'By design, the Bills' offense includes quite a few play-action passes as part of the basic philosophy of offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Both of the big throws to Clay followed play fakes and half-rollouts by Taylor.'
Archives for October 4, 2017
'There is a big difference between the 3-1 start the Bills have gotten off to when compared to a 2-2 record. Since 1990, when the NFL went to a 12-team playoff system, teams that went .500 over their first four games advanced to the playoffs 36.2 percent of the time. Teams that start 3-1 made it 64.1 percent of the time.'
'The Bills had waived Elston, whom they claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Browns, on Sept. 19. Thomas was with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2013 to 2016, and was with the New York Jets during the past offseason and preseason.'
'The women say that they were wrongly classified as “independent contractors” instead of team employees, and that they were not paid for performing at Bills games, or for hundreds of hours of practice time and charity work.'
'So in a real sense, Buffalo is the most distressed sports city in America. And while the Bills' drought began well before Terry and Kim Pegula came to town, the teams have traveled along parallel tracks of woe and dysfunction since they bought the Sabres six years ago.'
'Teammates Lorenzo Alexander, Colton Schmidt, Joe Webb, Robert Blanton, Reid Ferguson, Joe Banyard, Conor McDermott, Andre Holmes, Khari Lee, Orion Stewart and mascot Billy Buffalo joined Brown in running the clinic.'
'Tom McCarthy will handle the play-by-play and Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker and Steve Beuerlein.
'The Bills' feature back ran 15 pass routes and accumulated 32 yards, good for a 2.13 yards per route run number. Heading into Week Five, McCoy is averaging 1.96 yards per route run, which is the sixth-highest among 26 running backs who've run at least 60 routes so far this season. Remember, a season ago, McCoy averaged 1.39 yards per route run.'
'But also as Taylor has shown during his time in Western New York, he's been smart with the football and rather efficient when throwing it. He has just one interception on the season and is averaging 7.5 yards per attempt, the 10th-highest figure in football.'
'Taylor’s high passer rating this season is emphasized by his strong touchdown-to-interception rate of 5:1. Joining Joe Ferguson as the only Bills’ quarterbacks in franchise history to have at least five touchdown passes and no more than one interception thrown through the first four weeks of a given year – Ferguson accomplished this feat four times, in 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1979.'
'Only a 10 percent probability of isolated showers in the region. Likely rain-free.'
' Suddenly, the rest of Buffalo’s schedule has massaged itself into something that appears a lot less daunting than when the season kicked off. More like an Adirondack High Peak to climb instead of something you’d find in the Himalayas.'
'Clay is thriving early this season in Rick Dennison's tight end friendly offense.'
'Thomas is a new face for the Bills, but he played college football just down the road at Syracuse University. Thomas spent the first four seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Jets signed him this offseason but cut him prior to the start of the regular season.'
'While Buffalo was once a haven for SU products under former head coach Doug Marrone, Thomas becomes the lone Orange product on the team's roster. Assistant strength and conditioning coach Hal Luther and assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington will be familiar faces.'
'One. That's how many passing touchdowns the Bills have allowed through four games. It's no wonder Buffalo has allowed the fewest points per game and currently owns sole possession of first place in the AFC East.'
'Andy Dalton's struggled the first two weeks of the season, but he's shown signs of improvement in the last two weeks. In Week 3, Dalton completed 77.8 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was even better against the Browns. Dalton completed 83.3 percent of his passes for 286 yards and tossed four touchdowns.'
'"I cannot speak for any service members other than myself, but personally I believe it is disrespectful to our flag and to those who fought and died for it," Ortt said in a statement. "I fully support the freedom of speech and expression. But the moment that we all come together as a country and a people does not seem to be an appropriate moment for political protests by professional athletes."'
'Darn it, Buffalo, just when I was out, you pulled me back in.'
'Brown returns to Buffalo after being among the team's final cuts last month. The Bills (3-1) are in need of help at receiver with starter Jordan Matthews sidelined indefinitely after he broke his right thumb in a 23-17 win over Atlanta on Sunday.'
'Making the strong defensive start even more impressive is that the average drive for a Buffalo opponent has started on the 29.3-yard line; that may not seem all that great but it's actually the ninth-worst average defensive starting field position in the league. The Bills have made up for that field position by forcing turnovers. They have seven takeaways on 44 drives by their opponents, good for a 15.9 percent turnover rate that ranks fourth in the NFL. They've also clamped down defensively in the red zone, allowing only four touchdowns on opposing offenses' 12 trips inside their 20-yard line. That's the second-lowest red zone touchdown rate in the league.'
'There’s not an abundance of pass rushers on this roster, and for the Bills to keep winning the way they have, there must be. The Bills’ three wins are certainly legitimate, and remember that in their lone loss the defense gave up all of nine points to Carolina. But are those three wins also came against a Falcons team that was missing starting receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu in the second half (Atlanta’s backup receivers could not separate against Buffalo’s third down man coverage). Other wins were against the Broncos when Trevor Siemian had a second half meltdown and the Jets, who have receivers that our own Peter King could cover. (Not really, but you get the idea.)'
'Thomas is a former fourth round pick in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, mostly as a backup safety and special teams player and appeared in 48 games with the Steelers. Thomas signed with the New York Jets this past offseason, but was released before the start of the 2017 season.'
'Both Brown and Elston spent the entire summer with the Bills, and each player made the initial 53-man roster after the final cutdown day. Brown, however, was released after the Bills made other moves in the week leading up to the first game of the season.'
'It’s hard to imagine what this game could have been without Micah Hyde on the field for the Bills.'
'The Bills, the NFL, and Cumulus Radio Company – formerly Citadel Broadcasting – had appealed that decision in effort to stop the case from moving forward as a class action suit.'
'Bills fans at the airport wanted to talk about the game, a lot. To my surprise they didn’t want to discuss LeSean McCoy or the Bills defense or any player for that matter. They all wanted to talk about head coach Sean McDermott. While Sean wants the players to become addicted to the process… it seems the fans are becoming addicted to Sean McDermott.'
'The cheerleaders’ case will continue as a class action lawsuit, the Supreme Court Fourth Judicial Department Appellate Division ruled. The appellate court upheld a June 2016 decision from Erie County Supreme Court Justice Timothy Drury, certifying the former Jills’ lawsuit as a class action suit.'
'I want to believe that all of this means that the Bills are finally going in a positive direction, that the mediocrity and futility of the past are behind and that the new regime has finally turned the ship around. I want to believe that the Bills have a legitimate shot to take a huge developmental step this year and that Sean McDermott will be lauded as one of the rare coaches capable of coming in and almost immediately getting the most out of a team. Unfortunately, while things certainly do feel different with the team and the organization as a whole, I’ve seen far too many early season successes fizzle out and turn to middling final results.'
'To make room on the roster for Brown, Elston and Thomas, the Bills placed Anderson on injured reserve and released DE Eric Lee and S Robert Blanton.'
'The Bills also have a defense-minded coach in McDermott who simply has a long track record of success. While Sean McVay's work in rebuilding the Rams' offense has rightfully been lauded, it would be fair to similarly credit McDermott for immediately turning a defense which ranked 27th in DVOA last season into one that will likely top the DVOA charts after Week 4, even after the Bills lost a pair of Pro Bowlers — Stephon Gilmore and Zach Brown — this offseason. … The schedule gets tougher later in the season, but the Bills' defense is back.'
'Seeing Taylor has nothing but green grass out to his left, Jones quickly steps out to his right to cut off Taylor’s path. Buffalo’s quarterback gives Jones a hard jab step with his left foot to get the linebacker to lean outside and slips up inside of him. Still three yards behind the line of scrimmage, Taylor puts the after burners on as he has a rapidly closing window of space between Jones, who has turned to pursue him and CB Brandon Poole, who has peeled off his coverage assignment to assist.'
'“Sometimes it’s easier to do it from long distance than it is other places on the field. It’s just something about the visuals of what you got,” Hauschka said.'