornerback trio of Rasul Douglas (100%), Taron Johnson (100%) and Christian Benford (100%), they certainly had their rough moments but made huge plays when it mattered. Benford was noticeably struggling for the most of the game but forced a huge fumble to end a strong offensive drive for the Chiefs. Once Hyde went down, Rapp filled his role while cornerback Cam Lewis (17%) saw a few looks late in the game in that hybrid role. Hyde has dealt with these stingers in the past but the injuries keep piling up for him at this point, and his situation is absolutely worth monitoring this week.

The linebacker play seems to get better as the weeks go by with Terrel Bernard (100%) and Dodson each totaling eight combined tackles. Dodson’s run-stopping abilities meshed with Bernard’s all-over-the-place play style makes for a solid one-two punch that can help Buffalo secure these final four wins to secure a playoff spot.

It would’ve been a totally different game had Epenesa not gotten hurt because it seems like he was playing with some extra fire right from the first snap. While the Bills only sacked Mahomes once, they still recorded eight QB hits and caused enough chaos to make him uncomfortable at times. Once Epenesa left the game, defensive ends Leonard Floyd (62%) and Greg Rousseau (70%) saw increased workloads. Edge rusher Von Miller (36%) saw an increase in snaps and was noticeable (in a good way) for the first time all season. It’s a shame defensive end Kingsley Jonathan was a healthy scratch in this one.

Kansas City missed running back Isiah Pacheco mightily in this one, as it couldn’t get much going on the ground thanks to defensive tackles Ed Oliver (79%) and Jordan Phillips (52%) clogging the running lanes all game. Veteran defensive tackle Linval Joseph (27%) doesn’t log many snaps each game but has proven to be a solid acquisition as someone who consistently clogs those running lanes.

Bills special teams snap counts (24 snaps)

  • 20 snaps (83%): FB Reggie Gilliam, TE Quintin Morris
  • 19 snaps (79%): CB Cam Lewis, CB Siran Neal, LB Tyler Matakevich
  • 18 snaps (75): LB Dorian Williams
  • 16 snaps (67%): LB Baylon Spector
  • 14 snaps (58%): SS Taylor Rapp
  • 11 snaps (46%): CB Dane Jackson
  • 10 snaps (42%): WR Trent Sherfield
  • 9 snaps (38%): K Tyler Bass, RB Ty Johnson
  • 8 snaps (33%): P Sam Martin, LS Reid Ferguson
  • 6 snaps (25%): LB Tyrel Dodson
  • 4 snaps (17%): G O’Cyrus Torrence, G David Edwards, C Ryan Bates, T Spencer Brown, T Dion Dawkins, WR Khalil Shakir, WR Deonte Harty, SS Jordan Poyer, LB Terrel Bernard, DE Greg Rousseau, DE Shaq Lawson
  • 3 snaps (12%): DT Tim Settle, DT Jordan Phillips, G Connor McGovern
  • 1 snap (4%): T Ryan Van Demark, DT Ed Oliver, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Taron Johnson, CB Christian Benford