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Pro Football Focus: Bills need more from their offensive line

Pro Football Focus will be contributing to BNblitz.com all season long. 

One of the key areas of the Bills' offseason changes was the offensive line, with four new starters brought in to help protect Josh Allen and open holes for a running game that struggled last season.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Bills at No. 18 in our offensive line rankings before the start of the season and nothing, through two games, has stood out to improve their place on the list.

Using the Premium Stats available with PFF Elite subscriptions, we analyzed how the offensive line has performed as a unit and individually through the first two games.

The Bills' offensive line ranks tied for 22nd in pass blocking efficiency (83.1), a rating that measures pressure allowed on a per-snap basis with weighting toward sacks allowed, through two games. The Bills have allowed 22 total pressures in 85 pass blocking snaps with 10 pressures being hits on the quarterback (five sacks and five hits allowed).

On Sunday vs. the Giants, Buffalo struggled – allowing 12 total pressures, including four sacks, and their pass blocking efficiency ranked No. 28 in the league at 77.8. This comes against a Giants defensive front that has generated a league-worst 54.4 pass rush grade this season. Note that only three sacks of Allen are listed in the game stats, but PFF tracks sacks a bit differently. Similar to how the NFL "splits sacks" by defenders, we accredit full sacks to the OL if they're beaten by defenders and allow that split sack. On one of the split sacks, two offensive linemen combined to get beaten, so PFF accredits that sack to both of them, since they both allowed that sack.

At first glance, the Bills' rushing attack on Sunday appeared to have been rolling as the team averaged a solid 4.4 yards per attempt. However, a deeper dive into the rushing numbers shows that much of those yards were the work of the Bills’ running backs and not the offensive line. The duo of Devin Singletary and Frank Gore combined for 69 yards after contact and forced four missed tackles.

In particular, the Bills offensive line failed to create any movement between the tackles. When taking away the 55 yards created after contact on inside runs, the Bills running game generated only 26 yards on 19 carries when running between the tackles against the Giants.

Here’s a breakdown of how each member of the Bills offensive line has performed individually through two weeks.

Dion Dawkins, left tackle

Dawkins has generated a 57.8 overall grade, 45th among 71 offensive tackles that have logged 50 or more snaps. He’s allowed six total pressures (three sacks) in 85 pass blocking snaps with a 70.5 pass-block grade. As a run blocker, Dawkins has struggled with a 52.7 grade, 48th among offensive tackles.

PFF Week 2 breakdown: 53.2 overall grade, 73.7 pass block grade, 52.0 run block grade, 3 pressures allowed.

Quinton Spain, left guard

Spain has generated the top grade of the Bills’ offensive linemen to start the season at 66.8. He’s been solid in the running game, posting a 66.7 run-block grade, top 20 among guards. In pass protection, Spain has struggled a bit with a 60.8 pass-block grade and six pressures allowed.

PFF Week 2 breakdown: 77.6 overall grade, 74.6 pass block grade, 74.5 run block grade, 3 pressures allowed.

Mitch Morse, center

Morse has been middle-of-the-road through two games among centers this season as his 65.7 overall grade ranks 12th at the position. He’s allowed two pressures resulting in a 71.3 pass block grade and his 61.9 run block grade ranks 15th through two weeks.

PFF Week 2 breakdown: 60.6 overall grade, 71.0 pass block grade, 56.7 run-block grade, 1 pressure allowed.

Right Guard: Jon Feliciano

Through two games, Feliciano has been a bright spot along the line in pass protection with only two quarterback pressures allowed in 85 pass-block snaps. His 78.0 pass block grade currently ranks 12th among guards. Feliciano has also been above average in the running game with a 64.8 run-block grade, ranking at No. 24.

PFF Week 2 breakdown: 66.0 overall grade, 72.4 pass block grade, 61.4 run block grade, 1 pressure allowed.

Right Tackle: Ty Nsekhe / Cody Ford

Nsekhe and Ford have split the Bills’ 136 total snaps right down the middle through two weeks with 68 apiece. Each player has allowed three quarterback pressures through two games with two of Ford’s resulting in sacks. Nsekhe has performed slightly better over two games with a 57.8 overall grade compared to Ford’s 50.9 grade.

Nsekhe’s PFF Week 2 breakdown: 59.1 overall grade, 72.1 pass block grade, 60.9 run-block grade, 2 pressures allowed (38 snaps).

Ford’s PFF Week 2 breakdown: 49.5 overall grade, 54.5 pass block grade, 69.3 run block grade, 2 pressures allowed (32 snaps).

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