Xs and Os - The Buffalo News

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Jerry Hughes is proving that qood technique and proper leverage are more important than girth in setting the edge. The Bills' star defensive end weighs only 254 pounds but he's having an excellent season defending the run. He has been especially effective setting the edge, which is keeping the running back from getting outside his right end position and onto the perimet…

Bills

The Jets' longest pass play of the past five weeks was a 44-yarder from Josh McCown to Jermaine Kearse in the Oct. 15 loss to New England. It was a case of a perfect call against the Patriots' Cover 3 zone, which is one of the favored Bills coverages. Kearse (10) and Jeremy Kerley (11) criss-crossed deep downfield. Pats cornerback Malcolm Butler (21), responsible fo…

Bills

Textbook power-running execution on LeSean McCoy's 48-yard touchdown run was the exclamation point of a superb ground game for the Buffalo Bills Sunday. The Bills attacked downhill off left tackle to outnumber the Raiders at the point of attack, and McCoy showed his breakaway speed when he got to the second level of the defense. Vlad Ducasse pulled from right guard a…

Bills

One play stood out for Buffalo Bills right tackle Jordan Mills as he watched video of Oakland sackmaster Khalil Mack in last week's game against Kansas City. Mack used one arm to bull rush Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher backward into the lap of quarterback Alex Smith. "I looked at that play about 10 times and looked at what not to do," Mills said after the Bills' 34-14 vi…

Bills

Khalil Mack vs. Jordan Mills It will not just be the Bills' right tackle against the Raiders' superstar edge rusher. The Bills often will have a running back or a tight end on Mack's side of the field. Mack rushes off right tackle 75 percent of the time and off left tackle 25 percent. One of the few times Mack was one-on-one with Mills in last season's game, Mack hit Ty…

Xs and Os

Oakland sackmaster Khalil Mack is a game-wrecker and the reigning NFL defensive player of the year. Expect the Bills to use a running back or a tight end to the side of right tackle Jordan Mills to help double-team No. 52 on most pass plays. Sometimes, opponents even try to triple-team him. In a game against Carolina last November, the Panthers used slot receiver Ke…

Bills

The defense has carried the Buffalo Bills through the early part of games this season. The Bills have managed just two field goals in the first quarter, the lowest scoring output in the NFL. It hasn't mattered much, however, because the Buffalo defense has allowed only 19 first-quarter points. The first quarter may matter a little more Sunday when the Oakland Raiders…

Bills

A super-quick release and a protective offensive scheme make it hard to force Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr into big mistakes. Carr was the least-sacked quarterback in the NFL last season, even though the Raiders attempted the ninth most passes in the league. Carr's career sack rate is sixth lowest in NFL history. He gets taken down just 3.99 percent of his pas…

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Oakland's offense has dangerous big-play capability out of running formations, and the Raiders will scheme to get star receiver Amari Cooper in favorable one-on-one matches. Cooper (89) caught a 64-yard touchdown pass out of this grouping against the Chargers last season. San Diego had to stay in its base defense because of the extra tackle and a fullback on the fie…

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Tyrod Taylor enjoyed his fifth best yards-producing game in 35 starts as the Buffalo Bills' quarterback in Sunday's win over Tampa Bay. Taylor combined for 321 yards – 268 passing and 53 rushing. Taylor again showed his ability to make throws on the move. And he burned the Tampa defense with scrambles against man-to-man coverage. Opposing defenses may want to be ju…

Sports

The Buffalo Bills showed off diversity in their running game in Sunday's 30-27 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bills had some success running out of five different personnel groupings. They executed both their zone running plays and the gap-scheme runs that have pulling linemen leading the way. It all added up to 173 rushing yards on 33 carries, the bigges…

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Play to Watch: Back-shoulder pass to Cam Brate Who leads all NFL tight ends in touchdown catches since the start of 2016? Rob Gronkowski? Travis Kelce? Antonio Gates? No. It's Tampa Bay's Cam Brate, who has 12, including four this season. The third-year Harvard product is 6-foot-5 with a big wingspan. This was an 18-yard TD catch for Brate (84) against New Englan…

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Richie Incognito vs. Gerald McCoy The Bills' star guard has two tough assignments in a row after going up on occasion two weeks ago against Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Now Incognito faces a player who's arguably a tad better than Atkins. The top four 3-technique defensive tackles in the league, in one order or another, are the Rams' Aaron Donald, the Bucs' Mc…

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is in some ways the opposite of Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor. Winston is a gunslinger. Taylor is especially careful with his passes. Winston is an elite arm-talent, and he will use his cannon-launcher to challenge tight windows in the defensive secondary. Taylor usually does not. One good ingredient to a Bills victory over th…

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Big-Play Breakdown: Bucs' seam route to Mike Evans Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is good at throwing down the seams to the intermediate and deep parts of the field. He likes to throw to the inside receiver. He has complete faith in star receiver Mike Evans. Sometimes Winston forces it to Evans when he shouldn't. This was a red-zone interception against Min…