Bills Today: D-line to work around being low on numbers


Here's the Bills news of note for Nov. 7th

**1 - D-line to work around being low on numbers

**The Bills enter tonight's game down a couple of defensive tackles in Marcell Dareus and Corbin Bryant. Both are out with groin and shoulder injuries respectively. It leaves them with just four defensive linemen in Leger Douzable, Adolphus Washington, Kyle Williams and Jerel Worthy.

So will Buffalo's defensive plan have to adjust? Not really according to head coach Rex Ryan.

"We'll just do a good job rotating guys and we're real heavy at outside linebacker-defensive end type guys who can always fill in," said Ryan.

Ryan hinted that Shaq Lawson, who has kicked inside on passing downs, could be a candidate to line up at defensive tackle in Buffalo's 3-4 front. He's the heaviest outside linebacker at 270 pounds. Brandon Spikes has also lined up at defensive end or outside linebacker on run downs to help set the edge.

Buffalo has often gone with just two or even one down linemen in their sub-packages, frequently deploying four and five linebackers in nickel and dime packages.

2 - Built to play with the leadWhen the Bills have had early leads in games they've done well. In Week 3 they jumped out to a 17-0 lead and coasted to victory. In Week 4 they took a 7-0 lead and methodically posted a shutout win. And in Weeks 4 and 5 they overcame early field goal deficits with touchdown drives and built leads en route to victory.

Coming from behind when the deficit is more than a field goal however, has been an issue for the Bills. Buffalo has only overcome a deficit of four points or more once in the last two seasons, at Tennessee in Week 5 last year.

"We've got to try to get better in those situations," said head coach Rex Ryan. "But obviously this team if we get ahead of you we're built to put you away and that's the goal."

Ryan is right. Buffalo's formula is to run the football, control the clock, get an early lead and play solid defense to keep their opponent off the scoreboard. That allows them to run the ball even more to shorten the game and build on their lead.

The problem has been when opponents are able to reduce the effectiveness of that run game. When that has happened or when Buffalo's defense hasn't been consistent in limiting their opponent's offensive success it's been difficult to overcome deficits on the scoreboard.

That's because throwing the ball to get back into games is not something the Bills are built for, especially without Sammy Watkins, a hobbled Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin just now returning to the lineup.

"I think this team is built a certain way. This team is built to run the football and have an effective play action passing game," said offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. "So we're not going to have as many pass attempts as most people. That's just not our formula. But in the times that we have had to pass and I evaluate the tape, the ball is going where it's supposed to go."

Echoing Lynn's assessment is the fact that through the first eight weeks of the season the Bills have the fewest number of pass attempts per game in the league (29.38). That's almost exactly the same as last season when they averaged 29.06 and ranked 31st in that category.

When Buffalo runs the football well they don't need to throw, which partly explains why the pass attempts per game are so low.   

Having a viable alternative to turn to when your main means of winning games isn't working is critical. Lynn obviously has contingency plans within every game plan to turn to, but being shorthanded at receiver due to injury has made it difficult to turn to a pass game to climb back into games in which they trail on the scoreboard.

Hopefully the addition of Percy Harvin this week can help to provide a bit more playmaking ability at receiver in the event they need a big play to get back in a game or two down the line.

3 - Bills downed Birds the last timeThe last time Buffalo traveled to Seattle was 12 years ago. Week 12 of the 2004 season the Bills squared off against the Seahawks at their new stadium, which at the time was called Quest Field.

Buffalo jumped out to 10-0 lead and never trailed in a 38-9 drubbing of Seattle. Willis McGahee ran for 116 yards and four touchdowns, with the final score coming on a 4th-and-1 fake sneak by Drew Bledsoe, who then lateraled to McGahee. The Bills feature back took it down the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown run effectively putting the game away with 10 minutes still left in regulation.

Drew Bledsoe threw one touchdown against three interceptions, but Seattle was never able to capitalize on the takeaways as their only touchdown came with three minutes left in the game.

Terrence McGee led the defensive effort with eight tackles and an interception.

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