Inside The Bills

Why Bills point differential means nothing now

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2018 – 11:00 am

For the naysayers in the media who have criticized the Bills as an unfit playoff participant due to some below average statistics in certain offensive and defensive categories, here’s an example of why negative statistics don’t mean anything once you reach the postseason.

A good number of Bills critics have pointed to Buffalo’s negative point differential, as there aren’t too many teams in the history of the league who score fewer points than their opponents and reach the playoffs.

But the Bills have, and in addition, history is on their side.

The Bills have the fifth-worst regular-season point differential among postseason teams all-time, but the four teams who were worse than Buffalo went 4-0 in their postseason openers.

Worst Regular-Season Point Diff, Teams Reaching Postseason

Team                                     Point Diff            Playoff Opener (all WC Games)
2010 Seahawks                 -97                          Won vs Saints, 41-36
2011 Broncos                     -81                          Won vs Steelers, 29-23 (OT)
2004 Rams                          -73                          Won @ Seahawks, 27-20
1989 Steelers                    -61                          Won @ Hou Oilers, 26-23 (OT)
2017 Bills                            -57                          Sunday @ Jaguars


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Bills need to close as strong as they’ve opened

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2018 – 10:18 am

Down the stretch of the 2017 regular season the Bills did a solid job of getting off to fast starts, something that was a trouble area earlier in the year. In their last three games, Buffalo has put up 17 points on their opening drives (2 TDs, 1 FG), where in the first 13 games of the season they had a total of just 6 (2 FGs).

That helped the Bills go 4-2 to end the regular season, as they outscored their opponents 24-6 in the first quarter. Buffalo also did not trail in any of their last four wins in part because of their fast starts.

In addition, the Bills drove for field goals on their opening possession of the second half in both Weeks 16 and 17. So, they’ve scored on their opening drive out of the locker room in four straight halves and five of the last six.

The task is likely to be a lot more difficult against a Jaguars defense that gave up an NFL-low 13 opening-drive points all season (1 TD, 2 FGs).

An even bigger challenge, however might be scoring in the fourth quarter, a problem area for several weeks for the Bills down the stretch this season.

Buffalo has only three points in the final 15 minutes of regulation over their last six games. Believe it or not over that span, they have more touchdowns in overtime (one) than in the fourth quarter.

Bills in 4th Quarter, 2017

Gms 1-10                  Gms 11-16

Points                                   90                                              3
Touchdowns                      9                                                 0
Point Diff.                            +22                                         -41

The team’s last two fourth-quarter TDs came in Week 11 at the LA Chargers, and were largely insignificant scores in a blowout loss.


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Bortles better at home

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2018 – 9:45 am

No one would argue that Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has a penchant for turning the ball over. He’s got 13 interceptions this season, five of which have come in the last two games of the regular season. But those picks came in road games. At home Bortles looks to be a much more productive signal caller.

His three strong games in December all came at EverBank Field, and counting the Jags’ “home” game at Wembley Stadium in London, his numbers were quite good.

Blake Bortles, 2017 – Home & Away Numbers

Home                    Away

Comp Pct             64.3                        55.6

Yds/Pass Att       7.65                        6.35

Pass Yds/Gm      267.9                     193.0

TD/INT                  15/5                         6/8

Won-Loss            6-2                            4-4


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Bills need their ball security to continue

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2018 – 9:14 am

As much as the Bills defense will be trying to get Jaguars QB Blake Bortles to make a mistake in the passing game today, Buffalo’s offense will be focused on continuing their own ball security.

Only the Kansas City Chiefs have had more games this season in which they did not turn the ball over (9). Buffalo was tied for second fewest giveaways this season with a pair of other playoff teams.

In those games in which they didn’t turn the ball over, the Bills were 6-2.

The reason not giving the ball to the Jaguars is doubly important is because a third of Jacksonville’s points scored this season have come off takeaways. The Jags were second in the league in total takeaways (33) and first in the league in points scored off takeaways (137).

The good news is the Bills have not turned the football over in each of their last three games. Their last giveaway came in the snow game against the Colts right at the end of regulation.

NFL Teams, 2017 – Most Games With 0 Giveaways
Chiefs                   9
Bills                        8
Patriots                8
Vikings                  8

 


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Green playoff QBs square off for Bills-Jags

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2018 – 8:45 am

Most fans are aware that this is the first career postseason start for both Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor and Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles. What most may not know is how rare that is in the NFL.

Having a pair of QBs, who each have at least 40 starts in their career, but will make their first postseason against one another, hasn’t occurred in a postseason game in 60 years.

The last time two quarterbacks with at least 40 career starts met for their first playoff game was in 1957 in a Divisional playoff between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. Tobin Rote, had 78 regular season starts and Y.A. Tittle had 67.

Tyrod Taylor and Blake Bortles – Career Starts Entering Sunday

QB                          Reg Season         Playoffs
Taylor                    42                           0
Bortles                  61                           0


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Jags run game losing steam?

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2018 – 8:15 am

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a run-heavy team and not surprisingly led the NFL in rushing with more than 140 yards on the ground per game (141.1). But over the final third of the season, they had trouble matching their rushing production from earlier in the year.

In the Jaguars last six games their yards per carry average dropped almost a full yard and their rushing yards per game fell by more than 50 yards. In fact, in four of their last six games this season, Jacksonville did not reach 100 yards rushing. Hopefully the Bills can keep that trend going.

Jaguars’ Rushing, 2017 – Season Breakdown

Gms 1-10             Gms 11-16

Yards/Rush         4.60                        3.69

Rush Yds/Gm     160.6                     109.3


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Bills have more playoff experience than Jags

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2018 – 5:49 pm

The Bills haven’t been to the postseason in 17 seasons, while the Jaguars haven’t made it in a decade. So there are a good number of players on each team without playoff experience where any player who has participated in the playoffs will tell you, the intensity of play goes up a notch. But in looking at both rosters, Buffalo has vastly more playoff game experience than Jacksonville.

For all the time Buffalo has been out of the postseason, the Jaguars have even less postseason experience than the Bills.

2017 Playoff Teams – Fewest Games of Postseason Experience

Rams                     21
Jaguars                 42
Vikings                  69
Eagles                   74
Bills                       77

Despite having almost twice the experience in the playoffs on their roster, some of those players on Buffalo’s roster, who have been in postseason games have been getting questions from teammates who haven’t.

“There have been a few questions,” admitted Pat DiMarco, who went all the way to the Super Bowl last season with the Falcons. “I think coach McDermott has done a really good job of telling the guys it’s a normal week and just stick to our process of preparation and guys are doing that. It’s a playoff game and it’s win or go home, so guys have been putting in extra time.

“This is a huge opportunity, not only for this team, but this city. It’s about going out there and playing ball and having fun and playing for the guy next to you.”

Micah Hyde, who has played in the postseason every season he’s been in the league agreed with DiMarco.

“You’ve just got to have fun,” he said. “You can’t be up tight especially as a defensive back. You can’t go into a game being up tight. My message to some of the younger guys has been that we’ve been playing football for a long time. Do what you do and the outcome will take care of itself.”


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A playoff debut for both Marrone & McDermott

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2018 – 3:48 pm

One part of today’s game that is unique is that it’s the playoff debut for both Doug Marrone and Sean McDermott as head coaches. In the NFL it has not happened often where both head coaches were new to the postseason.

This will be just the fourth playoff game since 2000 and the first in nine years in which both coaches are making their postseason debuts.

Playoff Games Since 2000, Both Coaches in 1st Post. Game
2000 WC – Mike Martz, StL vs Jim Haslett, NO        NO 31, StL 28
2008 WC – Mike Smith, Atl vs Ken Whisenhunt, Arz             Arz 30, Atl 24
2008 WC – John Harbaugh, Bal vs Tony Sparano, Mia          Bal 27, Mia 9
2017 WC – Sean McDermott, Buf vs Doug Marrone, Jax ???        


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Bills recognize magnitude of Sunday’s game

Posted by Chris Brown on October 24, 2015 – 11:20 am

Sitting at 3-3 the Bills are in a potentially precarious position. Obviously the goal every week is to win. Buffalo’s .500 record would actually qualify them for the playoffs if the season ended today. They would be the sixth seed in the AFC. But with 10 games to play, Buffalo’s players know they need this win, so they can get to the bye week above .500 and remain in playoff contention.

“It’s huge man,” said Nigel Bradham. “The opportunity for us to go 4-3. It’s huge and it would be great going into the bye week still in the hunt. That’s the main thing. We’ve got a lot of games left to play. We pretty much just have to try to get this win. That’s the main focus, get this win and move on from there.”


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Jags top WR reportedly good to go

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2015 – 11:38 am

He had a nasty looking play last week when he sustained a thigh contusion, which led to some concern as to how much Jaguars WR Allen Robinson would participate in practice this week in preparation for Jacksonville’s London based game against the Bills. It appears he’s no worse for the wear.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that Robinson is going to be fine.

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Robinson leads Jacksonville in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns with five.


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Crossman on English fans & American football

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2015 – 10:24 am

As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today, Bills special teams coordinator Danny Crossman knows the English following for American football. He witnessed it first hand as a player on the London Monarchs in the now defunct World League of American Football from 1991-92. Here’s his assessment of what can be expected from the English fans Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

“There’s a following. It’ll be a good crowd,” Crossman said. “They want to see a good product. The thing about it, I don’t care where you are, especially there in England, they expect high performance. And when you get the best, and the NFL is the best American football in the world they’re excited to see it. They thrive on wanting to see the best. I don’t care if it’s American football, soccer, cricket, they want to see top level performance and they’re passionate about it.

“Now it’s not the same passion as some people who follow their independent football clubs. That’s a whole other level. They’re going to be excited and there’s going to be a different atmosphere of how they conduct themselves during the game. I know having played there it was a live, festive atmosphere.”


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Report: Marrone hired by Jaguars

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 12:02 pm

According to a Florida Times-Union report, the Jacksonville Jaguars have hired former Bills head coach Doug Marrone as an assistant.

That according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

With Marrone reportedly coaching Jacksonville’s offensive line the Bills will be facing their former head coach. Marrone will have the task of preparing his players for his former defensive line, which includes three Pro Bowl players. This fall the Bills will face the Jaguars in London on Oct. 25th.


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Long drives an encouraging sign

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2013 – 11:14 pm

The Bills had their longest scoring drive of the season when they marched 94 yards on nine plays midway through the second quarter to tie the game at 10. But it wasn’t the only as Buffalo did something on offense they’ve done just one other time this season.

EJ Manuel and the Bills offense had three scoring drives in the game that covered more than 70 yards. The aforementioned nine-play 94-yard touchdown drive that ended with the seven-yard Robert Woods touchdown grab. That was followed by the eight-play 72-yard drive capped by EJ Manuel’s eight-yard quarterback draw touchdown. And then the critical nine-play 80-yard drive that put the Bills ahead for good on Frank Summers’ one-yard TD catch.

It was a notable step for Buffalo’s offense to put together long scoring drives as they demonstrated a measure of consistency en route to putting points on the board.

“I think that’s a part of our maturation as an offense, especially as young guys in the skill positions,” said Manuel. “Understanding the situations and definitely on third downs, I felt we converted a lot better on third down than we did last week, so that was huge for us to keep those drives and make them longer.”

The only other game in which the Bills had three scoring drives covering 70 yards or more was in the Week come from behind win against Carolina.


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Jones-Drew, Shorts both inactive

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2013 – 12:10 pm

As expected Jaguars top RB Maurice Jones-Drew and top WR Cecil Shorts are both inactive for today’s game against the Bills. Ere are the rest of the inactives for Jacksonville.

QB Ricky Stanzi
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
S Johnathan Cyprien
WR Cecil Shorts
TE Allen Reisner
DT Brandon Deaderick
G/C Will Rackley

With Short out 13 Kerry Taylor will start. With Jags starting LG Will Rackley inactive 60 Mike Brewster will start at LG.

With Jones-Drew out 30 Jordan Todman starts at RB. Starting SS Johnathan Cyprien is out too so 22 Winston Guy will start at SS

42 Chris Posinski will start at FS.


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Report: WR Shorts out for Jags

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2013 – 10:51 am

The inactive list will be out in an hour, but there is a report that WR Cecil Shorts will not play today for the Jaguars against Buffalo.

Shorts was listed as questionable for today’s game. He’s been dealing with a groin injury for most of the season and the Thursday night game last week didn’t give him much time to recover from the previous game. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this morning that Shorts won’t dress for the game. He also reported that Maurice Jones-Drew, who is listed as doubtful, will test his ailing hamstring one last time today pre-game.

Shorts is Jacksonville’s leading receiver and he and Jones-Drew account for 40 percent of the Jaguars total net yards on offense this season and are responsible for 40 percent of their touchdowns.


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Addition to Jags injury report

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2013 – 4:22 pm

The Jaguars added an offensive lineman to their injury report on Saturday.

Starting LG Will Rackley was added to the injury report as questionable with a concussion. No word from the team on how the injury surfaced so late in the week.

If Rackley can’t go Sunday, swing guard Jacques McClendon would step into the starting lineup for Jacksonville.


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Jags make roster moves

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2013 – 4:20 pm

The Jacksonville Jaguars made a pair of roster moves Saturday bringing a player back off injured reserve who was designated to return.

Jacksonville activated second-year TE Allen Reisner and rookie LB LaRoy Reynolds to the 53-man roster, the club announced.  Reisner returned from the injured reserve/designated to return list and the club lifted the roster exemption for Reynolds from the reserve/suspended list.

Reisner played in the first five games of the season and made three starts before he injured his knee at St. Louis in week five.  He was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 8.   Reisner has five catches for 40 yards this season.

Reynolds saw action in the first 10 games before he was suspended four games by the NFL on Nov. 12 for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.  He is tied for second on the club with six special teams tackles.

Reisner wears jersey number 87 and Reynolds number 56.


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MJD not practicing for Jags

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2013 – 12:49 pm

The Bills have a question mark in LB Kiko Alonso, but the man he is chiefly responsible to stop on run plays might not be playing for the Jaguars either.

According to Jags beat reporter Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, RB Maurice Jones-Drew is not practicing again on Friday.

Jones-Drew was supposed to test his ailing hamstring today after not practicing on Wednesday and Thursday.

Safety Johnathan Cyprien is also not practicing due to a thigh injury. He was limited in practice, Wednesday, but now has not practiced on Thursday and Friday.

WR Cecil Shorts, who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, apparently was prepared to participate Friday.

We’ll have the full report from Jacksonville after they conclude their practice.


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Jones-Drew, Shorts likely game time decisions

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2013 – 10:07 am

Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew and WR Cecil Shorts have yet to practice this week with hamstring and groin injuries respectively. Friday’s practice for both will be a big determining factor in their availability for Sunday, but Jaguars coach Gus Bradley isn’t sure he’ll know any more until Sunday morning.

“The guys we’re still waiting to see is MoJo (Maurice Jones-Drew) and Cecil Shorts,” said Bradley. “That might go all the way up until game time with those guys.”

Jones-Drew and Shorts collectively represent 40 percent of the team’s total net yards on offense and 40 percent of Jacksonville’s 20 touchdowns scored this season (8).


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Bills could face backup RB again

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2013 – 10:19 am

For the second straight week the Bills could be squaring off against a backup running back. Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew is trying to come back from a hamstring injury suffered late in their game last Thursday night, but won’t practice until late in the week.

According to multiple reports Jones-Drew will test his ailing hamstring on Friday. If he can’t go Jordan Todman, a first-year player, will step into the starting lineup. Todman has 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Jags this season in his backup role.

Jones-Drew is averaging 3.5 yards per carry this season.

Buffalo faced a third-string running back in Bobby Rainey last Sunday. Rainey finished last week’s game with 127 yards on 22 carries including an 80-yard TD.


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