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Bills offense compared to 2020 by the numbers, and they may shock you.


FireChans
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So 2020 was a great offensive season by the Bills. Wonderful, exciting, electric, whatever you want to call it.

 

We can all agree the 2021 offense has its moments where it feels like a continuation of 2020 and moments where it feels like we are back in 2019. But what do the numbers say?

 

1. We are actually better at running the ball this year.

 

Last year, the Bills were 17th in attempts, 20th in yards, 15th in TD's and 20th in YPA.

 

This year, we are 17th in attempts, 11th in yards, 9th in TD's and 9th in YPA.

 

Some of this may be explained by Josh running a bit more (he's averaging 34 YPG compared to 28 last season, but on a similar number of attempts per game 6.4 to 6.3), but the fact remains, we are better at running.

 

2. We are worse through the air this year.

 

Last year, 11th in attempts, 3rd in TD's, 3rd in yards, 9th in INT's and 4th in NY/A

 

This year, 8th in attempts, 3rd in TD's, 7th in yards, 24th in INT's, and 10th in NY/A.

 

A lot of this is Josh, statistically. He is across the board less efficient and more TO prone compared to last season. Still playing great, still one of the best young QB's in the NFL, but not 2020 Josh.

 

3. On the whole, we are not much different than last year.

 

I have long held the belief that the best statistic to judge a unit to their peers is their "per drive" stats. Not as prone to confabulation due to the defense creating opportunities for the offense etc. 

 

Last year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 15th in TO percentage, 5th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 3rd in points per drive.

 

This year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 12th in TO percentage, 14th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 2nd in points per drive.

 

Outside of the huge difference in time per drive (which may be related to sheer number of possessions due to a great defense), we are still a very similar offense per drive. We score often, we are efficient, we get a lot of yards and we get a lot of points. Our TO% is actually better despite our INT number climbing, likely due to less fumbling overall.

 

Conclusions? Josh is just not as sharp as he was last year, but overall he is still playing great football and leading a great offense, an offense that by the numbers is just as good as the one last year.

 

The variance we are seeing from Josh is not really uncommon, even among the historically great. Last year, Aaron Rodgers threw for 48 TDs. This year, through 11 games, he has thrown for only 23, which will likely place him in the mid 30's as a season total trendwise. His passer rating is a full 17 points less this year compared to last year.

 

The great QB's have good years, and great years, and insane years. We aren't in an insane year for Josh. We are in a great year. And our offense continues to remain great.

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42 minutes ago, FireChans said:

3. On the whole, we are not much different than last year.

 

I have long held the belief that the best statistic to judge a unit to their peers is their "per drive" stats. Not as prone to confabulation due to the defense creating opportunities for the offense etc. 

 

Last year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 15th in TO percentage, 5th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 3rd in points per drive.

 

This year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 12th in TO percentage, 14th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 2nd in points per drive.

 

 

Most of this doesn't surprise me.   Like you, I'm a fan of per-drive stats.  The O can't control how many drives they get a game.  But they can control what they do with those drives.


And that leads me to the one stat that did surprise me:  points per drive.  We're actually ranked a bit higher this year than last year.

 

My overall feeling as a simple fan who watches all the games is that the Bills D is better this year but the offense - while still capable of scoring in bunches - is, overall, less efficient and consistent than last year.  Not all the stats agree with my assessment.  

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These ‘this year ranks compared to last years ranks’ are difficult, because the rest of the NFL has changed too. Just because we were 7th in something last year and are 11th this year, doesn’t mean we’ve gotten less efficient. Are we better rushing, worse passing, or are teams playing the offense different?

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6 minutes ago, hondo in seattle said:

 

Most of this doesn't surprise me.   Like you, I'm a fan of per-drive stats.  The O can't control how many drives they get a game.  But they can control what they do with those drives.


And that leads me to the one stat that did surprise me:  points per drive.  We're actually ranked a bit higher this year than last year.

 

My overall feeling as a simple fan who watches all the games is that the Bills D is better this year but the offense - while still capable of scoring in bunches - is, overall, less efficient and consistent than last year.  Not all the stats agree with my assessment.  

 

I think for the very very most part where the d has been so much better this year is getting teams behind the chains. That's what made the Colts game so stark to me, there was a stretch there where Colts didn't have a 2nd and 7+ for a long stretch.

 

I remember they had that one sequence where they finally stuffed them on a first down run, got it to third and long, got a stop and then they had a penalty that gave a first down. Then a nice first down run, they scored and it was kind of over from then on. I think that was the drive that really put a ton of pressure on the bills to have to score each drive from there out.

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6 minutes ago, TheyCallMeAndy said:

These ‘this year ranks compared to last years ranks’ are difficult, because the rest of the NFL has changed too. Just because we were 7th in something last year and are 11th this year, doesn’t mean we’ve gotten less efficient. Are we better rushing, worse passing, or are teams playing the offense different?

I completely disagree. You need to compare to the other teams in the NFL, otherwise, the numbers don't mean much.

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2 hours ago, FireChans said:

So 2020 was a great offensive season by the Bills. Wonderful, exciting, electric, whatever you want to call it.

 

We can all agree the 2021 offense has its moments where it feels like a continuation of 2020 and moments where it feels like we are back in 2019. But what do the numbers say?

 

1. We are actually better at running the ball this year.

 

Last year, the Bills were 17th in attempts, 20th in yards, 15th in TD's and 20th in YPA.

 

This year, we are 17th in attempts, 11th in yards, 9th in TD's and 9th in YPA.

 

Some of this may be explained by Josh running a bit more (he's averaging 34 YPG compared to 28 last season, but on a similar number of attempts per game 6.4 to 6.3), but the fact remains, we are better at running.

 

2. We are worse through the air this year.

 

Last year, 11th in attempts, 3rd in TD's, 3rd in yards, 9th in INT's and 4th in NY/A

 

This year, 8th in attempts, 3rd in TD's, 7th in yards, 24th in INT's, and 10th in NY/A.

 

A lot of this is Josh, statistically. He is across the board less efficient and more TO prone compared to last season. Still playing great, still one of the best young QB's in the NFL, but not 2020 Josh.

 

3. On the whole, we are not much different than last year.

 

I have long held the belief that the best statistic to judge a unit to their peers is their "per drive" stats. Not as prone to confabulation due to the defense creating opportunities for the offense etc. 

 

Last year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 15th in TO percentage, 5th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 3rd in points per drive.

 

This year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 12th in TO percentage, 14th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 2nd in points per drive.

 

Outside of the huge difference in time per drive (which may be related to sheer number of possessions due to a great defense), we are still a very similar offense per drive. We score often, we are efficient, we get a lot of yards and we get a lot of points. Our TO% is actually better despite our INT number climbing, likely due to less fumbling overall.

 

Conclusions? Josh is just not as sharp as he was last year, but overall he is still playing great football and leading a great offense, an offense that by the numbers is just as good as the one last year.

 

The variance we are seeing from Josh is not really uncommon, even among the historically great. Last year, Aaron Rodgers threw for 48 TDs. This year, through 11 games, he has thrown for only 23, which will likely place him in the mid 30's as a season total trendwise. His passer rating is a full 17 points less this year compared to last year.

 

The great QB's have good years, and great years, and insane years. We aren't in an insane year for Josh. We are in a great year. And our offense continues to remain great.

 

Ranks are one thing...what are the actual stats is the better question.  Ranks only are in relation to the other teams, doesn't actually show if we are running for more yards per game than last year or throwing for more yards per game, etc.

 

I bring it up, because Josh passing stats are actually better in most categories this year compared to last year.  Yet your "ranks" suggest we are producing less through the air.  Josh has more passing yards and more passing TD's than he had last year at this time for instance and more passing yards per game.

1 hour ago, FireChans said:

I completely disagree. You need to compare to the other teams in the NFL, otherwise, the numbers don't mean much.

 

Hard disagree on this one.

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16 minutes ago, Alphadawg7 said:

 

Ranks are one thing...what are the actual stats is the better question.  Ranks only are in relation to the other teams, doesn't actually show if we are running for more yards per game than last year or throwing for more yards per game, etc.

 

I bring it up, because Josh passing stats are actually better in most categories this year compared to last year.  Yet your "ranks" suggest we are producing less through the air.  Josh has more passing yards and more passing TD's than he had last year at this time for instance and more passing yards per game.

 

Hard disagree on this one.

Josh is unequivocally less efficient this year compared to last year. Across the board.

1 hour ago, hondo in seattle said:

 

Most of this doesn't surprise me.   Like you, I'm a fan of per-drive stats.  The O can't control how many drives they get a game.  But they can control what they do with those drives.


And that leads me to the one stat that did surprise me:  points per drive.  We're actually ranked a bit higher this year than last year.

 

My overall feeling as a simple fan who watches all the games is that the Bills D is better this year but the offense - while still capable of scoring in bunches - is, overall, less efficient and consistent than last year.  Not all the stats agree with my assessment.  

I think that's the interesting thing. I would have bet money that our per-drive stats would have all been worse, but its incredible. how similar it is.

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1 hour ago, FireChans said:

Josh is unequivocally less efficient this year compared to last year. Across the board.

 

Except that is not statistically true.  He is literally better in more categories than he is worse compared to last year.  His comp % is down just 2 points, mostly from the first few weeks of the season and he has 2 more INTs.  But he has more yards, more yards per game, more TD's, less sacks, better TD%, etc.    And he is running better this year at a much better YPC too.

 

Sorry, just venting about him doesn't make it true.  Josh is pretty on par or better with last year through 11 games.  The biggest difference in perception is the two bad games played by the WHOLE team against Jags and Colts being in everyones recent memories.  

 

The bigger truth is that our team has consistently shot itself in the foot too many times this year with dumb mistakes and penalties on both sides of the ball.  Literally would have been undefeated going into the Colts game had we not killed ourselves against Pitt, Titans and Jags.  Even the Colts game got out of hand because of our own mistakes.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Man with No Name said:

I think we looked like this last year, and then in December we had some of our most ridiculous games to put the stats over the top. 

Off the top of my head, San Fran, Pittsburgh, Denver, Miami and New England were all near the end...and we put up NUMBERS. 

I agree with you to a point and yes all the games listed above were towards the end of the year starting with SF was on a Monday night 12/7/20 pretty similar to this game 12/6/21 and that SF game is the game that set the tone for the rest of the year.  Josh went off 

J. Allen (BUF), 40-32-375, 0 INT, 4 TD hopefully he will have a similar stat line this Monday night (the most important is 0 INT) and that was against a pretty good defense.  

 

As for my thoughts I think this year feels different because we haven't stacked wins even when Josh isn't playing his best we aren't winning like last year.  I mean the first time we played the Patriots last year in BUF Josh didn't have a great game J. Allen (BUF), 18-11-154, 1 INT, 0 TD

Nor did Josh have a great game against the Chargers

J. Allen (BUF), 24-18-157, 1 INT, 1 TD

Both games the Bills won.  They haven't been able to do that this year...win when Josh plays bad.  If they had two more wins I.e. Pitt and Jax this conversation would be totally different.  

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27 minutes ago, Alphadawg7 said:

 

Except that is not statistically true.  He is literally better in more categories than he is worse compared to last year.  His comp % is down just 2 points, mostly from the first few weeks of the season and he has 2 more INTs.  But he has more yards, more yards per game, more TD's, less sacks, better TD%, etc.    And he is running better this year at a much better YPC too.

 

Sorry, just venting about him doesn't make it true.  Josh is pretty on par or better with last year through 11 games.  The biggest difference in perception is the two bad games played by the WHOLE team against Jags and Colts being in everyones recent memories.  

 

The bigger truth is that our team has consistently shot itself in the foot too many times this year with dumb mistakes and penalties on both sides of the ball.  Literally would have been undefeated going into the Colts game had we not killed ourselves against Pitt, Titans and Jags.  Even the Colts game got out of hand because of our own mistakes.

 

 

2021 vs. 2021, huh Sal?

 

Interesting analysis. 

 

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Alphadawg7 said:

 

Except that is not statistically true.  He is literally better in more categories than he is worse compared to last year.  His comp % is down just 2 points, mostly from the first few weeks of the season and he has 2 more INTs.  But he has more yards, more yards per game, more TD's, less sacks, better TD%, etc.    And he is running better this year at a much better YPC too.

 

Sorry, just venting about him doesn't make it true.  Josh is pretty on par or better with last year through 11 games.  The biggest difference in perception is the two bad games played by the WHOLE team against Jags and Colts being in everyones recent memories.  

 

The bigger truth is that our team has consistently shot itself in the foot too many times this year with dumb mistakes and penalties on both sides of the ball.  Literally would have been undefeated going into the Colts game had we not killed ourselves against Pitt, Titans and Jags.  Even the Colts game got out of hand because of our own mistakes.

Yes it is. He has a worse completion percentage, worse TD%, worse INT%, worse YPA. It's why despite his "more yards per game" he has a passer rating ~8 points lower than last season. He is less efficient than last season, point blank, period.

 

image.thumb.png.43284a0cd8ed29755a2fae394d0b79e0.png

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7 minutes ago, Nextmanup said:

2021 vs. 2021, huh Sal?

 

Interesting analysis. 

 

 

 

 

 

He said in comments clearly he meant 2020 vs 2021 and chart shows 2020 vs 2021

 

3 minutes ago, FireChans said:

Yes it is. He has a worse completion percentage, worse TD%, worse INT%, worse YPA. It's why despite his "more yards per game" he has a passer rating ~8 points lower than last season. He is less efficient than last season, point blank, period.

 

image.thumb.png.43284a0cd8ed29755a2fae394d0b79e0.png

 

No its not.   He is literally better in 5 categories and slightly worse in 4.  Not to mention, hes a better runner this year too.  

 

You just said he is worse in TD%, yet hes better.  Its like you didnt even read it.

 

And you said he was unequivocally less efficient, implying its a drastic change...when its not.  He is barely lower in those areas, just like hes barely higher in others...so in other words, he is pretty on par with last year.  Not drastically worse like you would like people to believe.

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5 minutes ago, Alphadawg7 said:

 

He said in comments clearly he meant 2020 vs 2021 and chart shows 2020 vs 2021

 

 

No its not.   He is literally better in 5 categories and slightly worse in 4.  Not to mention, hes a better runner this year too.  

 

You just said he is worse in TD%, yet hes better.  Its like you didnt even read it.

 

And you said he was unequivocally less efficient, implying its a drastic change...when its not.  He is barely lower in those areas, just like hes barely higher in others...so in other words, he is pretty on par with last year.  Not drastically worse like you would like people to believe.

I literally linked the stat page.

 

5 minutes ago, Alphadawg7 said:

He has a worse completion percentage, worse TD%, worse INT%, worse YPA.

I wrote this.

 

It's all true. I'm sorry.

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16 minutes ago, FireChans said:

Yes it is. He has a worse completion percentage, worse TD%, worse INT%, worse YPA. It's why despite his "more yards per game" he has a passer rating ~8 points lower than last season. He is less efficient than last season, point blank, period.

 

image.thumb.png.43284a0cd8ed29755a2fae394d0b79e0.png

 

How is the TD% worse? It's better. 

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These types of comparisons are much less meaningful in football with such a small number of games compared to baseball, basketball, and hockey.  That is why analytics has not had as much success as it has in the other sports.

 

Last year most of the front-loaded while this year it is back-loaded.  That has to be accounted for in any comparison of the first 11 games this year vs. last year.  

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4 hours ago, FireChans said:

So 2020 was a great offensive season by the Bills. Wonderful, exciting, electric, whatever you want to call it.

 

We can all agree the 2021 offense has its moments where it feels like a continuation of 2020 and moments where it feels like we are back in 2019. But what do the numbers say?

 

1. We are actually better at running the ball this year.

 

Last year, the Bills were 17th in attempts, 20th in yards, 15th in TD's and 20th in YPA.

 

This year, we are 17th in attempts, 11th in yards, 9th in TD's and 9th in YPA.

 

Some of this may be explained by Josh running a bit more (he's averaging 34 YPG compared to 28 last season, but on a similar number of attempts per game 6.4 to 6.3), but the fact remains, we are better at running.

 

2. We are worse through the air this year.

 

Last year, 11th in attempts, 3rd in TD's, 3rd in yards, 9th in INT's and 4th in NY/A

 

This year, 8th in attempts, 3rd in TD's, 7th in yards, 24th in INT's, and 10th in NY/A.

 

A lot of this is Josh, statistically. He is across the board less efficient and more TO prone compared to last season. Still playing great, still one of the best young QB's in the NFL, but not 2020 Josh.

 

3. On the whole, we are not much different than last year.

 

I have long held the belief that the best statistic to judge a unit to their peers is their "per drive" stats. Not as prone to confabulation due to the defense creating opportunities for the offense etc. 

 

Last year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 15th in TO percentage, 5th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 3rd in points per drive.

 

This year, Bills offense 2nd in score percentage, 12th in TO percentage, 14th in time of possession, 10th in plays per drive (an admittedly stat missing in utility due to scoring fast not being particularly bad), 4th in yards per drive, and 2nd in points per drive.

 

Outside of the huge difference in time per drive (which may be related to sheer number of possessions due to a great defense), we are still a very similar offense per drive. We score often, we are efficient, we get a lot of yards and we get a lot of points. Our TO% is actually better despite our INT number climbing, likely due to less fumbling overall.

 

Conclusions? Josh is just not as sharp as he was last year, but overall he is still playing great football and leading a great offense, an offense that by the numbers is just as good as the one last year.

 

The variance we are seeing from Josh is not really uncommon, even among the historically great. Last year, Aaron Rodgers threw for 48 TDs. This year, through 11 games, he has thrown for only 23, which will likely place him in the mid 30's as a season total trendwise. His passer rating is a full 17 points less this year compared to last year.

 

The great QB's have good years, and great years, and insane years. We aren't in an insane year for Josh. We are in a great year. And our offense continues to remain great.

Nice writeup interesting stuff.

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