The Buffalo Bills are riding a three-game win streak and seem to be on track for postseason football. A lot of great things have happened for the team the last couple weeks, but there remain plenty of people intent on ruining the fun. By that I mean the crowd seemingly convinced that wide receiver Stefon Diggs should want out of Buffalo. Those cries were loud enough early in the season, but some have grown louder in recent weeks due to his production decline since interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady took over as play caller. I’m here to remind those who need such a reminder: Stefon Diggs isn’t a problem, surely doesn’t want out of One Bills Drive, and is still plenty involved in the offensive game plan. Don’t believe me? Let’s review a couple facts.
We begin by looking at the Week 16 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Yes, Diggs caught five balls for 29 yards, but anyone watching the game knows that he should have had a lot more if it was not for quarterback Josh Allen missing two throws that he usually makes. One was off a crosser that he short-hopped to Diggs that would have been good for about 20 yards. The other was an underthrown bomb on a deep post that resulted in an interception. If Diggs caught the pass he would have had a chance to break away for an 80-plus-yard touchdown reception.
Let’s also consider things from a generic standpoint. Since Brady took over the play calling, Diggs has yet to have a 100-yard game, and he only has one touchdown. However, Diggs isn’t being ignored, having been targeted 43 times in the last five games — that’s plenty of opportunity to make an impact. It doesn’t help that Diggs has recently had some issues catching the football. In four of those games, he’s been targeted at least eight times. When the game is on the line, Allen still looks at Diggs to be the guy to move the sticks. On a huge 3rd & 8 with the Bills trailing the Chargers late in the fourth quarter, Allen was looking at Diggs the whole way before connecting for a huge fourth down.
There’s also the point to be made that Buffalo’s offense isn’t currently reliant on Diggs to carry the load every drive, every game, all the time. With Brady at the controls, the offense has taken more pressure off of Allen to throw the football, instead giving running back James Cook more touches each week. The past two games Allen has thrown a combined 36 passing attempts. For reference, he has eight individual games this season where he has thrown the ball more times than that — in each game. It’s only natural that the less a team’s throwing the ball, the less opportunity there is for the top receiver while trying to get others involved. Against the Chargers, Diggs was targeted on 38% of Allen’s targets, and on the season he’s been targeted on 28% of Allen’s passes.
The production from Diggs will return in due time as Brady and the team scheme new opportunities for him, but right now the offense is clicking on all cylinders. If Josh Allen tries to force feed Diggs it could result in turnovers or land things out of rhythm. Come playoff time, if Diggs needs to be the guy, then Allen will throw the ball his way.