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Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan has been a sports writer at The Buffalo News for 35 years. He covers the Bills and the NFL and is a past president of the Pro Football Writers of America, as well as a past selector for Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Bills

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen will have to contend with overload safety blitzes against Minnesota very similar to what he faced against the Los Angeles Chargers. Vikings All-Pro safety Harrison Smith sacked San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (11) in a 4-on-3 overload blitz in Week 1. The 49ers running back properly picked up the most inside blitz…

Analysis

The matchup of the Buffalo Bills' offense and the Minnesota Vikings' defense is a contrast of opposites this week. The Vikings are in coach Mike Zimmer's defensive scheme for a fifth straight year. Ten of the 11 Vikings defensive starters are in their fourth season in the system. The Vikings were No. 1 in the NFL on defense last season. The Bills are in the first yea…

Bills

It’s no surprise the Buffalo Bills’ defense isn’t gambling much this season, given the team’s chaotic situation at cornerback. The Bills have endured injuries to both of their slot cornerbacks – Taron Johnson and Phillip Gaines – through two weeks. Of course, the Vontae Davis midgame retirement only added to the coverage problems in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Char…

Bills

Los Angeles Chargers rookie safety Derwin James was sitting at his locker stall Sunday afternoon answering a question about the sack he made in the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers walked by and said: “You should have had five, though!” James was a heat-seeking missile in the Chargers’ 31-20 victory over the Bills. The first…

Bills

The Buffalo Bills’ defense faced a familiar challenge against a great passing offense Sunday. Just like when they play New England’s Tom Brady, the Bills were betwixt and between in their 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. They were fearful of blitzing Chargers veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, whose quick release routinely skewers gambling defensive coordinato…

Analysis

FIRST QUARTER Theme: A repeat of Baltimore, minus the rain. Difference maker: Mike Williams. One of the many glaring differences between the passing games of the Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills is the No. 2 receiver position. The Chargers have the No. 7 overall pick from 2017 in Williams. The Bills have Zay Jones, who has yet to prove himself to be a matchup p…

Bills

Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley made his reputation running the “Legion of Boom” defense in Seattle, which relied heavily on three-deep zones. But the Chargers will mix it up to try to eliminate inside crossing concepts with “man-robber” coverage. It’s man-to-man across the board, but the strong safety will break down to become an underneath “robber.” On this…

Bills

The Buffalo Bills face one of the greatest “diagnosers” of defense in the NFL on Sunday. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is in the Tom Brady class when it comes to reading the rush and coverage before the snap and finding the open receiver on time and on rhythm. Watch Rivers at the line of scrimmage at New Era Field communicating with his teammates to …

Bills

Defending national champion Alabama is the top alma mater in the NFL. Alabama had 44 players on NFL opening-day rosters last weekend, tops among all colleges and universities, according to a Buffalo News breakdown. The Crimson Tide also led with 27 starters on NFL rosters. Second is ‘Bama’s Southeastern Conference rival, Louisiana State, with 40 players on NFL act…

Bills

The Buffalo Bills still have the least homegrown roster in the NFL in 2018. As of opening day, 19 of the 53 players on the Bills roster were players they drafted or signed out of college. That was fewest in the NFL and way below the league average of 31. The Bills also still are one of the oldest teams in the NFL – seventh oldest, with an average age of 26.47 years, …

Bills

The Baltimore Ravens ranked 29th in the NFL in passing last season. The Bills ranked 31st. The Ravens rebuilt their receiving corps, bidding goodbye to their top three wideouts from 2017. General manager Ozzie Newsome signed three new targets for the reasonable cost of $15 million in cash this year. Michael Crabtree got $8 million (and a three-year deal), John Brown …

Bills

The Buffalo Bills decided they had to win with the pass against the Baltimore Ravens. You can’t blame offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for that. Baltimore's run defense was too tough for the Bills. So the 47-3 outcome was a harsh reality check for the Buffalo passing game. It was not capable of carrying the load ... at least not with Nathan Peterman at quarterba…

Bills

There’s a temptation to say the Bills’ 47-3 loss at Baltimore Sunday was the worst performance in team history. There’s always some recency bias in any best or worst ranking. It wasn’t the most inept game in team history. It was close. It was the second-worst margin of defeat in team history, behind only the 2007 home loss to New England, 56-10. But the Patriots went 16…

Analysis

The opening script was masterful. The personnel groupings and formations were constantly shifting. The play-action run fakes were creating gaps in the defense. The matchups were being exploited. All the things Buffalo Bills fans were hoping to see from their team’s offense were on display Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Unfortunately for the Bills, it was Ra…

Bills

BILLS-RAVENS 1ST QUARTER Theme: The Bills looked ready for a 4 p.m. kickoff. Matchup watch: Which team showed up with the better quarterback? It was no contest. Say what you want about sometimes-maligned Joe Flacco, but he improved to 93-62 for his regular-season career as a starter. Flacco knew exactly where to go with the ball. Nathan Peterman, in his third care…