1. Run defense needs to be fixed
In the last two weeks, the Bills faced really good running backs in the National Football League, and the Bills were able to hold them in check. On Monday, the Bills game plan was to not give up the big plays from Patrick Mahomes, who is thought by many to be the best player in football. When you have the weapons that they do on the outside, you have to keep people deep to prevent those big plays. Ultimately upfront, you're going to give up some yards. The Bills didn't come into the game, thinking that they would keep them under 100 yards, but they didn't want them to get up to 245 yards, and they didn't want them to control the game. I don't want to make this a bigger issue than it needs to be considering it hasn't been a pure issue all year. But the guys up front have to defeat blocks better, the linebackers and the safeties have to get better fits and it's a team effort on defense to stop the run. On a night where the Chiefs only score 26 points, that's not the glaring issue. The glaring issue is the 38 minutes of time of possession which allowed them to completely control the game. It really put the Bills offense in a position where they didn't even have the time to make the plays that they necessarily needed.
2. An improved run game will help the offense get in rhythm
The way the Bills are playing offense right now, it's not going to produce 100-plus rushing yards a week. But when the defense presents the opportunity, the Bills need to be averaging over four yards a carry to stay in rhythm. They have too many rushing plays right now that are getting 0-2 yards, or they go backwards and that doesn't allow you to stay in rhythm. That also doesn't allow you to stay creative with the play-calling, and they just simply need to improve the run game. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss need to be more productive, and that that starts up front with the offensive line and tight ends. Josh mentioned it himself that some checks need to be better and improving the run game will help them stay in a rhythm offensively.
3. Third down defense has to be more effective
Sean McDermott mentioned after the Titans game that the four-man pass rush needs to be better. I think it needs to still continue to be better, and as long as it keeps improving as the season goes on that's what you want to see. At times they were able to move Patrick Mahomes off the spot, but they weren't able to contain him, and we saw that last week with Ryan Tannehill as well. So, containing the quarterback on third downs will do wonders for the third-down defense. At times, it seems like they don't want to get into some of their double A-gap Blitz packages or some of the other exotic blitz packages that we've seen. Maybe that's due to some injuries in the secondary, or maybe that's due to the Matt Milano injury, I'm not exactly sure. The third-down defense has got to be better. As I said before with the 38 minutes of time of possession, there were a number of third downs that were converted to allow those extremely long drives to happen.
4. Higher completion percentage is needed to stay on the field
Josh Allen said after the game that he missed passes especially early, so he's got to connect on those passes to beat teams like the Chiefs. In the game against the Chiefs, they were extremely physical with the receivers, so you saw a number of penalties that came from that. They weren't able to expose them with their aggressiveness. I think it frustrated everybody on offense that they weren't able to make any big plays down the field because a lot of those penalties prevented the big plays. Ultimately, to be running the amount of pass plays that the Bills look to run nowadays and having 10 or 11 personnel in the field exclusively, you need to complete a higher percentage of passes. It helps you stay on the field, convert first downs, to stay in third-and-short situations, and not get yourself in third-and-long situations. The Bills have been extremely productive throughout the season on third down, and a lot of that has been because of early-down pass completion.
5. Get back on track next week
This is a year that has a lot of moving parts for the Bills. They've dealt with some injuries, they're sitting at 4-2, and as coach McDermott said they just need to continue to get better. You can't go in the tank because you lose to two really good teams, and you don't have your best days. You just have to continue to get better, fix your mistakes, and not let two games crumble what was a 4-0 start. They need to get back on track next week against the Jets. Had the fortunes of either of the last two games been any different, we probably would be wondering do have a trap game coming up this week or if there is going to be a letdown playing the winless Jets. I don't think so anymore, and I don't think that conversation needs to happen. I think there's going to be a lot of intensity at practice in the preparation to make sure that they go out and take care of business in Week 7.