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Monday Morning Breakdown

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Eric Wood | 5 opinions on the Bills victory in Week 7


1. Looking for answers in the red zone

There were a number of reasons why the Bills couldn't punch the ball in from the red zone on Sunday. There was a touchdown called back because of illegal formation; there was a sack that ended a drive; there was the McKenzie reverse that went for a huge loss that they couldn't overcome. There was a sack-fumble where they actually turned the ball over in the red zone, and there was a four-minute drive that stalled. So, a number of different reasons why the Bills weren't able to get in the end zone but when you're not playing clean enough football, that's what happens in this league. The windows get very tight down in the red zone, and it's tougher to run the football because the safeties are playing lower. You have to execute at a very high rate and the Bills have this year – they were converting touchdowns at a 74 percent rate and ranked seventh in the NFL coming into this game. This isn't something we need to panic about, but it is something that needs to be fixed moving forward.

2. The Bills finally found success in the third quarter

Sean McDermott gave Leslie Frazier and the defensive staff credit and the players credit for the adjustments made at halftime. The Jets came out to start and were able to run the football.  When you show in this league that you're susceptible to something, it's a copycat league and they're going to try it. With the way the Bills gave up rushing yards against the Chiefs, and I understand that was partially due to game-planning, but when you give up as many yards as they did on the ground, the next team is going to try you in that regard. It worked for the Jets early in the game as they were able to control the line of scrimmage, they were able to control the clock, and the Bills only had four drives in the first half. One of which they got the ball back with 40 seconds left because of a Dane Jackson interception. So, I give credit to the Bills defense for coming out in the second half, they mixed in a lot of pressures and they were able to finally win a third quarter.

3. The defensive line and defensive backs work in sync

The defensive line played really well today, especially in the second half. They caused a lot of pressure. This is a team game; we can pick on the defensive line and coach McDermott mentioned a lot of times that the four-man pass rush had to be better. But a lot of times the back-end coverage is allowing the ball to get out just before the defensive line is able to get there. It's a cumulative effort, so as I compliment the defensive line for a performance today in which the Bills defense had six sacks and they constantly were moving Sam Darnold off his mark, I also want to give credit to the back end of the defense for allowing that to happen.

4. Zack Moss helped the Bills run the football effectively

The Bills averaged season-best 6.7 yards a carry for the game. As the Bills transition to a mainly passing offense, the team's running backs have to make the most of their carries. They need to be able to run the football effectively to keep the defenses honest and that was a great effort by them today. Averaging 6.7 yards per carry is exactly what the Bills need. It also said something about the physicality of Zack moss and them trusting a rookie in a high-pressure situation. He was the running back on the field in their four-minute offense.

5. Prepping for more ground work from the Patriots

Heading into Week 7, the Patriots were second in the NFL in rushing yards per game. So, the New England Patriots are going to see either the defense we've seen against the Chiefs and in the first half against the Jets, or the defense that showed up in the second half on Sunday. A Bills defense that had four sacks, a forced fumble, an interception, and held the Jets to only four total yards in the second half. The Patriots are going to constantly test them in the ground game and when you have a quarterback that can run like Cam Newton, that creates an extra blocker at times when that running back blocks and the Bills are going to have to be prepared to shut it down.

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