Inside The Bills

AFC Wild Card race update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 11:21 pm

After last Monday night’s loss to the New England Patriots, the Bills playoff position slipped from the sixth and final Wild Card spot to eighth. Now after the loss to the Chiefs, they sit in the 10th position.

Buffalo’s loss dropped them to 5-6 on the season where they’ve got company with the Oakland Raiders, who sit ahead of them by virtue of their superior conference record (5-3) in the ninth position.

Ahead of the Bills right now are the following teams, who hold the following positions in the AFC conference standings.

Wild Card spots
5 – Kansas City (6-5) – conference record (5-2)
6 – Houston (6-5) – conference record (4-3)

In the hunt
7 – NY Jets (6-5) – conference record (5-4)
8 – Pittsburgh (6-5) – conference record (3-4)
9 – Oakland (5-6) – conference record (5-3)
10 – Buffalo (5-6) – conference record (5-5)

The Bills have only Houston (on Sunday) and the Jets (season finale) remaining to improve their conference record to 7-5, which is the best case scenario.

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Big plays allowed hurt Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 11:14 pm

The Bills play a lot of press coverage and that comes with a risk and reward. Sometimes they’re going to surrender big plays defensively. Buffalo has given up its fair share of plays in 20-29 yard range this season, but the big shots of 30 or more have been largely kept to a minimum until Sunday.

Through the first 10 games of the season Buffalo had not given up more than two plays of 30 yards or more in any one game. In fact in total the Bills defense had only surrendered 11 such plays all year.

On Sunday in Kansas City, the Bills gave up five plays of 30 yards or more. Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin had three of the five plays. Stephon Gilmore, who gave up the 32-yard play to Jeremy Maclin, said it’s tough lesson to learn the hard way.

“He made plays,” said Gilmore of Maclin. “They moved him all around, in the screen game, down the field he made plays. Alex Smith made some great throws. We gotta learn from it and take whatever we learn out on these teams coming.



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McCoy makes it five straight

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 10:45 pm

For the fifth straight game Bills feature back LeSean McCoy delivered more than 100 yards from scrimmage on Sunday in Kansas City. It’s the third five-game streak of his career and the 53rd time he’s eclipsed the century mark for yards from scrimmage.

McCoy rushed for 70 yards on 19 carries and had 31 yards on three receptions including a 10-yard touchdown reception.

Having done it 53 times now puts him in a tie with Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles for fourth among active NFL players with games of 100 or more scrimmage yards. Here’s a list of the players ahead of him.

Player, Current Team Games over 100
1              Adrian Peterson – MIN                   69
2              Frank Gore – IND                            67
3              Matt Forte – CHI                              63
T4           Jamaal Charles – KC                        53
T4           LeSean McCoy – BUF               53

Going into the game McCoy needed just 98 yards to reach 10,000 career yards from scrimmage. McCoy is now the sixth active NFL running back to reach 10,000 scrimmage yards.

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Rex on ball spot challenge & calls that merited challenges

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 6:33 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan had his share of calls on the field to challenge in the loss to the Chiefs Sunday. The spot of the ball for a first down on an Alex Smith scramble, the Chris Hogan reception that was ruled incomplete in the fourth quarter and the Jeremy Maclin 37-yard catch where the ball appeared to make contact with the ground. Here was his take on the Taylor fourth down carry and spot of the ball and the other plays.

“Obviously you lean on the guys up top when they’re showing the video. They weren’t showing the video on the screen for some reason, so you lean on them,” said Ryan. “Sometimes you take chances. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. At the end of the game, that was my decision 100 percent to challenge it. [I challenged it] for the simple fact that I thought it was, game on the line, it was close. I knew it was close whether Tyrod was in or out. It looked like he was inbounds. I wasn’t sure where the ball was, but at that time, they weren’t exactly showing it on there, so I had to take my chance, and that was my call all the way.”

As for not challenging the Hogan catch-no catch, the Maclin reception and the Alex Smith ball spot, Ryan again pointed to the fact that the video replays were very limited in Kansas City’s stadium.

“Right, but again, with that I had one challenge left on a couple of those. The 37-yarder, I wasn’t aware of it because again, I wasn’t seeing the video on it, so from my vantage point, I thought he caught the ball,” said Ryan.
“That was from my vantage point. Obviously, I would have challenged it if I knew there was any question whatsoever on a 37-yard play because it flipped the game. We were in complete control of that game, and then they threw some balls over our head, so obviously I would have challenged. The Hogan one was a bang-bang play. I never thought it was going to be reversed, so that’s why [I didn’t challenge it]. I thought he caught it, but I was like, ‘I think it’s too close to call whether he had or not,’ and so I wasn’t going to do it then.”

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Robey flagged for same call by same crew

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 6:27 pm

With two minutes left in the first half Bills CB Nickell Robey was flagged for pass interference on a play down the middle of the field when it appeared that Robey was trailing the Chiefs’ intended WR Jason Avant. The penalty cost the Bills 25 yards and set up 1st-and-10 for the Chiefs at the Buffalo 41-yard line. One play later Kansas City was in the end zone on a 41-yard pass play from Alex Smith to Jeremy Maclin. What was unfortunate was it was the same officiating crew that called him for pass inteference in Week 7 in London on a 3rd-and-15 play at the Jaguars 47-yard line that kept a Jacksonville drive alive, which led to the game-winning touchdown two plays later.

“I didn’t like it again,” said Robey. “Again I think it was a bad call. We’ll see Tuesday. I’ll see the film and I’ll see if it was pass interference. I didn’t think it was pass interference. I felt there was some contact, but I wasn’t holding him or anything. I was running down the field and I looked up for the ball, stuck my hand out and did the best I could. I felt the ball was overthrown actually. They had a different opinion about it. So again I was disappointed about the call, but just had to keep playing football.”

Terry McAulay’s crew flagged the Bills for 10 penalties in the Jacksonville game and flagged Buffalo for nine more penalties on Sunday in the loss to Kansas City.


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Who to root for today

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 12:59 pm

The Bills are one of five teams that are 5-5 entering today’s slate of Week 12 games. Buffalo obviously helps their cause greatly with a win over the 5-5 Chiefs in Kansas City today. Here’s what else would help Buffalo’s cause.

A New Orleans win at Houston would be a big help as it would drop the Texans to 5-6 on the season in advance of Houston’s Week 13 game at Buffalo. Unfortunately it will have no impact on their 4-3 AFC conference record.

A Miami win over the Jets would be beneficial because it would drop New York to 5-6 and 4-5 in the conference. Miami’s record would improve to 5-6, but with Buffalo’s season sweep of the Dolphins they’re less of a threat.

A Seattle win over Pittsburgh would drop the Steelers to 6-5 on the year, which drop them behind Buffalo in the conference playoff standings if the Bills can post a win today, by virtue of a superior conference record. The Seahawks are playing at home today.

A Tampa Bay win at Indianapolis would help on Monday night. Indianapolis is currently the AFC South leader, but that could change based on the outcome of the games today. The Bills have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Colts.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Chiefs RB West inactive 

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 11:38 am

Here are the inactives for the Chiefs in their home game against the Bills today, which includes RB Charcandrick West. 

G Ben Grubbs
DE Allen Bailey
LB Dee Ford
WR De’Anthony Thomas
RB Charcandrick West 
DT David King

QB Aaron Murray

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Bills inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 11:32 am

Here are the Bills inactives for today’s game against the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

DE Mario Williams
DT Kyle Williams
G Ryan Groy
G John Miller
WR Marcus Easley
QB Josh Johnson
OT Cyrus Kouandjio

Posted in Inside the Bills

Defending Chiefs’ screen game a key

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 11:00 am

Bills head coach Rex Ryan has had his matchups with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid over the years. So he wasn’t the least bit surprised in looking at Kansas City game film to see a cornucopia of screen plays from the Chiefs offense.

“Screens are going to be huge in this game. That’s a thing that we have not defended the screen well this year,” said Ryan. “They’ll get you on the perimeter with the wide outs, tight end screens, bubble screens. Running back screens.  Screens of all kinds-we have to do a great job on that.”

Bills DE Jerry Hughes says he and his teammates are aware of it and will be mindful of not getting fooled into thinking they’ve got a clean shot at the QB, and recognize that it’s a screen play.

“You’ve just got to have all 11 guys run to the football,” Hughes said. “We’ve got to accountable for that extra guy on the field. We’ve got to just find a way to get to him, play smart and play heads up football.”


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Report: Chiefs RB Ware to start

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 10:26 am

Chiefs starting RB Charcandrick West is questionable for today’s game with a hamstring injury. Even if he dresses for today’s game he’s not going to start.

According to’s Ian Rapoport, Kansas City will start Spencer Ware at running back and backup RB Knile Davis will also be active for the game today.


Ware ran for 96 yards last week and a pair of touchdowns in the Chiefs blowout win over San Diego.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Boobie loves the haters

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 10:15 am

Bills RB Boobie Dixon is never one to pass up a challenge. Today in Kansas City he and his teammates will not only be dealing with the Chiefs, but the renowned crowd noise at Arrowhead Stadium. Dixon, who has been to Kansas City a few times in his career relishes being the villain.

“I like it Arrowhead man. They’ve got a lot of noise, but they got the little chant thing they got going,” said Dixon. “It’s pretty cool. It kind of works against them when I step in there because I like it and it pumps me up. So I’m looking forward to going down there and getting the ‘W.’”

Dixon recalls it getting pretty bad a few times when he’s traveled to Kansas City.

“I love road games and going on the road and seeing all the bad signs and the bad sign language,” said Dixon. “Everybody is shooting you the birds when you walk in the stadium. That’s fun stuff man, I get pumped up from that stuff so I can’t wait to pull in.”

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Don’t sleep on Chiefs special teams

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2015 – 9:37 am

The Kansas City defense is what grabs a lot of the headlines for the Chiefs. They rank in the top 10 in 10 different defensive categories. But their special teams have fared pretty well too. They don’t rank nearly as high in certain special teams categories as their defense, but if there is one strength of Kansas City’s unit it’s speed.

“Their coverage teams they’ve got a lot of fast guys, some speed down the field, so we’ll have to deal with that,” said Chris Hogan, who plays on kick coverage and punt coverage. “We’ll have good returns in. A lot of the special teams is execution. So I think our special teams and the guys that we have, our core guys, I think we step up to the challenge when a team like Kansas City which has a good record as a special teams. Whether it’s kickoff return, punt return all that kind of stuff. We’ll have to watch some film and focus in on who their playmakers are and who we need to key on and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that.”


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Chiefs add WR to roster

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2015 – 5:08 pm

The Kansas City Chiefs made a roster move a day prior to their game with the Bills. 

The Chiefs added WR Frankie Hammond promoting him from their practice squad. 

To make room for him on the roster they waived DB Saalim Hakim. 

Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: I now know what our ‘D’ should be

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2015 – 3:25 pm

At the outset of the season head coach Rex Ryan tried to combine his defensive system with some of what worked so successfully for the Bills defensive unit last season. The results were mixed through much of the first half of the season. Now headed down the stretch Ryan has swung the majority of the defensive scheme to what Ryan’s schemes have always been about, which is a myriad of blitz packages and simulated pressures. To his credit Ryan admits now that he probably tried to make everybody on defense happy coming in the door knowing the unit was very successful last year.

“I made a mistake in trying to tie in what was effective the year before, running similar defenses to what they did the year before, but to me, especially when you play New England, that’s probably not the way to go, obviously evident by our Week Two performance,” said Ryan. “I knew better. I was sitting back there telling [defensive coordinator] Dennis Thurman, ‘I know better,’ and I should have taken that approach instead of saying, ‘Hey, we have this talent. We can do this. This is what we know how to do.’

“Well right now, this is our defense, and this is what we’ll be moving forward. And each game is different. This game, they’re going to screen you a zillion times. They run all kinds of different things. The quarterback is different. I’m not saying he’s Tom Brady. He’s not, but he runs. There are different challenges on each opponent, so will it look exactly like it did this week? I doubt it. Do we think we’ll be effective? Absolutely.”


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How to handle a hot team on the road

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2015 – 1:06 pm

The Bills are headed into an environment they know will be electric on Sunday. The Chiefs haven’t played a home game in almost a month and Arrowhead Stadium is one of the noisier venues in the NFL. Add in the fact that Kansas City has won four straight and you quickly realize what the Bills are up against. So how do they intend to keep a hot Chiefs team from building some early momentum and the crowd from becoming a major factor in the game?

Here are some of the responses we got in the Bills locker room this week.

Chris Hogan
“Don’t make mistakes and make plays when they come. Especially in an away game, dealing with crowd noise and everything. Those big plays and not making any mistakes really silences the crowd and it limits their interaction and their ability to have an impact on how we play as an offense. Hopefully we’ll be able to make some big plays, limit the crowd noise and get a good tempo going on offense.”

Sammy Watkins
“Put up points. Make them play and adjust to you. We shouldn’t have to go out there and adjust our plays or change our calls to those guys. We’ve got to make those guys play us and do what we want to do and run the ball or pass the ball.”

Boobie Dixon
“We’ve just got to hit them in the mouth. Go down there and be physical. Just hit them in the mouth and make them blink and make them do something they haven’t been doing during this hot streak. Make them flinch and we’ll be alright.”


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Short week forces mental focus

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2015 – 10:16 am

With another short week for the Bills head coach Rex Ryan and his staff had to rely largely on walk through practice sessions and mental reps to allow the players’ bodies to recover in time for Sunday’s game at Kansas City. As Ryan sees it there are positives and negatives for the team in a practice week like this.

“In a way this has been good for us,” said Ryan. “We’ve had a ton of reps, walk through reps, so mentally we’re on top of the game plan. But when you do this you’re kind of at risk with the execution and timing. But we feel good about where we’re at mentally and we’ll be fresh going into this game.”

Buffalo had to take a similar approach leading up to the game against the Jets on Thursday night. They didn’t practice in pads or at full speed that week either, and though they won that game, their timing, particularly in the passing game was affected (see: first play deep ball – Taylor to Watkins).

Hopefully having been through this kind of a week just two weeks ago will give the team some experience in replacing physical reps with mental ones to get ready for a game.

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RB West, TE Kelce both questionable for Chiefs

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2015 – 4:40 pm

UBNS image




The Bills already know they’ll be without four regulars on Sunday in Kansas City with Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, John Miller and Marcus Easley all out. The Chiefs could be without two of their bigger playmakers Sunday as well.

Starting RB Charcandrick West and TE Travis Kelce, who leads the team in all receiving categories, are both questionable with hamstring and groin/ankle injuries. West has been dealing with a hamstring injury all week and has not practiced all week. If he can’t go Spencer Ware would start in his place.

Kelce was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but was limited Friday and was also listed as questionable.

“Travis Kelce tweaked his ankle a little bit and we sent him in, but we think he’s going to be okay as we go,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

Player Pos. Injury Participation Friday Friday Status
Ben Grubbs G Neck Out Out
Allen Bailey DE Calf DNP Out
Dee Ford LB Back DNP Out
De’Anthony Thomas WR Concussion DNP Out
Charcandrick West RB Hamstring DNP Questionable
Mike DeVito DE Shoulder FP Probable
Jamell Fleming CB Hamstring FP Probable
Tamba Hali LB Knee DNP Probable
Travis Kelce TE Groin / Ankle LP Questionable
Brian Parker TE Ankle/Back FP Probable
Ramik Wilson LB Ankle FP Probable
Chris Conley WR Hand FP Probable

Posted in Inside the Bills

Rex: Tyrod Taylor ready to roll

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2015 – 1:16 pm

The Bills will be missing a few of their regulars on Sunday in Kansas City, but the good news is they’ll have their starting quarterback in the lineup.

There was some doubt coming out of the Bills Monday night game in New England as to whether Tyrod Taylor’s throwing shoulder would be fit enough for him to perform this Sunday at Arrowhead.

Taylor was limited in practice this week, but was throwing more on Friday and head coach Rex Ryan provided an update on how his quarterback is feeling after he was listed as probable for the game.

“Tyrod is ready to roll,” said Ryan. “He’s throwing the ball. We actually went a full speed period so we could start throwing the ball more and try to get that tempo and timing for a little bit. But he’s good to go.”

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Mario could miss more than this week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2015 – 1:09 pm

It came as no surprise. Marcus Easley, John Miller, Kyle Williams and Mario Williams were all unable to practice this week and come Friday all four were declared out for Sunday’s game at Kansas City.

Head coach Rex Ryan confirmed their playing status following practice Friday. Ryan also said that Mario Williams could miss more than this week with his foot injury.

“That’s a possibility, but the good news is (Mario’s injury) is not a season ending one,” said Ryan. “Could he possibly miss another week? Yes, it’s a possibility, but we hope not and we’re doing everything we can to get him back.”

Kyle Williams – knee
Mario Williams – foot
John Miller – ankle
Marcus Easley – concussion

QB Tyrod Taylor – right shoulder
DT Marcell Dareus – knee
S Bacarri Rambo – shoulder

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Fan Friday 11-27

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2015 – 1:03 pm

We’re getting pretty close to do or die time and the Chiefs game at Arrowhead on Sunday is step one. Here are your latest questions from email at and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you think Tyrod is “the guy” or should the bills draft a qb in the first round until they find him?


CB: I would still like to see him play more before passing judgment. Perfect example is last Monday’s game his accuracy was off for the first time this season. Was that an aberration or is there more to it? We don’t know because we haven’t seen enough of Tyrod.

I do believe the greatest concern with Taylor is his ability to stay healthy and in the lineup. We’ve already seen two injuries with him this season. One cost him a pair of starts in Week 6 & 7. The other is the one he’s currently dealing with.

Make no mistakes about it. Taylor is as tough as they come. The question is can his physical frame withstand the punishment that quarterbacks typically take over the course of a 16-game season?

That’s to be determined. Even if Taylor finishes the season strong, I’m a proponent of drafting a quarterback every year. It’s the most important position in football so why wouldn’t you try to ensure you’re strong at that position by drafting one there every year?

I’m not saying round one necessarily, but just like everyone says you can never have enough cornerbacks, I think the same applies to QB.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills what possibility of re-signing the gilly lock to an extension and is Mario a fit for Rex’s scheme may need cap room and waive


CB: The Bills did buy some time with Stephon Gilmore by picking up his fifth-year option, so he’s not a free agent until 2017, but it’s my belief that Gilmore is priority number one when it comes to locking up players long term. Whether that happens this offseason or just prior to the 2016 season remains to be seen.

As for Mario Williams he has the skill set to play in any defensive scheme. Your cap room query however, is valid. His cap figure is very high and there is substantial savings that could be had if he is waived or if he agrees to restructure. More on that in the answer below.

3 –

How do you think the future free agents on the team are doing? Cordy Glenn is having a very good year. What are the odds they can keep him? How much is he a priority over someone like Bradham is having a down year? I know they probably can’t keep everyone but keeping a good tackle long term seems like a good option given they haven’t been too stable on either side on the line in years. What would it cost? Do you expect a ‘hometown discount’ for Incognito too? Given that some teams may not want him still. How much flexibility do they have to do so?

CB: Their flexibility is likely to be rooted in what they decide to do with some cost prohibitive contracts on the roster. Chief among them Mario Williams. His cap figure next season is $19.9M. That will need to be addressed before the team reaches free agency. Both linebacker and offensive tackle are thin positions in terms of experienced depth, so it will be interesting to see how they choose to prioritize Bradham and Glenn.

The team is also going to have to re-sign Richie Incognito, who will be a priority for the offensive line, and no I would not expect Incognito to be willing to take a hometown discount, especially since it’s likely to be his last NFL contract.


4 – Hi Chris,

First off thanks for the Fan Fridays! I enjoys reading other fans questions and your insight to them.

My questions is about the health and return of Aaron Williams. I haven’t seen anything reported about him other than he was up in a box cheering on his teammates during the jets game. Has he recovered from his neck injury? With the activation of McKelvin can he still return to playing this season? (although with Rambo and Cory playing well we are not falling apart without him)

Recently Displaced Bills fan now in DC,
CB: Williams has attended each of the Bills last two road games. He was placed on short term I-R. He’ll be eligible to return for the Eagles game in Week 14 at the earliest. Whether he does or does not is solely up to the team’s medical staff.


5 – Chris;
Bud Grant had a saying, too many “fan in the stands penalties” and plays. He could bring in any fan from the stands to line up off sides etc. When u get down to it, off sides, holding , dropped passes, punts, over and under thrown passes etc., any fan can make those plays.
Am I being too critical ??
Too many miscues keep us from winning. What are ur thoughts ??

Jim in Florida

CB: I think there were too many miscues last week. Unfortunately it doesn’t take much when facing the Patriots, one of the most consistent teams in the league when it comes to execution. Their defense had just one or two poor plays, but played well enough to win. The offense and special teams units could not say the same in that game.

What’s interesting is the prevailing theme in the locker room this week was just executing the game plan more effectively. We’ll see if it can happen Sunday in KC.

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Posted in Inside the Bills