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Consulting With The Coaches

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Bills coaching staff earns praise for impressive game plan in win over Cowboys

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The Buffalo Bills took care of business Sunday with a 31-10 victory over the Cowboys, improving to 6-1 at Highmark Stadium this season.

Buffalo played sound football on both sides of the ball, rushing for the most yards in a single game in the Sean McDermott era and limiting the Cowboys to 92 yards through the first three quarters — the fewest by Dallas since the 2010 season.

The day after the resounding victory, the Bills coaching staff earned glowing remarks for their game plan to take down one of the best teams in the NFL. 

ESPN analyst and TV show host Pat McAfee has been impressed over the last several weeks with an underlying statistic of the Bills offense, one that can go unnoticed if you aren't looking for it. Ball control.

"The Bills have controlled (the ball) like crazy under Joe Brady," McAfee said Monday on his show

In the four games that Brady has been calling plays, the Bills have run 63 more plays than their opponents (301 vs. 238), an average of nearly 16 more offensive snaps on a per game basis. They've possessed the ball for an average of 37 minutes per game during that stretch.

Buffalo's ability to control the ball and the clock is one of the reasons the team is 3-1 since Week 11. 

McAfee also credited Buffalo's defensive line, coached by Eric Washington, for their third down pass rush efficiency. This season, the Bills defense leads the league in pressure rate on third downs. On Sunday, Buffalo sacked Cowboys QB Dak Prescott three times; all of those sacks came on a third down pass play. 

"Very pleased with the performance, what we were able to do, in terms of creating generating pressure against a quarterback," said assistant head coach Eric Washington. "There were a couple of things in the run game that I thought were a little leaky that, you know, as far as our gap control, our gap clarity was concerned, but the effort was fantastic. The awareness was there. So, just overall, I thought they were good and looking forward to continuing to improve."

Monday morning, ESPN's Dan Orlovsky — a weekly guest on One Bills Live — said the Bills' game plan of being physical and creating mismatches at the line of scrimmage tilted the matchup in Buffalo's favor.

"What was very clear was Buffalo had throughout the week figured out how they wanted to attack Dallas," Orlovsky said on Get Up!

In his postgame comments from Sunday, McDermott also complemented the coaching staff and the players for their commitment to executing the game plan.

"The preparation during the week, the guys did a phenomenal job, along with the staff. I need to credit the staff," McDermott said. "Good game plans on all three phases. You know, in order to prepare to play like that, it takes a lot of preparation by the coaches, by the staff. The players put in a lot of time. They knew the challenge."

In his weekly The Hot Read column, The Ringer's Benjamin Solak pointed out how invested the Bills were in the run game when they started to find success against the Cowboys defense. Josh Allen only needed to complete seven passes as the Bills rushed 49 times for 266 yards.

"The Cowboys had no answer for the running game—but that doesn't change how impressed I am that Joe Brady and the Buffalo offense committed to it. The Bills were at 7-6, with the season functionally in the balance every week, and it's very hard to take the ball out of Josh Allen's hands. You want to let your star players carry you to the promised land," Solak wrote.

"To see the favorable matchup and run the ball at a rate you hadn't hit in ages requires a lot of faith in an offense that has been … mercurial. Kudos to them for sticking to their plan and executing it."

Interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady says he was confident in continuing to lean on the run game based on the way the offensive line was able to generate a consistent push at the line of scrimmage.

"Seeing the way they were playing made it easier calling those," he said.

Injury Update on a short week

The Bills will have a short week to prepare for the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night.

Buffalo will start their week of practice with a walk-through on Tuesday and Sean McDermott gave an update on injuries going into Week 16. McDermott shared that DT Jordan Phillips underwent wrist surgery after the game Sunday and is "week-to-week", likely meaning he won't play against the Chargers.

RB Ty Johnson (shoulder) will need further evaluation later this week to determine his status. RB Leonard Fournette could see his first game as a Bill if Johnson were to miss time.

As for DE A.J. Epenesa and S Micah Hyde, they are "improving" according to McDermott after being deemed "week-to-week" prior to the Cowboys game. 

The Bills initial Week 16 injury report will be shared following Tuesday's walk-through.

Check out the best photos from on the field and in the locker room following a convincing win over the Cowboys in Highmark Stadium.

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