Bills offense isn't good enough

The Buffalo defense can't save them this time against the Eagles

Howard Simon
October 27, 2019 - 6:25 pm
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Amidst a 5-1 start to the 2019 season by the Buffalo Bills, there was probably at least one question that was still bugging you. Perhaps there was a little voice in your head that kept asking how the Bills would fare in a game if the defense had a bad day. Would the Bills offense be good enough to carry the team?

On Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, the answer was no.

The Bills defense had that bad day at the office. The Eagles had a huge game running the ball, and the passing game was efficient behind Carson Wentz. When the defense needed the offense to come up big, the Bills just weren’t good enough.

It looked like they might be up to the task when the offense answered an Eagles touchdown drive on the first possession of the third quarter. The Bills responded by getting into the end zone themselves to make it 17-13 in favor of the visitors.

Philadelphia came back with a six-play, 68-yard touchdown drive to go up by 11 points, and the Bills' offense was completely shut down from that point on. Over the next five possessions, they managed a total of 14 yards and just one first down. They went three-and-out on three of the drives, four-and-out on another, and six-and-out on the other. 

For some reason, the Bills went almost exclusively to the passing game in their attempt to register another come from behind victory. I have no problem with the evolution of the Bills into a pass driven offense, because that is how you win in today’s NFL, but how about trying to sprinkle in some runs to help out on a very windy day, which made passing the ball challenging.

Over the Bills' first four drives of the second half, there were 19 drop backs by Josh Allen and just three runs called for running backs. Two of those came on back-to-back plays for Frank Gore and they totaled 14 yards. The Bills didn’t get a single first down via a pass after the touchdown that pulled them to within four points.

Remember when the Bills got rid of LeSean McCoy because they were so impressed with rookie Devin Singletary? Apparently the Bills don’t because there seems to be a reluctance to feed him the ball.

Singletary didn’t have any carries in the first half. He ended up with just three rushes on the day, although he was targeted in the passing game and finished with four catches including a touchdown. Singletary gives the Bills some speed to the edges in the run game, and I don’t understand why we don’t see more of him.

Gore only had the two carries in the second half, and this game was not out of hand until about midway through the fourth quarter. The Bills had 58 offensive plays and only 12 were runs by a back.

Allen ended up leading the team in rushing with 45 yards on eight carries, although it was a designed run by Allen that came back to bite the Bills right before halftime. Allen fumbled on a 3rd-and-2 and the Eagles recovered at the Bills' 24-yard line. They proceeded to score a touchdown and turned, what might have been, at least a 7-3 deficit at halftime into an 11-7 lead. Allen had three fumbles in the game and now has eight for the season, although only two have been recovered by the opposition.  

The Bills offense has scored just 15 touchdowns in seven games this season, but it wasn’t being talked about because the defense was playing lights out and the offense was getting touchdowns in crunch time to put a win away or pull off a come-from-behind victory. The soft schedule, to this point, has helped, but it should be more difficult over the second half of the schedule and the offense has to pull more weight.

By the way, the Buffalo defense was beaten up pretty good by the Eagles just seven days after a less than stellar performance against the Miami Dolphins. If the offense can’t get to the next level, that defense will have to repeat what it did over the first five games of the season.

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