Inside The Bills

1st down told the story

Posted by Chris Brown on October 12, 2014 – 8:13 pm

Going into Sunday’s game between the Bills and Patriots, in our Scouting Report, the Number One Must listed for the Bills to have a chance against the Pats was 1st down efficiency on offense. While the turnovers and penalties certainly played a significant part in the loss to New England, Buffalo’s offensive efficiency on first down had a lot to say about the outcome as well.

Coming into the game Buffalo was averaging a healthy 5.66 yards on first down, good for 10th best in the league. Even better New England’s defense ranked 28th in yards allowed on first down (6.14). Unfortunately a combination of inconsistent execution by the Bills and some stout play by the Patriots defense added up to an unproductive day on first down for Buffalo’s attack. Here are the numbers.

Bills first down summary
27 plays, 66 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 fumbles lost, seven incompletions, four plays negative yardage
Avg. gain per first down play – 2.44 yards

Buffalo averaged less than half the yardage they had been gaining on first down through the first five games this season (5.66). Even worse all three of their turnovers came on first down plays as well. That led to long down and distance in many cases on second and third down. To Buffalo’s credit their third down conversion percentage was good considering the lack of positive yardage on first down (8-15, 53%). But first down has to be better, especially with a run first attack like Buffalo’s.

On the other side, New England’s offense didn’t have much more success than Buffalo’s in the first half. The Patriots first down summary through the first two quarters looked like this – 15 plays, 56 yards and a touchdown.

Come the second half however, things changed for New England’s offense – 16 plays, 128 yards, TD. All told here’s how New England’s offense performed for the entire game.

Patriots first down summary
31 plays, 184 yards, 2 TDs, four incompletions, four plays negative yardage
Avg. gain per first down play – 5.93 yards


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