For going on three years now, the Bills have made it clear they want to run the football to set up the pass.
And while most of the NFL has gotten pass-happier, Buffalo's philosophy was logical due to its ownership of the league's most efficient run game.
Clearly, through nine contests in 2017, the Bills don't have the most efficient ground attack in pro football anymore. Far from that, actually.
Is it time to change their way of thinking on offense, and move away from a run-first mentality?
Of the 26 quarterbacks who've played at least eight games so far this season, Tyrod Taylor threw the football the fewest times (82) on first down in the NFL.
Here's how the Bills quarterback fared passing on first down:
- 52 of 82 (63.4 percent)
- 584 yards (7.12 yards per attempt)
- 3 TDs, 0 INT
- 96.8 passer rating
That passer rating was the 16th-best of the 26 quarterbacks who met the aforementioned criteria.
As an offense, the Bills have run the football 129 times on 230 first downs (56 percent of the time) through nine games, which is currently the 11th-highest percentage of run plays on first down.
On those 129 first-down runs, Buffalo has averaged 3.64 yards per carry, the 11th-lowest figure in football.
On 186 second downs, the Bills have an even 50/50 split of run and pass plays (93). That run percentage of 50 percent is the sixth-highest in the NFL. On those second down rushes, Buffalo has mustered just 3.10 yards on average, the second-lowest figure in the league.
All that – a relatively high amount of run plays with a relatively low amount of success – has led to the Bills averaging the third-longest distance to go on third downs (8.22 yards).
Only the Browns (8.44) and Bears (8.46) have averaged further yards to go on third down than the Bills through Week 10.
For the season, Buffalo actually has the seventh-best third-down conversion rate (41.7 percent), but in their last two games, the Bills have converted on just 32.1 percent of their third-down opportunities (seventh-worst in the NFL). They've averaged 8.07 yards to go in those contests (seventh-highest average).
Even with Nathan Peterman at quarterback, the numbers suggest the Bills need to flip the script on their play-calling philosophy.
More throws on first and second down to either move the chains or get to more third-and-short situations will be beneficial to the rookie signal-caller and Buffalo's offense in general.