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Bills-Commanders snap counts: Defensive dominance led by Terrel Bernard

Spencer Brown/O’Cyrus Torrence duo remains strong

Buffalo Bills v Washington Commanders Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills are back on track and above .500 after dominating the Washington Commanders en route to a 37-3 road win on Sunday afternoon. After a stellar performance in all phases in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Bills’ defense decided to one-up the offense in Week 3 — forcing five turnovers and totaling nine sacks. Quarterback Josh Allen and the offense were still patient and efficient, dominating time of possession (34:39) while putting up over 30 points on the board for the second straight week.

Let’s dive right into the snap counts from Bills-Commanders, and discuss which players had the biggest impacts on the dominant 34-point victory on the road.

Bills offensive snap counts (68 snaps)

The offense had its issues at times, which will need cleaning up for Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins, but points were put on the board. I don’t know about you but I could get used to sitting the starters in the fourth quarter. Even though Allen (84%) and many of the starters have sat out most of the fourth quarter the past two weeks, offensive linemen Spencer Brown (100%) and O’Cyrus Torrence (100%) remain part of the 100% club. The offensive line had another tall task ahead of them in containing the high-powered Commanders’ pass rush and was very successful — holding them to zero sacks and one QB hit.

Wide receiver Gabe Davis (76%) assumed his normal position of leading all pass-catchers in snaps and caught just one pass but made it count, hauling in a 35-yard laser from Allen at the end of the first quarter. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (66%) continues to dominate, catching 8-of-12 targets for 111 yards — his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. The tight end room was quiet — totaling just four targets and three receptions for 14 yards between Dawson Knox (60%) and Dalton Kincaid (51%), but the running game and Diggs benefited from their presence.

James Cook (62%) has continued to flourish in the RB1 role and is averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry through the first three games. Jimbo was cookin’ again, totaling 112 scrimmage yards, including a big 34-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Both Latavius Murray (25%) and Damien Harris (13%) saw some offensive action again as well, proving the Bills’ commitment to having a viable rushing attack this season. It’s so refreshing to see.

All five wide receivers, three tight ends and three running backs logged at least nine snaps.

Bills defensive snap counts (54 snaps)

Now it’s time to talk about the defense. Where do I even start? First, the Bills forced five turnovers, recorded nine sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 15 QB hits. Read that again. Wow.

Cornerback Christian Benford (100%) was yet again the only defensive player to log every snap. He was beaten a few times by Commanders receivers but also made his fair share of big plays and tackles when it mattered. Cornerback Kaiir Elam still remains a healthy scratch each week, however. But given how the secondary has looked, it makes sense. Cornerback Tre’Davious White (87%) has struggled a ton since returning from injury last season, but he recorded an awesome interception and was noticeable out there. Even safety Micah Hyde (81%) was able to join in on the fun with an interception of his own.

I’m trying to remember Buffalo’s middle linebacker from last season... Tremaine something? Not sure, but all is well over here in Buffalo with Terrel “Terror” Bernard (87%) at middle linebacker, who had a career game on Sunday — recording two sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. He was all over the place making big plays alongside Matt Milano (87%), and this duo is something to be very excited about for years to come if Bernard can keep up this top-tier production. And yes, I know some call him “Saint Bernard,” but I like mine too, okay?

It wasn’t just Bernard and the secondary wreaking havoc against the Commanders. The defensive line was scary on Sunday and it’s hard not to think about the potential once edge rusher Von Miller (knee) is back in the mix.

Defensive end A.J. Epenesa (46%) doesn’t get much praise often but wow, he made a statement with his impressive pick-six, one sack and one tackle for loss. Edge rusher Leonard Floyd (48%) was nursing an ankle injury from last week but that didn’t seem to matter as he got to quarterback Sam Howell on back-to-back plays in the third quarter. Both Ed Oliver (63%) and DaQuan Jones (52%) caused chaos in the middle at defensive tackle, each recording 1.5 sacks and 2 QB hits. It wasn’t just one guy generating pressure — it was everyone. Even defensive end Kingsley Jonathan (22%) recorded some snaps and one QB hit. I said it last week but man, this defensive line is deep and full of talent.

Bills special teams snap counts (22 snaps)

  • 21 snaps (95%): TE Quintin Morris, FB Reggie Gilliam
  • 15 snaps (68%): LB Tyrel Dodson, LB Dorian Williams, CB Cam Lewis, K Tyler Bass
  • 14 snaps (64%): CB Siran Neal, CB Dane Jackson, LB Tyler Matakevich
  • 12 snaps (55%): SS Taylor Rapp
  • 11 snaps (50%): WR Trent Sherfield
  • 8 snaps (36%): P Sam Martin, LS Reid Ferguson
  • 7 snaps (32%): T Ryan Van Demark, G David Edwards, T Dion Dawkins, G Connor McGovern, G O’Cyrus Torrence
  • 6 snaps (27%): C Ryan Bates, DE Kingsley Jonathan
  • The rest: WR Deonte Harty (3 snaps)/WR Khalil Shakir, RB Damien Harris (2 snaps)/CB Christian Benford, DT DaQuan Jones, DT Jordan Phillips, DE Shaq Lawson (1 snap)

I read the comments here and there and apologize for not including the full list of special teams’ snaps. So, for all you special teams nerds, every snap is accounted for above!

Kicker Tyler Bass (68%) did his job, per usual, connecting on three field goals and four extra points while punter Sam Martin (36%) was needed just once, where he drilled a 70-yard punt that ended up being a touchback. Receiver Deonte Harty (14%) had a nice 23-yard punt return that set up the Bills for their first touchdown.

Cornerback Dane Jackson (64%) is becoming more engrained in the special teams role, and he’s already logging the same amount of snaps as guys such as defensive back Siran Neal and linebacker Tyler Matakevich — two Bills’ special teams staples. All in all, the special teams unit has looked very much improved since the Week 1 loss.