Xs and Os - The Buffalo News

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The Buffalo Bills' offense has been good at keeping drives alive this season and great at converting third-and-manageable situations. The Bills rank seventh in third-down offense overall, converting 42 percent of their chances. The Bills are second in the league in third-and-5 or less, converting 65 percent. Only Dallas, at 66 percent, is better on third and 1 to 5. …

Bills

Bills' fullback lead zone run Miami's defensive tackles are stout but the linebackers can be attacked in the run game. This was a fullback lead zone run the Bills hit for 14 yards in the win two weeks ago. Center Eric Wood (70) got a piece of defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (97) then got to the second level and bulled linebacker Kiko Alonso (47). Fullback Patric…

Bills

Tyrod Taylor's 281 passing yards Sunday were his second-most this year and the sixth most of his career. He left too many plays on the field. It was not a good enough overall performance for the Buffalo Bills' quarterback in the 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots. Taylor took six sacks. The first four were his fault, either by running into pressure or holding …

Bills

PATS-BILLS MATCHUP WINNERS Rob Gronkowski vs. Leslie Frazier The Bills "held" the All-Pro tight end to five catches for 67 yards and one touchdown. Considering Gronkowski was averaging 85 yards a game this season, it wasn't bad defense. Yet Gronkowski showed his greatness on his 17-yard TD catch, twisting his body to make a one-handed catch. The Bills did a lot of br…

Bills

The failure of the Buffalo Bills' offense to capitalize on scoring chances cost the team its upset bid Sunday in New England. The Bills were 0 for 4 in the red zone in the 37-16 loss. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and his receiving corps continually came up short inside the Patriots' 20-yard line. Those missed opportunities lead this week's 10 plays that shaped the game: …

Bills

Bills DTs vs. Joe Thuney Thuney struggled in pass protection in the first meeting in Buffalo three weeks ago. Look for the Pats' left guard to be highly motivated for an improved performance. The Pats drafted Thuney in the third round in 2016, and he has started every game the past two years. He had pass-protection struggles as a rookie. His performance has improved thi…

Bills

Mark Gaughan's Play to Watch: Patriots screen game New England historically is an excellent screen pass team. This season the Pats' screen game has struggled. "Our screen game hasn’t been as productive as we need it to be," coach Bill Belichick said the week before the first meeting with the Bills. "We need to, obviously, coach it better and execute it better. We’re …

Bills

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of X's and O's, and the team promotes him each week in a video segment breaking down game film of the upcoming opponent, as well as film from the Patriots' previous game. The segments are co-hosted by former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak. Here is Belichick's film breakdown from the Bills-Pats meeti…

Bills

If the New England Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl this season, it's going to require Tom Brady's heaviest lift ever. The current Patriots defense is worse than any of the defenses that helped Brady to his previous five Super Bowl rings. This isn't to say the New England defense is bad. It's respectable. New England stands sixth in the NFL in points allowed,…

Bills

New England has been running this play successfully since Tom Brady took over as quarterback in 2001. Randy Moss hit a variation of this play on the Buffalo Bills in 2007. First down. Running personnel. Two tight ends, two running backs. Maximum protection and just one receiver in the downfield pattern. Brady is a wonderful ball-handler and sells good play-action fakes. …

Bills

The Miami Dolphins are relying more on the blitz to try to bolster a pass rush that ranks 27th in the NFL. Miami blitzed Tyrod Taylor on 14 of 35 drop-backs in the Bills' 24-16 victory Sunday. That's the highest rate (40 percent) any team has sent five or more rushers at the Bills this season. The Bills handled it well enough. Taylor was an adequate 5 of 11 for 77 ya…

Bills

Vlad Ducasse and Jordan Mills were standouts for the Buffalo Bills' offensive line in Sunday's victory over the Miami Dolphins. Ducasse held his own at right guard against Miami star Ndamukong Suh and paved the way for some good runs by LeSean McCoy. Mills held off Miami's best edge rusher, Cameron Wake, in one-on-one pass protection virtually the whole game. Cred…

Bills

Bills vs. Miami third-down D Miami had allowed opponents to convert just 1 of 24 third-down situations the past two weeks. Miami ranked sixth overall on third-down defense, allowing only 34 percent conversions. The Bills snapped the Dolphin hot streak. Buffalo converted 7 of 15 plays, 47 percent. Tyrod Taylor, Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy made the Dolphins pay on th…

Bills

A rare fast start by the offense made the Buffalo Bills' path to victory over the Miami Dolphins a lot easier on Sunday. The Bills scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time this season. (Two field goal drives were the only opening-march scores for Buffalo in the first 13 games.) The Bills scored more than 14 points in the first half for the first t…

Bills

Matchup Watch: Dolphins at Bills Jarvis Landry vs. Leonard Johnson It's good that the Bills are getting their slot cornerback back. Johnson missed the Colts game with a sore knee but it didn't matter due to the winter weather. This week the Bills face one of the top slot receivers in the NFL in Landry. He's second in the NFL in catches with 88, and 50 of them have co…