Xs and Os - The Buffalo News

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Bills

An offensively challenged team like the Buffalo Bills can't afford to squander scoring opportunities against the New England Patriots. That's exactly how Sunday's game began, and the Bills essentially were playing from behind during the entire 23-3 loss. Tyrod Taylor's first-and-goal interception from the New England 6-yard line started the Bills' slide and was the f…

Bills

New England's base defense is the 4-3, but the Patriots will line up in more diverse fronts on all downs more than most teams. Against the Bills last season, they used some "bear fronts" as a way of clogging the running lanes for LeSean McCoy. The Jets successfully used similar condensed fronts, with a head-up nose tackle flanked by two linemen squeezing in the middle in 3…

Bills

Mark Gaughan's Matchup Watch: Patriots at Bills LeSean McCoy vs. Kyle Van Noy The question will be whether the Bills can get McCoy into one-on-one open-field situations against Van Noy. The expectation is Bill Belichick will work to take McCoy away and say to Tyrod Taylor: "Go ahead, beat us with these wideouts, if you can." If the Patriots go with a reduced front, p…

Bills

No cheap deep might as well be a motto of the Buffalo Bills' defense. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier tries hard to make teams work for scores, and he has done a pretty good job of it from a pass-coverage perspective. The Bills have allowed only three 40-plus pass plays, tied for fourth fewest in the NFL. The challenge gets tougher Sunday against New England.…

Bills

BIG-PLAY BREAKDOWN: Rob Gronkowski's Goal-Line Fade Rob Gronkowski has 75 career receiving TDs in only eight seasons, which ranks No. 3 all-time among tight ends and No. 33 overall. The goal-line or red-zone fade to the New England tight end is one of the hardest-to-defend plays in the NFL. The Pats line him up alone on one side with three receivers to the opposi…

Bills

Everything becomes easier for your football team when you have one of or both of the following: 1. An elite quarterback. 2. Dominance on the line of scrimmage. The Buffalo Bills did a lot of good defensive scheming Sunday in putting the Kansas City Chiefs' offense in a straightjacket. Yet the 16-10 victory all started up front, where the Bills' front seven won the ba…

Bills

MATCHUP WINNERS: Bills at Chiefs Travis Kelce vs. Bracket coverage The Chiefs' All-Pro tight end was held to three catches for 39 yards. Amazing. He entered the game leading all tight ends in both catches (59) and yards (738). There was a bunch of bracket coverage on the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was looking for Kelce on a third-and-9 play i…

Bills

Travis Kelce vs. Micah Hyde The Bills have not faced many top tight ends this season. Now they get Kelce, arguably just as tough a matchup as the Pats' Rob Gronkowski. At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, he's not quite as powerful as Gronk, but he's faster. Kelce led NFL tight ends last season with 1,125 yards on 85 catches. He's on pace for 94 catches and 1,181 yards this season.…

Bills

Mark Gaughan's Play to Watch: Deep post to Travis Kelce Elite tight ends are tough matchups because they're too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers. Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce is a matchup nightmare for defenses because he can not only beat safeties with speed, but cornerbacks, too. The Chiefs like to line him up alone on one side of the …

Bills

The Buffalo Bills have not been able to take advantage of one of Tyrod Taylor's better strengths this season. Throwing deep has been a Bills weakness through 10 games. Taylor ranks 16th in the NFL in yards gained on passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield, according to Pro Football Focus statistics. The Bills are on pace to finish in the bottom 10 in both pass plays…

Bills

The Buffalo Bills' defenders will have their minds full in preparing for the Kansas City offense this week. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is the master of misdirection. His offense is heavy on shifts, motion, bunch formations and fake-action opposite the actual direction of the play. The idea is to make the defense play slower. "It's a lot of deception," said Bills …

Bills

Big Play Breakdown: Fake Jet Sweep Power-Shovel Option This 15-yard touchdown against Philadelphia in Week 2 is a good example of how Kansas City coach Andy Reid deploys his two game-breaking offensive weapons, tight end Travis Kelce (87) and receiver Tyreek Hill (10). The Chiefs run a lot of fake jet sweeps. Hill ran in motion to the left and then back to the righ…

Bills

The Buffalo Bills' deficient pass rush had another forgettable outing Sunday. The Bills are not getting to the quarterback with four rushers, so they tried more five-man rushes against the Los Angeles Chargers. To no avail. The Bills blitzed Philip Rivers 10 times in 37 drop-backs in the 54-24 loss at StubHub Center. Rivers was 8 of 10 for 118 yards when blitzed, …

Bills

The Buffalo Bills tried hard not to put rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman in bad positions Sunday in Los Angeles. So much for best-laid plans. The Bills kept extra blockers in to protect on nine of Peterman's 14 pass attempts. Peterman's inexperience and the greatness of Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa combined to blow up the Bills' game plan in their 54-24 defeat. …

Bills

CHARGERS-BILLS MATCHUP WINNERS Joey Bosa vs. Jordan Mills The Chargers' star was too much for the Bills' right tackle. Bosa had four hits on the quarterback, one sack and a forced fumble. He was even a bigger factor than the numbers suggest. Bosa hurried Nathan Peterman on the first interception (although Patrick DiMarco dropped the pass). He bull-rushed Mills and hi…