Richie Incognito had a rough go of it last Thursday. The Buffalo Bills' left guard wasn't alone, either.
The Bills' offensive line is coming off its worst showing of the season in a Week 9 loss to the New York Jets. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was under constant duress, and was sacked nine times. Running back LeSean McCoy had nowhere to go, producing just 25 yards on the ground.
Incognito gutted through an ankle injury to take every snap, but clearly didn't look like himself. To add insult to injury, he vomited on the plane ride home.
"I had a rough go of it Thursday night. I had taken some painkillers to kind of get through the game," he said. "I got on the plane, didn't take my Dramamine and I got a little motion sick," he said Wednesday. "I was glad to get home and get some sleep. Rest up. Took Saturday and Sunday to get away, recharge."
Incognito admitted that it was "tough sledding" against the Jets, who boast a premier talent in Leonard Williams up front.
"They had a good game plan for us," he said. "They played well."
Four of the Bills' starting offensive linemen received negative grades for the game, according to analytics website Pro Football Focus, with right tackle Jordan Mills the lone exception. While PFF's ratings often times chafe players, the naked eye showed that the offensive line had some serious issues.
"I think we all need to play better," coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday when asked if he needed better play from the line. "I need to coach better, and that’s the part of growing as a football team; building as a football team into what we’re trying to become.
"To say we’re where we need to be, we’re not where we need to be. We’ve had moments, just like the offensive line has had moments. That’s what we’re looking for as we practice today, is to continue to establish the standard, really."
McDermott is never going to publicly rip a player or even a group, but the scheme change and shuffling at both left tackle and right guard have both had a negative impact on the line's performance overall. Taylor has been sacked 26 times, which is tied for second most in the NFL. While the quarterback shares blame for some of those, that number has to be a disappointment for the blockers up front.
According to analytics website Football Outsiders, the Bills rank 31st in the NFL in pass protection. That ranking takes into account sacks (and intentional grounding penalties) per pass attempt and is adjusted for down, distance and opponent. Additionally, the line ranks 22nd in run blocking, with an “adjusted line yards” of 3.78 yards per carry. That ranking is derived from a formula that takes all running back carries and assigns responsibility to the offensive line.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, McCoy averaged just 0.25 yards before contact per rush against the Jets – which is less than a foot of space.
Both Wood and Incognito fought through ankle injuries, while left tackle Cordy Glenn has been hobbled by foot and ankle injuries of his own all season.
“It's nice because we've had some time to stew on it,” Incognito said of the line’s poor showing. “We had a couple days off after the game, and now it's the time to come out and kind of get that bad taste out of our mouths.”