Inside The Bills

Stats that stood out

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2016 – 8:27 pm

Bengals third down conversions 1st half: 6-for-8 (75%)
Bengals third down conversions 2nd half: 2-for-7 (28.5%)
Bills penalties 1st half: 8 for 70 yards
Bills penalties 2nd half: 1 for 5 yards
LeSean McCoy yards per carry average before injury: 6.6
Gillislee, Taylor, J. Williams yards per carry average: 5.0
Brandon Tate KR avg. – 33 yards
Tackles by Zach Brown – 12
INTs by Stephon Gilmore – 2
Time of possession advantage in 2nd half: Bills 20:37; Bengals 9:23


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What happened to the takeaways?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2016 – 10:17 am

Part of what was helping the defense in keeping points off the board during their four-game winning streak were turnovers. Buffalo had a total of 10 during that period. Not surprisingly, on the Bills current three-game losing streak they haven’t had a single takeaway.

Buffalo’s last turnover on defense came in the waning moments of their win at Los Angeles Oct. 9th when Nickell Robey-Coleman made his second interception of the game to seal the win.

If the Bills are unable to post a takeaway today against the Bengals it would match a four game stretch in which they went without a turnover back in 2002.


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Special Pro Football HOF offer for Bills fans

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2016 – 8:24 am

For those Bills fans making the road trip to Cincinnati for the game this weekend, you might be interested in stopping in Canton on your way there at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here’s why.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is inviting Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills fans traveling through Ohio this weekend to experience “The Most Inspiring Place on Earth!”

Any Bills or Bengals fan dressed in their team’s gear who mentions the promotion at the Hall’s box office will receive a $5 discount on any regular price museum admission. The promotion runs from Friday, Nov. 18 through Monday, Nov. 21. The Hall of Fame is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Information about planning a visit to the Hall of Fame can be found at: www.ProFootballHOF.com/visit/.

The Bills take on the Bengals this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium.

 


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Bengals key players good to go

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2016 – 2:31 pm

Several of them were limited, but some of Cincinnati’s key players are ready to go for Sunday’s game against Buffalo.

Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert, Brandon LaFell, Rey Maualuga, Michael Johnson and George Iloka were all limited in practice at some point during the week. But their lack of participation appeared to be more the result of having a short week having just played Monday night against the Giants.

Only backup TE C.J. Uzomah is doubtful.

Player Pos Injury Game Status
C.J. Uzomah TE Calf DOUBTFUL
Wallace Gilberry DE Calf QUESTIONABLE
Clint Boling G Shoulder  
Andy Dalton QB Rt. Shoulder  
Tyler Eifert TE Knee  
Michael Johnson DE Calf  
Brandon LaFell WR Knee  
Rey Maualuga LB Fibula  
George Iloka S Shin  
James Wright WR Hamstring

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FanDuel fantasy update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2016 – 1:03 pm

fanduel

 

 

 

On Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati, the Bills will try to snap a three-game losing streak against a Bengals squad fighting for their playoff lives. This is a must-win game for both teams, so this clash should be all about will, i.e., who wants it more?

The Bills have scored 25 points in each of their last three games, allowing for plenty of terrific FanDuel options. Here’s a look at the value of some Bills players this week.

TYROD TAYLOR – QB – $7,300
Ever so quietly, Tyrod has been tearing it up, averaging 23.1 FanDuel points over his last three outings. He’s thrown 38 passes in each of his last two games, but, even better, he’s run the ball 13 times for a total of 91 yards and 2 touchdowns. Look for this trend to continue against Cincy’s 24th-ranked run defense.

LeSEAN McCOY – RB – $7,500
McCoy will look to take advantage of the Bengals iffy run D. McCoy has averaged over 18 FanDuel points a game (not including the Miami game), undeniably elite numbers. This week, he’s priced at $7,500, a shockingly low cap hit for somebody with top-shelf stats.

ROBERT WOODS – WR – $5,400
Last week, Robert had the game of his NFL life, hauling in 10 of his 13 targets, for 162 yards and 21.2 FanDuel points. Woods and Taylor have established a rapport—it could be argued that Robert is now the QB’s favorite target—and if you can get a number 1 receiver on your FanDuel roster for $5,400, you make it happen.

Who are you drafting on your Daily Fantasy team this week? Play Fantasy Football on FanDuel.

 


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Bills see unbeaten team as measuring stick

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2015 – 11:12 am

It’s a team that is rolling right now. The Cincinnati Bengals are one of five remaining unbeatens in the NFL heading into Week 6. The Bills know if they can hang with this team it’ll say a lot about their fortunes for the 2015 season.

“It’s a big game for us. They’re hot, they’re playing well. They’ve been where we want to get,” said Richie Incognito. “They’ve been to the playoffs the last four years and it’s a good measuring stick for us to see exactly where we’re at because we gutted one out in Tennessee. We didn’t play as well as we wanted to play, we got the win. So coming in and playing a hot team like this that is rolling on offense and has a very sound defense, it’s a good test for us.”

Safety Corey Graham is actually happy that the Bengals kept their unbeaten record intact last week when they came back from 17 down in the fourth quarter to beat the Seahawks in Seattle 27-24.

“It’s good. I’m kind of happy that they won in Seattle and found a way to get a victory against Seattle,” Graham said. “To have an opportunity to go out there, especially as a defense and play against an offense that’s undefeated and a team that’s undefeated with an offense that’s playing well. That’s big for us.”


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Bengals Eifert a headache in the red zone

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2015 – 10:15 am

The Cincinnati Bengals offense has taken off this season and many credit TE Tyler Eifert for being the piece that has put the unit over the top. Opposing defenses can no longer focus their attention on WR A.J. Green and just roll a safety over the top. They now need to account for Eifert, who has been carving up defenses in the middle of the field and the red zone.

Eifert has five touchdowns in five games, including two last week as Cincinnati overcame a 17-point fourth quarter deficit on the road at Seattle to win in overtime. The tight end makes catches in traffic and fights for the ball. He’s also someone Andy Dalton looks for in the red zone.

“He’s doing well. I saw the game from last week,” said Corey Graham. “He did really well last week. He’s running a lot of seam routes. He’s catching the ball well. He’s catching tough balls. He had some times where they were contested and he found a way to bring it down. Obviously as a quarterback when you’ve got more than one threat it helps you and Andy is getting the ball around to all his guys and they’re making plays for him.”

Eifert is a big reason why the Bengals are second in total red zone conversions with 16 touchdowns in five games.


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Why Bills must break slow start trend

Posted by Chris Brown on October 18, 2015 – 9:05 am

Over their last two games the Bills have gotten off to slow starts on offense. Part of the problem has been the absence of some of their top playmakers on offense, most notably LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins. There’s a good chance that both will be in the lineup Sunday against undefeated Cincinnati. Hopefully it helps to jump start an offense that has just one field goal combined in the first half of their last two games.

What will make the task all the more difficult is Cincinnati’s defense. They’ve allowed just 28 total points in the first half of their five games this season. The Bengals have allowed just one touchdown in the first half in 2015 along with seven field goals.

Buffalo will have to break their own trend and Cincinnati’s stingy defensive front Sunday, and they may have to do all that without their starting quarterback who is a game time decision.


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EJ and Tyrod close teammates

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2015 – 10:34 am

There’s a decent chance that EJ Manuel has to start in place of an injured Tyrod Taylor, who is still a game time decision for Sunday’s game against undefeated Cincinnati. Working together all offseason the two coastal Virginia natives have developed a strong working relationship.

Both signal callers were headed to the quarterback room Thursday evening to grind more film in preparation for the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We extremely close. We’ve grown up,” said EJ Manuel. “I’ve known Ty since sixth grade so even being from the same area, now being up in the NFL and playing together with him being the starter and me being the backup we have a stronger bond, and we communicate very well, not just with football, but off the field as well, but we’re really close.”


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QB Johnson could offer Cincy intel

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2015 – 10:05 am

The Bills signed QB Josh Johnson on Tuesday to be the team’s third quarterback. While Johnson certainly offers depth at the position, there’s something else he could potentially provide.

Johnson spent almost the entire offseason with the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo’s opponent Sunday. The undefeated Bengals boast the league’s No. 2 offense, which ranks 5th in the NFL in passing and 4th in scoring.

As a quarterback Johnson could presumably offer some intel on the Bengals offense even though he had been with the Jets and Colts since his release from Cincinnati in late August.

Buffalo’s defensive staff has faced Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson before, but in a pivotal early season AFC matchup every little bit helps.


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Watkins outlook is encouraging

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2015 – 3:22 pm

He put himself through a full workout during pre-game warmups Sunday in Nashville, but the Bills medical staff ultimately determined the best course of action for Sammy Watkins ailing calf was to wait another week. Watkins was inactive against the Titans, but it’s left head coach Rex Ryan optimistic about the receiver’s availability Sunday.

“I was really encouraged with Sammy. How Sammy went through even with his workout before the game,” Ryan said. “We thought it was best to give him a little more time. Sometimes you can go on the practice field and all that, but that game speed is a little different and the intensity is certainly different. We thought it was best to just hold him out of that game and get him really ready for this one. I feel good about Sammy.”

Buffalo plays host on Sunday to the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals, so having a weapon like Watkins for an offense looking for more big plays in the passing game could provide a big boost.


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Bengals inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2013 – 12:45 pm

Here are the inactives for the Bengals in their game today with the Bills. Cincinnati has CB Leon Hall and DE Michael Johnson back in the lineup as both players are active.

CB Brandon Ghee
RB Rex Burkhead
CB Chris Lewis-Harris
OL Mike Pollak
G Tanner Hawkinson
WR Ryan Whalen
DE Margus Hunt


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Bengals top 10 on 3rd down on ‘O’ & ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2013 – 9:35 am

The Cincinnati Bengals are one of just a handful of teams that are good on third down on both offense and defense. Here’s a look at where they stand heading into today’s game against the Bills.

Cincinnati ranks 8th in third down conversion percentage on offense (41.2%) and 7th in third down defense (33.3%). They’re one of just five NFL clubs to rank in the top 10 on both sides of the ball on third down. Here are the other clubs that currently rank in the top 10 on third down on offense and defense through Week 5.

Team                     3rd down ‘O’ rank             3rd down ‘D’ rank
Indianapolis                        2nd                                          5th
Cincinnati                            8th                                           7th
New Orleans                      7th                                           9th
Tennessee                          10th                                         3rd
Miami                                   9th                                           10th

 


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Unknown QBs have succeeded vs. Bengals

Posted by Chris Brown on October 13, 2013 – 7:51 am

It’s a bit of a strange quirk for the Cincinnati Bengals, not only this season, but in past seasons as well. In 2013 they’ve beaten quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. On the other hand they lost to Cleveland’s Brian Hoyer in his first NFL start. And the list for Cincinnati doesn’t end there.

As ESPN Coley Harvey points out Cincinnati tends to struggle against the unknown quarterbacks, who have had spot starts due to injury.

Bruce Gradkowski in 2006 and 2009.
Shaun Hill in 2007.
T.J. Yates in 2011.
Brian Hoyer in 2013.

What’s encouraging for the Bills is Gradkowski in both his victories and Hill did not throw for more than 200 yards in their three games against Cincinnati and still won.

Thad Lewis with a good run game today shouldn’t have to light it up today either.


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This could be week for kick return chances

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2013 – 6:24 pm

Through five games the Bills have just four kick returns as they’ve faced some big-legged kickers who have not given their return unit an opportunity to improve Buffalo’s field position beyond the 20-yard line. This week however, could prove to be different.

Buffalo’s four kick returns rank 31st in the league in terms of opportunity. Only Atlanta has had fewer chances to return kicks with just three through five games.

Naturally Buffalo’s touchback percentage is the second-highest in the league through five games at 86.7 percent (26 touchbacks on 30 kickoffs). Again Atlanta is the only team with a higher rate and they’re a dome team.

This week the Bills face a Cincinnati kickoff man in Mike Nugent, who ranks 30th in the league in kickoff touchback percentage. Less than half the time has Nugent successfully forced Bengals opponents to take a touchback on a kickoff (10-22, 45.5%).

For Marquise Goodwin, who returns to the lineup this week from a broken hand, those are kickoff percentages he’s ready to work with.

“We’ve had four kick returns and I have zero, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Goodwin told Buffalobills.com. “It’s been a journey for our team and coach (Danny Crossman) always expresses to us in the meetings that it’s all about opportunity and we don’t get many. So hopefully we’ll get a few more opportunities this week to try to maximize field position for the offense to get us rolling. So if he kicks them in bounds we’ll try to get as many as we can and return and get good field position.”

 


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How Goodwin built strength back into hand

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2013 – 10:49 am

A broken hand is not an easy injury from which to return for a wide receiver. Coming out of surgery and the removal of the cast Marquise Goodwin’s hand had little to no grip strength. Buffalo’s athletic training staff has remedied that with a host of hand strengthening tools for the receiver.

“I remember when I first got the cast off I could barely hold a ball in my hand, let alone holding a tissue without my hand being sore,” Goodwin told Buffalobills.com. “But now I’ve got some pretty good grip strength so I’m able to catch the ball and hold onto it better. I’m just trying to get it stronger and stronger each week.”

Here’s a look at one of the hand “gadgets” as Goodwin calls them.

Goodwin gadget

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s similar to a stress ball, but with rubber band loops around the outside. Goodwin slides his fingers in the rubber band loops so he has to work to open his hand just as hard as he has to work to close his hand to squeeze the ball.

“This one is for opening and closing, just a lot of things to strengthen my fingers and my hand,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin feels he has made noticeable progress with his hand strength, which is important knowing Bengals defenders will be making every effort to slap the ball out of his hand on returns and after receptions on Sunday.

“That defense is really good at going after the ball and stripping the ball,” said Goodwin. “Ball security is going to be a big deal this game and knowing I have a hand injury they’re going to come right for it. So I’ve got to hold it high and tight with both hands and maintain possession of the ball.”


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Marrone on Stevie’s status

Posted by Chris Brown on October 11, 2013 – 10:05 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone said he was going to speak with Stevie Johnson late Thursday to check in with his wide receiver, who is traveling back from the west coast after attending a family funeral. Even though he did touch base with his top wideout, there’s a lot of information that still has to be gathered when he sits down with Johnson upon his arrival back in Buffalo concerning his status for Sunday’s game.

Making his weekly appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Friday morning, Marrone explained what he still needs to get from Johnson to make a better assessment about his availability for Sunday.

“I spoke to him yesterday. He’s coming in today,” said Marrone. “I really don’t know until the trainers look at him and see how he’s feeling. It’s a long flight. After we talk to him it can either be yes he’s playing or we might have to wait and make it a game time decision. But I’m not really sure right now. I really think it’s still day to day.”

Marrone explained that he has to make sure that Johnson is right physically coming off the lower back injury from last week’s game and right mentally after losing a close family member this week.

“For me there are two situations,” Marrone said. “One is obviously the injury, which hasn’t been able to be treated as well as it would be if he was here. He’s traveling a long distance to the west coast. Then the mental part of it where it’s really tough on him. It’s someone he was very close with and there’s family involved so mentally you have to see where he is at also.”

Johnson’s official status for Sunday’s game will be provided this afternoon.


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Bengals injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2013 – 3:30 pm

Here’s the update on the Bengals injury situation heading into Sunday’s game wit the Bills.

The only big news is it appears that CB Leon Hall will be able to return to the lineup after being out with a hamstring injury, though he has only practiced on a limited basis this week. Starting DE Michael Johnson however, is expected to miss Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion last week.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Wednesday Participation   Thursday
Brandon Ghee CB Thigh DNP LP
Mike Johnson DE Concussion DNP DNP
Mike Boley LB Hamstring LP LP
Leon Hall CB Hamstring LP LP
Mike Pollack G Knee LP FP
Andre Smith T Shoulder LP FP

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Changes for rest of offense with Lewis in

Posted by Chris Brown on October 10, 2013 – 9:21 am

Anytime a new quarterback enters the starting lineup there is an adjustment to be made by the other 10 players on offense, especially when the new signal caller hasn’t had a lot of snaps with the first unit. Such is the case for the Bills this week with Thad Lewis now in at quarterback. Here is where some of the changes lie for the other 10 on Buffalo’s offensive unit.

“Major things that we’ll just have to get used to are just snap counts and things like that. The way he calls the cadence, how he takes control of the no-huddle,” said Fred Jackson. “As far as play calling I don’t see much changing at all. We’ll just have to do whatever we can to make him comfortable. Do whatever we can as skill positions to make his job easier.”

For Jackson and C.J. Spiller that means providing an effective ground game for Lewis to work off of with play action passing and some deep shots here and there.

If we can get the running game started early it’ll take a lot of pressure off of him. Take a lot of pressure off our receivers and make their job easy,” Jackson said. “That’s what we want to get done. That’s what myself, C.J. (Spiller), the offensive line, what we’re going to pride ourselves on is going out and being able to get this running game going early and taking a lot of pressure off of those guys.”

Of course lining up with an unproven quarterback, Jackson and Spiller are expecting a lot of eight man fronts from the Bengals on Sunday. But that’s much of what they’ve seen the past few games with a rookie QB in the lineup anyway.

It’ll be the same situation,” said Jackson. “They’re going to do everything they can to get us out of the running game and make him beat them. I know that’s the challenge he’s looking forward to. It’s a challenge we’re looking forward to. To be able to establish that running game like we’ve been able to thus far this year and hopefully we can continue to do that and get better at doing it.”

 


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Never nervous Lewis

Posted by Chris Brown on October 9, 2013 – 6:12 pm

For a quarterback with just one start on his NFL resume, Sunday’s game against the Bengals might seem a bit daunting, but Bills QB Thad Lewis is not the least bit nervous about his first start with Buffalo.

“No nerves at all,” said Lewis. “I’ve done if before. I’m still playing football. It’s not like anything changed. I’m doing the same thing I’ve done, I’m just able to play this Sunday.”

Bills head coach Doug Marrone indicated earlier this week that there are no restrictions with Lewis concerning the playbook and installing a game plan this week. Lewis confirmed Marrone’s statement.

“My command of this offense is high, it’s not like I’m going in there and coach says we can’t run this because you can’t do
it,” said Lewis. “He’s putting in the game plan, I’m putting in the time I need to to prepare to run this game plan, and we’re going to run it.”


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