The Buffalo Bills Better Do What They Do Best Against Tampa Bay
The Buffalo Bills are now 7-5 and currently hold the seventh and final seed in the AFC playoff picture after their 14-10, Monday night loss to the New England Patriots.
The Bills only allows one big play to the Patriots (64-yard touchdown run to running back Damien Harris). New England only attempted three pass plays the entire game and ran the ball 46 times. If you take away the 64-yard run, the Patriots only averaged 3.5 yards per play.
The Bills offense moved the ball much better than expected with the 40 mph wind gusts, but had severe problems in the red zone. They only scored 10 of a possible 28 points on four red zone attempts.
It was clear the Bills tries to establish a run game against New England. The problem was it didn’t work and has not worked the vast majority of the season.
On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said that he and head coach Sean McDermott are on the same page offensively — they want to be “physical on offense and control the line of scrimmage.”
Some Bills fans (including myself) read that as McDermott desiring a more run-oriented game and Daboll obliging.
However, the Bills are playing a team on Sunday who lives for quick scores and high-scoring games in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Quarterback Tom Brady, along with receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Leornard Fournette, can move the ball up and down the field and effectively.
The Bucs defense is also good, especially against the run. They’ve allowed the second fewest yards on the ground in the NFL this season and one of the best front sevens (defensive line and linebackers) in the league.
Tampa Bay is middle of the pack for pass defense and considering how potent their offense is, the Bills absolutely cannot afford to try and run the ball. That could spell disaster and cause them to chase points.
The Bills problem isn’t they don’t have enough balance, it’s that they can’t run the ball efficiently. That also puts the passing game in a situation to get bigger plays on second and third down.
The Bills need to live and die by their passing game and use Josh Allen as much as humanly possible. I get how they look at the Colts and Patriots and want that for their team, but the Bills are built like the Kansas City Chiefs — they have to pass to be successful. Their run problems are both the offensive line and backs they have. That’s not fixable now, but rather, the off-season.
Let’s hope Josh Allen has the ball in his hands most of the game on Sunday.