Bills offense, again, not good enough

Buffalo leaned on a passing game that is spotty, at best

Howard Simon
November 10, 2019 - 7:21 pm

After the Buffalo Bills beat the Cincinnati Bengals back in Week 3 and improved to 3-0, I said the Bills were a lock to get to 10 wins.

Now I’m not so sure.

I’m trying to not overreact to a loss, as sometimes can be the case, but the Bills' offense isn’t good. If the defense can’t keep bailing it out, the offense just isn’t up to the task of winning a game.

Specifically, the offense isn’t good at scoring touchdowns. They can move the ball, but when it comes to getting in the end zone, they just don’t do it enough. The 19-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday marked the fifth time in nine games the offense was held under 20 points. In one other game, they scored 21, and they haven’t played against that many top-level defenses.

The Bills have decided to lean on their passing game and it is spotty, at best. They passed 41 times in this game, and the top-two running backs combined for just 14 carries in a game against the 30th-ranked run defense. Even though it's clear the Bills are more pass based, the lack of carries for Devin Singletary is puzzling. He was productive in a limited role with 42 yards on eight carries. That’s eight carries out of 62 offensive plays. 

Josh Allen went through a fourth-consecutive game without throwing an interception, but he didn’t have any touchdown passes. The two touchdowns came from Allen on the ground. When the Bills needed some clutch throws, they didn’t get enough of them. The Bills faced a 3rd-and-4 or shorter on eight occasions and they passed every time. Allen completed just 2-of-8 pass attempts, and both completions came on 3rd-and-2. He missed a throw on 3rd-and-3 when, for some reason, he tried a bomb to wide receiver Cole Beasley, who was double covered, and was 1-of-5 passing on 3rd-and-4 with the one completion going for no gain. Allen also threw incomplete on a pair of 4th-and-4 plays.

We are also still waiting for Allen to complete a deep pass this season. In addition to the incompletion to Beasley, Allen overthrew an open Isiah McKenzie on a deep try.

When you're struggling to score touchdowns, you really need your kicker to come through. Stephen Hauschka is no longer “Hausch-Money."

He, surprisingly, missed a 34-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, which snapped a streak of 44 straight makes from under 40 yards. Hauschka was, sadly, just left on a 53-yard attempt that would have tied the game with 22-seconds left.

Hauschka is now just 8-of-13 kicking on the season, which is a continuation of a downward trend. He hit on 87% of his attempts during his first season with the Bills, but it dropped to 78% last season and is now down at 61%. Hauschka has made just four of his last 10 attempts from 50 yards or longer, although one of those was from 62 yards.

Here are some other things I need to get off my chest:

  • Why did the Bills huddle before their 3rd-and-4 play on the final drive? It didn’t matter since Allen threw an incompletion, but they wasted almost 20-seconds by huddling.
  • Levi Wallace got off to a good start this season, but his play has dropped over the last few games. While Tre'Davious White was keeping Odell Beckham, Jr. in check, Wallace couldn’t handle Jarvis Landry. Landry beat Wallace on the Browns' first touchdown of the day. He also beat Wallace for a big 24-yard pass on, what turned out to be, the Browns' game-winning drive. Wallace was also the victim on the game-winning touchdown pass, who was beaten cleanly by wide receiver Rashard Higgins.
  • Can Lee Smith please stop taking penalties? The veteran tight end was called for a false start and later on a hold. Smith has eight penalties in nine games, which puts him in the top-10 for most penalties by a single player. That while playing in just over 40% of the snaps this season.
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