Top 3 things we learned from Bills-Broncos

Posted Sep 24, 2017

Buffalo's passing game comes together, Shady can still help when the run game isn't clicking and Stephen Hauschka has got a heck of a leg.

1 – Passing game finds rhythm
The Bills passing game was determined to get out of the rut they were in the week before at Carolina. Against Denver’s defense they worked to take advantage of their man coverage approach and got results.

Tyrod Taylor had a pair of touchdown passes and threw for 213 yards on 20 of 26 passing. They certainly weren’t perfect, but on a day when their run game was held in check, the pass game was there to pick up the slack.

“We were able to do a couple of different things in the passing game,” said Taylor. “We used some crossing routes because we knew they were a man team. We even got on the edge with our keepers. I think it was good that we mixed up different protections to try to calm down (Von Miller) and not let him rush free. Ultimately the guys went out and took the challenge on the outside and were able to make some plays and I’m proud of those guys.”

Jordan Matthews and Kaelin Clay each caught passes for 28 yards on the team’s first touchdown drive. Matthews added another for 25 yards along with a Nick O’Leary, who made a great play down the far sideline for a 31-yard reception along the far sideline to set up Buffalo’s second touchdown drive.

Chunk plays in the passing game made a huge difference in the game.

“I felt that Tyrod had a little more time to throw so shout out to the offensive line for doing that on some of those long pass plays,” said Matthews. “He was poised back there. There were a couple of times in the game where you felt we weren’t going to finish the deal. And Tyrod was cool and collected and he was like, ‘Hey guys c’mon we’ve got to be smarter and make sure we finish these drives.’ Fortunately, we were able to.”

2 – McCoy helps in other ways
For the second straight week, the Bills run game was slowed down by an opposing defense determined to stop it. But that didn’t keep LeSean McCoy from making plays when they were needed. McCoy proved more effective in the passing game making seven receptions in the game to lead the team.

“Their defense tried to take out the running game, so we went to a lot of the play actions, a lot of the bootlegs, get (Tyrod Taylor) out of the pocket,” said McCoy. “Stretching the ball, pulling the back, throwing the ball down the field, making some runs. And whatever it takes to win, that’s what we’ll do.”

With seven receptions Sunday, LeSean McCoy became the third active running back with 400 receptions and 9,000 rushing yards.

“When Shady had to give it to us he found a way,” said Matthews. “He was matched up at the end. I still think there are a lot of things we can still get better at, but I think guys were pretty happy with what we were able to do out there.”

3- Bills have a clutch kicker
Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka was a busy man Sunday. He helped Buffalo keep pace with the Broncos in the first half hitting from 49 yards and 55 yards just before the half expired to make it a 13-13 tie at the break.

Then in the second half, Hauschka hit a clutch 53-yard field goal after the Bills had forced a turnover on downs early in the fourth quarter to put Buffalo up by seven early in the fourth quarter.

His two 50-plus yard efforts made Hauschka the first Bills kicker to hit two 53-plus yard field goals in the same game.

“It felt great. The ball is flying well,” he said. “It was above 80 degrees. It’s like this a lot in Buffalo, right? The ball was flying well and feeling good mentally, physically and it was just nice for things to come together.”

Hauschka hit a 27-yard attempt to put the game on ice with three minutes remaining, which gave the Bills a two-score lead (26-16).

As impressive as Hauschka’s long-distance exploits were, he could’ve kicked from even further away in this game.

After pre-game warmups, the limit he communicated to head coach Sean McDermott was further than his 55-yarder.

“Depending on the game situation we could’ve stretched it pretty long,” he said. “The ball was flying good and I was hitting it well. That direction that I made most of the field goals the max was probably 58 and in the other direction it was probably 63 or 64.”