Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has faced heavy criticism this week from fans for running the football as much as he did in the Bills’ 20-point win over the Jets. While there is no debating that the run game did not produce a respectable yards per carry average it did open other things up that were just as important in the victory.
Below Hackett capably explains that the run game isn’t always about averaging four yards a carry. It’s also about keeping a defense honest. It’s about wearing a defense down and giving your offensive line enough of a feel as to how to block certain individual opponents up front. Buffalo’s explosive plays in the passing game may not have happened were it not for Hackett’s persistence to run more than the Bills threw.
“There was not a lot of explosive plays in the run game,” Hackett admitted. “The run game was about getting two yards, three yards, four yards, getting into a manageable third down situation, and then your quarterback can convert.
“When you have a good run game you’re always looking for one that’s going to pop. You want to wear down a defense, you want to keep on running at them. You want the offensive line to get a feel for the blocking scheme, get a feel for the guys they’re going against. If you all of a sudden run the ball four times and don’t get five yards or 10 yards and you just leave it, then if you start throwing the ball every time, you’re going to be susceptible to interceptions, sacks, sack-fumbles.
“I think you have to commit to it so you can do the play action game and all those things and it opens up those things. That’s why when we throw the ball 17-times we get four touchdowns. You look at those things and you say, ‘Why was the pass game so efficient?’ A lot of it was because we were running the ball and those guys had to honor it. And once you have a guy like Sammy Watkins out there, Robert Woods, who are being successful in those limited pass reps, now the defense starts playing a little bit softer. That’s when the run game starts getting more effective.
“Last week (against the Jets), the big thing was they knew we were going to run the ball because we had the lead and it was a dramatic lead throughout some of the game. I don’t want to turn the ball over. That was the big thing we stressed as a group, as an offense. We said we’ve been a turnover machine for the last three games and as long as we don’t turn over the ball we’re going to be in every single game with the people we have on this team. That was something that we wanted to focus on and you’ve got to run the ball to do that.”
Tags: Nathaniel Hackett
Posted in Inside the Bills