Skarekrow and I say “sayonara” to our defensive takeaway series and usher in our offensive giveaway article series. Take a look here for Skarekrow’s predictions at the beginning of the season:
In Part 1 of this series, I’ll be reviewing the Buffalo Bills’ Week 1 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, the Week 3 loss to the Miami Dolphins, and the Week 4 comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Time to pour a little salt in the wound and review some offensive turnovers.
Josh Allen INT No. 1 vs. Rams — Week 1
Josh Allen started the 2022 season on fire. He led Buffalo to an opening-drive touchdown and then the offense moved the ball effortlessly on its second drive, penetrating deep into enemy territory and threatening to score again. Then the TV broadcast had to ruin it all by displaying a graphic noting Allen had started the game with 10 straight competitions... jinx! The next play was this interception. This one wasn’t on Allen. He put the ball right on wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie and even threw it low to protect him from the hit. The ball bounced off McKenzie and the defender made a great play for the interception.
James Cook’s fumble vs. Rams — Week 1
James Cook’s first NFL carry wasn’t ideal. Not only did he lose a fumble on his first carry, but he also missed a wide-open running lane to the outside that likely would have gotten him a big chunk of yardage. Cook went into the dog house after this carry, and it took him a long time to resurrect the trust lost from this play. Looking back on it now, maybe the Bills shouldn’t have been so harsh on him after the fumble.
Josh Allen INT No. 2 vs. Rams — Week 1
The defensive back made a fantastic play on this ball for an interception. Allen was afforded solid protection, and the wide receivers gave him a few options to throw down the field. I think Allen made the correct decision on where to go with the football, but he just placed the ball a little too far behind the receiver, which led to the INT. If this ball was placed in front of the receiver, or if Allen threw the ball sooner, this play likely would have resulted in a first down.
Zack Moss’ fumble vs. Rams — Week 1
Buffalo’s offensive line generated a significant push off the line of scrimmage and ended up creating a giant running lane for the lead blocker and running back to run through. The Bills were up big at the end of the game and this type of run blocking is what closes out a victory — the only problem is that Moss coughs up the football. Give credit to #33 of the Rams on this play, it was a heck of a punch out.
Josh Allen’s fumble vs. Dolphins — Week 3
The Dolphins brought an all-out blitz on this play, utilizing eight defenders. That means they only had three people in coverage. The Bills actually blocked this pretty well. On the right side of the line they blocked seven defenders with only five people. However, left tackle Dion Dawkins was beat by his guy, and then running back Devin Singletary proceeded to whiff, resulting in a strip sack for Miami. The routes that Buffalo’s receivers ran took a little too long to develop and Allen was just about to throw the ball to a wide-open receiver for a big gain before he was sacked. Either Allen needed to step up in the pocket to buy an extra half-second, or he had to get rid of the ball sooner. In order for him to throw the ball sooner, one of the receivers should have broken their route off to become the “hot” route. This turnover resulted in a touchdown for the Dolphins.
Josh Allen’s INT vs. Ravens — Week 4
Buffalo’s offensive line provided plenty of time for Allen to throw on this play, and he unleashed a strike intended for a wide-open Dawson Knox. Unfortunately, the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage, which caused the pass to sail wide into the waiting arms of a defender. The play was executed well all the way around and Allen made the correct decision, the Ravens just made a better play. The following drive by the Ravens resulted in a touchdown.
Devin Singletary’s fumble vs. Ravens
There seems to a be theme of above-average offensive line play in this article. They once again provided ample running room here. Singletary read the blocking correctly and ran to daylight off of the left edge, but ended up getting the ball ripped out of his hands. Singeltary, as we all know, has had some fumbling issues throughout his tenure in Buffalo. We’ll see how that affects his opportunities in the upcoming free-agency period.
These plays are just a snapshot into the entirety of the game, but they provide insight into what went wrong in pivotal moments for the Bills. Turnovers can make or break a game, just like Allen's fumble did in the game against the Dolphins. Miami converted that fumble into a touchdown and it wound up being the difference they needed to squeak out a victory. Realistically, turnovers will never be completely eliminated, but it’s important for Buffalo to limit turnovers in big games because one turnover could be the difference between winning and losing. Keep an eye out for offensive giveaways, Part 2 by Skarekrow coming soon.