Inside The Bills

Falcons streak that Bills brought to an end

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2017 – 9:21 am

The Bills win was obviously huge because they beat the defending NFC champions. But the way they won, using turnovers and holding Atlanta off the scoreboard is what made the victory so impressive.

The Falcons entered the game having scored 23 points or more in 12 straight games dating back to last season, counting the playoffs. It was the longest active streak in the NFL, and they posted a 10-2 record over that stretch.

Buffalo’s victory obviously ends that streak. It had been the longest in the league since the 2015 Carolina Panthers that were NFC champs the previous year had a 13-game streak scoring 23 or more.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills dominating the red zone

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2017 – 11:10 am

Buffalo’s performance in the red zone has been strong on both sides of the ball thus far this season. Can it be the difference in today’s game against the Falcons?

The Bills rank second in red zone touchdown percentage on offense scoring at better than a 71 percent clip. Meanwhile they’re just as effective in keeping opponents out of the end zone. Buffalo is allowing opponents to reach the end zone from inside their own 20, less than 29 percent of the time (28.6).

The Falcons high-powered offense ranks a pedestrian 14th in the NFL in red zone offense scoring touchdowns 60 percent of the time. Atlanta’s defense is a step below that ranking 17th in red zone defense. They’re allowing opponents to score touchdowns a bit more than half the time (55.6%).

Buffalo has yet to allow a passing touchdown this season from any distance, short or long.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Falcons offense vs. Bills ‘D’ the marquee matchup

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2017 – 10:16 am

It may not be all the game comes down to, but the winner of the matchup between the Falcons offense and Bills defense will likely be the victor later today. There are several statistics that can demonstrate how prolific Atlanta’s offense is and how stingy Buffalo’s defense is, but one that you don’t often see is yards per offensive drive.

Atlanta’s offense ranks second in most yards per drive, which speaks to the consistency in which they can string plays together. The Falcons average just over 37 yards per drive, which might not sound like much, but only New Orleans is more effective (40.4).

It’s why the Falcons score a touchdown more than a quarter of the time on their possessions, which ranks fifth in the league.

Buffalo’s defense ranks sixth in fewest yards allowed per drive by their opponents. The Bills give up an average of less than 24 yards per opponent possession (23.6).

Can they hold down the Falcons attack, especially early?


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Buffalo pass rush getting home

Posted by Chris Brown on October 1, 2017 – 9:14 am

Though assessing a team’s pass rush isn’t all about sacks, Buffalo ranks seventh in that category. More importantly is the consistency of pass pressure and the Bills are even better when it comes to pressure percentage.

The Bills have the fourth-highest pressure percentage on pass plays. A bit more than 35 percent of the time, Buffalo has gotten pressure on the opposing quarterback (35.5%).

Along with their 10 sacks, Buffalo has logged nine quarterback knockdowns and 24 quarterback hurries. That kind of effectiveness will be crucial against the Falcons and QB Matt Ryan.


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Falcons to be without 3 def. starters Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2017 – 3:10 pm

The Bills aren’t the only team entering Sunday’s matchup without an edge protector and a pass rusher. Buffalo will be without LT Cordy Glenn Sunday and possibly DE Shaq Lawson as well. The Falcons are definitely down three defensive starters and will be missing their starting right tackle for the third straight week.

Head coach Dan Quinn declared starting RT Ryan Schraeder out for Sunday with a concussion. Ty Sambrailo, who struggled against the Lions last week, will start in his place for a third straight game.

Also out for Atlanta are starters OLB Vic Beasley (hamstring), DE Courtney Upshaw (knee/ankle) and FS Ricardo Allen (concussion).

The Falcons will be starting rookies Tak McKinley for Upshaw and Damontae Kazee for Allen. For Kazee it’ll be his first NFL start.

Allen usually handles the play calls and checks for the secondary. S Keanu Neal will handle the calls Sunday.

 


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Fan Friday 9-29

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2017 – 12:15 pm

A big test this week in Atlanta. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills and email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Can the secondary hang with Atlanta’s WRs?

Bills Fans Matter
@BillsFansmatt3r

CB: I think the Bills secondary can hold their own, but to think that they’re going to completely shut them down is foolhardy. No NFL secondary has been able to do that. What will go a long way in aiding Buffalo’s defensive backfield is pressure up front.

If Falcons starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder (concussion) can’t go again this week that would make for a good matchup at right tackle. Ty Sambrailo started in his place last week and struggled a great deal.

Of course Shaq Lawson is also a question mark Sunday, but pressure should have some success off Buffalo’s left side if Sambrailo starts.

I think the goal for the secondary is just to keep everything in front of them and make the Falcons earn points by being consistent for 10 to 12 plays. That will give the Bills more opportunities to make a play on a less than perfect offensive call by Matt Ryan.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Why have the Bills tried to replace RT Mills? He’s playing bad football right now.

Hook
@Teon_09

CB: I think we’ve come to see that Sean McDermott and his coaching staff are not afraid to make a change if they feel they can upgrade any position and improve overall performance. So your assessment and the assessment of the coaching staff regarding Jordan Mills’ play are obviously not the same.

What we also have to take into consideration here is the fact that the offense is still a work in progress in Tyrod Taylor’s own words. This new scheme has to settle in with every player on offense. Think of it like a bottle of wine. When you open it, you’ve got to let it breathe a little.

This offensive unit has to mold and shape itself to the scheme. Hasty changes like the one you’re suggesting can sometimes do more harm than good. And most new coaching staffs don’t know for sure what they have until they get into mid-October and early November.

So unless a player is really struggling and putting more bad plays than good ones on film, changes this early in the season are rare.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills

Is there even a 1% chance we can go into the house, of the best NFC team in the league, and come out with a “W”? #SoYourTellinMeTheresAChance

Dr. Dusty
@Dustypractor

CB: There is certainly a chance. I think as long as the Bills defense can hold them down early it will allow Buffalo’s offense the opportunity to let their run game to gain some traction without the issue of playing catch up on the scoreboard.

I believe there will be some rushing lanes to exploit against this Falcons defense. I’m not so sure Atlanta is as good all-around as they were last year. Their offense is still prolific, but their defense is beat up right now. I’m confident the Bills can keep it close. Cross your fingers.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills

Do you think we will drop Walt Powell next week or will he be added to the roster? Is he an upgrade at all?

Bills, Mets, & Pens

@billsnmetsfan

CB: You’re right Walt Powell will have completed his four-game league-imposed suspension after this Sunday. It’s hard to predict what will happen. The receiving corps could sustain a season-ending injury in Sunday’s game and suddenly Walt Powell is needed on the active roster.

Beyond that though it’s difficult to know where they feel Powell would sit in the WR pecking order once he’s off suspension. But at best he’s the fourth or fifth receiver.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Will he consider changing up the blocking scheme to better fit McCoy’s running style?

Bruce
@bma003

CB: I would not anticipate a change in the blocking scheme anytime soon. LeSean McCoy is one of the five best backs in the league. His ability fits any run scheme you can draw up. In fact McCoy had some of the most productive seasons of his career is the same exact scheme in Philadelphia.

At issue is getting all of the men involved in the blocking scheme to work seamlessly. That hasn’t happened consistently enough to this point. We’re still in the first month of the season. Most teams with new schemes don’t really get humming until mid to late October.

So let’s see where the run game goes between now and then.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Falcons mindful of Bills WR speed

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 3:36 pm

As big a challenge as Falcons head coach Mike Smith believes the combination of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson will be today, he’s also concerned with the way in which Buffalo uses their speed at receiver.

“The Bills are the only team that has two rushers with 500 yards or more at this point. We have to do a better job of fitting the run and not giving up way too many explosive plays and we have to get off the field on third down. And that’s going to be a challenge because of the speed at wide receiver,” said Smith.

“I think coach Marrone and his staff do a great job with the speed they have at the wide receiver position. It may be the fastest group as a whole as any in the NFL.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Falcons inactives

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 2:47 pm

Here are the Falcons inactives for today’s game with the Bills.

RB Josh Vaughan
S Kemal Ishmael
LB Omar Gaither
G Harland Gunn
OL Terren Jones
OL Sean Locklear
DT Travian Robertson


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Falcons coach doesn’t see edge in dome

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 12:35 pm

Falcons head coach Mike Smith has got to think that his team has caught a break today being afforded the opportunity to play the Bills in a dome in Toronto at the Rogers Centre instead of at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. He tried to downplay how the road schedule fell for his team this season.

“I don’t know if we catch an edge because they’re playing in the same conditions that we are and the field is still 100 yards long,” said Smith.

Smith did admit that the indoor conditions are preferable to his team.

“I think it’s something that we’re going to be used to,” he said. “We play nine games indoors every year, sometimes more. Playing up in Toronto is going to give us our 10th game indoors. And 72 degrees sounds a lot better than the weather you’re having up there right now.”

 

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Will EJ see much blitz?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 9:26 am

The pass rush of the Atlanta Falcons has been relatively ineffective this season. Their 22 sacks on the season rank 28th in the league, but their pass pressure goes much deeper than that. Their struggles make one wonder if they’ll blitz EJ Manuel much at all today.

When Atlanta blitzes the purpose is to at least force hurried throws, which are hopefully inaccurate and lead to turnover opportunities. That has not been the case for the quarterbacks who have faced the Falcons.

Thus far this season when Atlanta blitzes the opposing quarterbacks have compiled a passer rating of 103.83. For the Falcons that figure ranks 27th in the NFL.

The Bills meanwhile on offense rank fourth in the league in passer rating when blitzed. EJ Manuel, along with some contributions from Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel have a collective passer rating of 104.97 this season when blitzed, good for fourth-best in the league.

With Manuel being a rookie, it’s likely that the Falcons will see if they can rattle him with pressure, but his success in the face of the blitz could quickly change Atlanta’s mind as to whether it’s the best approach.


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Why Bills should go for it on 4th today

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2013 – 8:16 am

As Bills head coach Doug Marrone has stated more than once, the statistical evidence that says you should go for it more on fourth down cannot be applied in a vacuum. There are a host of other variables in a game that need to be considered in addition to what the fourth down statistics might say. This week however, the statistics could be overwhelmingly be in favor of going for it if the Bills are faced with a fourth down situation. Here’s why.

First and foremost Atlanta has the worst third down defense in the league allowing conversions at better than 46 percent (46.6%). On third and short they allow conversions almost two-thirds of the time (64.6%).

And on fourth and short they allow their opponents to convert a surprising 77.8% of the time. That figures ranks 28th in the league.

Naturally time left on the clock, score, field position and a host of other variables will come into play when making a decision, but the Bills should be encouraged to go for it if they face a 4th-and-short situation in a favorable area of the field today.


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Atlanta’s Ryan still stacking drives

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2013 – 2:11 pm

It has been far from the most successful season for the Falcons this year. Even though they’re in the midst of a five-game losing streak their QB Matt Ryan still knows how to put long sustained drives together, something the Bills will want to prevent on Sunday.

Ryan’s success in extending drives is seen in Atlanta’s high number of 10-play drives. The Falcons offense ranks second in the league  with 26 10-play drives this season, which is well above the league average of 18.

That’s why they also rank high in number of drives that take five minutes off the clock or more. Atlanta has a total of 19 drives of five minutes or more, good for third-best in the NFL.

Naturally their success on third down is a big reason for their lengthy drives. The Falcons rank eighth in the league in third down conversion percentage at 40.5 percent.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Falcons far from heavy birds

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2013 – 12:43 pm

The Falcons defensive front is one that is based on speed, so naturally they’re one of the lighter defensive lines in the league. That could be a good thing for Buffalo’s offensive front.

Atlanta’s starting defensive line averages 281 pounds. To provide some perspective, Buffalo’s starting defensive line averages 312 pounds.

It partly explains why the Falcons have had trouble stopping the run, where they rank 28th. It’d be surprising if the Bills don’t try to pound out the run against Atlanta in Sunday’s game.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Will 4th time be the charm?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 3:07 pm

The Bills have had three prior opportunities to post back-to-back victories this season under head coach Doug Marrone. Each time they have come up short. Sunday against Atlanta will be the fourth such opportunity in 2013. Marrone calls it an opportunity to build some consistency into their play.

“I think this is a big game,” Marrone said. “I think when you come off a game like we did against New York and you look overall at things we played a very good, consistent football game and that’s what the goal is. And it starts with the individual player. Can that individual player go ahead and play another consistent game at a high enough level?

“Then you break it down into units. Then you break it into sides of the football and then you break it down as a whole team. That’s the one thing we’re striving for because right now it’s been too much of the inconsistency, feeling that you can get things done and I think we all feel that. I see it, the fans see it, the players themselves see it. I think it’s important that we start developing that consistency to be the type of team we want to be.”


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Gonzalez, Weatherspoon ques. for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 1:38 pm

The Atlanta Falcons have a pair of starters who are questionable for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Starting OLB Sean Weatherspoon, who has only appeared in four games this season, is questionable with shoulder and knee injuries. He participated fully in practice Thursday, but was limited Friday.

Meanwhile TE Tony Gonzalez has been dealing with a persistent toe injury and was limited in practice all week. He’s only missed two games in his 17-year career, so it’s expected he’ll play even though he too is questionable. Gonzalez is the team’s second-leading receiver and is tops on the team in receiving touchdowns with four.

Player Pos Injury Participation   Friday Game Status
Akeem Dent LB Ankle LP Questionable
Tony Gonzalez TE Toe LP Questionable
Malliciah   Goodman DE Calf LP Questionable
Zeke Motta S Hand LP Questionable
Desmond   Trufant CB Thigh FP Probable
Sean   Weatherspoon LB Shoulder/Knee LP Questionable

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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Gonzalez still limited

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2013 – 8:54 am

Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez was again limited in practice on Thursday with a persistent toe injury. It’s not expected to keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Bills in Toronto, but it has compromised his route running ability. Here’s a look at the rest of Atlanta’s injury report.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation Wednesday

Participation Thursday

Akeem Dent

LB

Ankle

LP

LP

Tony Gonzalez

TE

Toe

LP

LP

Malliciah Goodman

DE

Calf

LP

LP

Zeke Motta

S

Hand

LP

LP

Desmond Trufant

CB

Thigh

LP

FP

Sean Weatherspoon

LB

Shoulder

LP

FP


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Manuel setting own standard

Posted by Chris Brown on November 28, 2013 – 9:02 am

EJ Manuel has been a quarterback long enough to know that expectations are going to rise and fall with each start he makes with his performance establishing the barometer. The rookie quarterback however, doesn’t pay much attention to the outside expectations. He’s too busy setting his own personal standards.

“I raise my own bar and I set my own bar,” he said. “I definitely want to hold myself to a high standard. I definitely don’t want to revert back to having games where it’s inconsistent or anything like that. Not to put any more pressure on myself, but I feel if I continue to do what I did that week versus the Jets and continue to study and prepare we should all go out and have a good game.”

Manuel will have all his offensive weapons in the lineup on Sunday against Atlanta for the first time since the first half of the season opener against New England.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gonzalez limited for Falcons

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2013 – 4:25 pm

Here’s a look at the Falcons injury report leading up to their game against the Bills Sunday in Toronto, with TE Tony Gonzalez the headliner on this list.

Gonzalez is dealing with a toe injury that left him as a limited participant on Wednesday. Fellow starters CB Marcus Trufant and LB Sean Weatherspoon were also limited with thigh and shoulder injuries respectively.

Player

Pos

Injury

Participation Wednesday

Akeem Dent

LB

Ankle

LP

Tony Gonzalez

TE

Toe

LP

Malliciah Goodman

DE

Calf

LP

Zeke Motta

S

Hand

LP

Desmond Trufant

CB

Thigh

LP

Sean Weatherspoon

LB

Shoulder

LP


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not sleeping on poor Falcons record

Posted by Chris Brown on November 27, 2013 – 12:41 pm

The Atlanta Falcons have lost eight of their last nine games including the last five in a row. They currently sit at 2-9 on the season and were the first NFC team eliminated from playoff contention. The Bills however, aren’t thinking they can just show up and win on Sunday.

“We know we’re going to get their best,” said Kraig Urbik. “They’re going to come out firing and they’re a good defense too. You look at the guys up front that they have and they have a really good talented defense so yeah their record might not be where they want it to be, but they’re going to come out firing when they come out to play us.”

“We have to approach like this team was in the NFC championship last year and they were in the game,” said Scott Chandler. “It was a good game, so they’re a very talented football team and we’ve got to approach it as they’re a good team.”

“If you look at their offense especially, because that’s what I can speak to, they’ve done  a lot of great things,” said Arthur Moats. “With Matt Ryan out there, he’s still making plays, even with them losing Julio and everything like that, Roddy, he’s still out there, you have to always account for him.  And their running game, between Steven Jackson and Jacquizz, that’s a really good one-two punch.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lots of shuffling on Falcons O-line

Posted by Chris Brown on November 21, 2013 – 6:40 pm

While the Bills have worked a number of combinations in the secondary and at quarterback this season due to injury, the Falcons have worked a number of combinations on the offensive line due in part to poor performance.

Atlanta QB Matt Ryan had only been sacked 19 times going into their Thursday night game this week, but Falcons head coach Mike Smith has been tinkering with the lineup a lot. That according to ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure.

Last week against the Bucs there were four moves made up front in one game. The Falcons benched right guard Garrett Reynolds and moved center Peter Konz to right guard and brought Joe Hawley in to play center. Konz was then swapped out for Reynolds and a change was also made at right tackle with starter Jeremy Trueblood taking a seat in favor of Ryan Schraeder.

The Falcons also signed veteran free agent Sean Locklear, who figures to have a role by the time the Bills face Atlanta next week.

It’ll be interesting to see what their lineup looks like tonight against the Saints and if there will be subsequent in game changes again.

 


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