The Buffalo Bills' offense has struggled mightily in second halves recently, even in games the team has won.
Buffalo hasn't scored a touchdown in the second half in the past five weeks, with the Bills' only post-halftime trip to the end zone coming in overtime against the Indianapolis Colts. The team has been shut out in the third and fourth quarters twice: the Colts game and Week 13 against the New England Patriots.
When you combine the past five second halves, Buffalo has scored nine points in 10 quarters of play. They've allowed 62.
"We're looking at that," head coach Sean McDermott said. "(Offensive coordinator) Rick (Dennison) and his staff continue to look hard at that in terms of the communication from one half to the next half and the overall adjustments from one half to another half. We've got to continue to look at that and work to make sure that that gets better as we move forward."
In the Bills' most recent performance, a 37-16 loss to New England, Buffalo scored three points and only entered the red zone once in the second half. The Patriots were able to run away with a game that was tied at the half.
Dennison pushed the blame away from poor adjustments, instead saying the lack of production is caused by missed opportunities.
"It's going to come down to just being consistent and executing every play," Dennison said. "Certainly, that's what we found looking yesterday. We had some chances in the second half to make some plays. We didn't make it."
Dennison noted the lack of scoring isn't entirely the players' fault, though.
"I think it's a little bit of everything," Dennison said. "Us as coaches have got to make sure we put the right guys in the right spot, too. There's no double about that."
The lack of second-half scoring hasn't sunk the Bills, as represented by their 3-2 record during this stretch.
The team still defeated Kansas City, 16-10, despite being outscored 7-3 in the final two frames. LeSean McCoy and Deonte Thompson made big plays in overtime to bail the Bills out after being outscored 7-0 by the Colts in the second half, and Miami dug itself into too deep a hole to take advantage of Buffalo punting three times and failing to complete a 4th and 7 attempt in the second half.
Even when the final result was positive, the Bills put themselves in positions where they need a turnover or late defensive stop to win games they previously were in control of.
Kansas City had the ball with a chance to win with 2:28 remaining in the game despite the Bills taking a two-score lead into halftime. Tre'Davious White sealed a Bills victory with an interception at the Buffalo 36-yard line.
The story was the same when the Bills last faced this week's opponent, the Dolphins, back in Week 15. The Bills handled Miami in the first, getting out to a 21-6 lead. Buffalo only tacked on three points in the second half, allowing the Dolphins to cut the lead to eight. Miami had the ball at their own 37-yard line with a chance to tie when White intercepted Cutler.
Relying on turnovers is a risky strategy. If the Bills don't make an adjustment, their luck could run out in the regular season finale.