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Inside The Bills

Goal line gift for Bills?

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

On two of their more recent goal to go opportunities the Bills were unable to punch the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. In Week 6 against Cincinnati, Thad Lewis was stopped short of the goal line on a fourth down rollout leading to a turnover on downs. Last week Jeff Tuel’s third-and-goal pass attempt went 100 yards the other way. Sunday against the Steelers however, could present far more favorable odds of finishing off such an opportunity with a touchdown.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are an average red zone defense as they’re allowing opponents to score touchdowns once in the red zone at better than 55 percent (15th). Their defense is also allowing opponents to average 3.47 yards per play in the red zone, which is the fifth-highest allowed in the league.

Furthermore the Steelers defense is at its worst in goal-to-go situations. When Pittsburgh’s opponents are in a goal to go situation they convert with a touchdown 75 percent of the time. That percentage ranks Pittsburgh 26th in goal-to-go defense.

When the situation is first-and-goal at the five-yard line or closer Pittsburgh opponents have scored every single time this season, making the Steelers one of the worst goal-to-go defenses in the NFL.

Of course the Bills offense is 31st in the league in goal-to-go scoring converting just over 46 percent of the time (46.2%), so one side of the ball in these situations has got to give. Fred Jackson is hoping it’s Pittsburgh.

“We haven’t been consistent in what we want to get done,” said Jackson. “We’ve got to focus on that this week and get that taken care of.  Any time we get in the red zone, we need to score touchdowns.  That’s something we said we wanted to get done and we haven’t done that.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Red zone changes will be subtle

Posted by Chris Brown on November 9, 2013 – 11:58 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has pledged to make changes with his red zone offense, which has quickly slipped to 31st in the NFL with a touchdown success rate of just 42.3%. Buffalobills.com asked Marrone the degree of change that should be expected once Buffalo’s offense cracks the opponent’s 20-yard line.

“I think when the changes work people will say we’ve made dramatic changes and they look great,” Marrone told Buffalobills.com. “If they don’t work people will think we didn’t make any changes. A lot of it depends on your execution of things. When we looked at it in the red zone we’re not getting the results that we want, so it wasn’t a matter of the
schematics.

“It’s basically the execution of things. So what we had to do was put our players in a mindset of where they can execute at a higher level. Probably right now we’re looking at subtle changes, but if we do well people will consider them dramatic changes. We have to make those changes because we have to do better. If we keep doing things the same way then they’re not going to change.”

Pittsburgh’s red zone defense is ranked in the middle of the pack. The Steelers are 15th in the league allowing touchdowns more than 55 percent of the time.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills planning changes for red zone offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2013 – 10:17 am

Buffalo hasn’t been a bad red zone offense all season, it’s just been the last three games where they’ve slipped down the league rankings to their current spot of 31st. Goal line execution is part of the problem along with quarterback decision making.

The Bills over their past three games have converted just two of their eight red zone opportunities into touchdowns (25%). That’s what has dragged down their red zone touchdown percentage to its current mark of 42.3%. Here are some of the trouble spots.

Buffalo’s collective passer rating inside the opponent’s 30-yard line ranks 27th in the league (77.7) almost 15 points below the league average. Plugging Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel into the lineup over the past month has affected the continuity of the pass game. The Bills third down percentage in the red zone has also been subpar as Buffalo ranks 26th with a conversion rate of just under 29 percent (28.6%).

“We’ve left a lot of yardage out there,” said Marrone. “There are some things we’re doing well. There are some situations like the red zone touchdowns—we’ve obviously went back and did some more studying on how other teams have been successful in the red zone.  How we’re going to do something different, how we’re going to get over that hump.  Because obviously if we’re doing the same things we’re not going to get any different results.”

Still, the Bills yardage gained in the red zone ranks in the middle of the pack. They’re tied for 16th in the league at 2.83 yards per play, which isn’t bad down in the tight quarters of the red zone. Eric Wood is all for making some changes.

“I think we’re going to address our plan down there,” said Wood. “I think guys are going to look at themselves to see who they’ve executed individually down there and just try to fix what we’ve been doing. Whether that’s different schemes, you personally improving. I think it’ll all contribute.”

The Steelers rank 15th in the league in red zone defense allowing touchdowns more than 55 percent of the time (55.6%).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Red zone fixes won’t be easy

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2013 – 9:17 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone after reviewing the game tape, didn’t feel all that different about what cost them the game Sunday against the Jets. He knows what needs to be fixed, chief among them execution in the red zone on offense.

“Defensively we’ve done a good job this year in the red zone,” Marrone said. “Teams have been able to convert 40 percent for touchdowns, which is much improved than we’ve been before. Offensively right now we’re at 50 percent and that’s what hurt us. We wound up kicking three field goals and we weren’t able to convert them into touchdowns. That’s what we need to do to win. That’s it in a nutshell.”

Improving red zone touchdown efficiency may be easier said than done this Sunday when the Bills face the Ravens at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Baltimore’s red zone defense ranks ninth in the league, tied with the Bills defense allowing opponents to score touchdowns just 40 percent of the time. The difference between Baltimore and Buffalo however, is the Ravens have allowed half the number of possessions inside their 20-yard line.

The Bills have given opponents 10 possessions inside their 20 while Baltimore has surrendered just five. With just two touchdowns scored from the red zone on the Ravens all season, only Kansas City has allowed fewer touchdowns (1) this year through the first three weeks.


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Posted in Inside the Bills