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The Bills’ Buffalo Sauce This Year Has Extra Spice. What Are The Three Biggest Ingredients?

The Bills are looking awfully good reason. Here’s a look into the three biggest reasons.

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It’s easy to say that the Bills are just continuing their work from last year, but with a big away win against Kansas City, it’s more than that. Amid a bye week and heading into an important stretch of games, we take an opportunity to look in-depth at what specifically is working for Buffalo.

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The Bills Have Extraordinary Pass-Catching Depth

Teams with one, even two great wide receivers – Miami, Minnesota, Las Vegas come to mind – are certainly threatening. However, when most of the offensive power is concentrated into just a couple of guys, the game plan is simple: stop them, and force the QB to go to his other options. That doesn’t work against the Bills.

Certainly, Diggs is a clear number-one receiver for the Bills with explosiveness, hands, and route-running skills that transcend the rest of the team. However, Gabe Davis isn’t far behind and has carried his breakout Kansas City playoff game into a reliable start, with 14 receptions for 383 yards and four TDs. His explosiveness and big play ability have been a huge boost for Buffalo. Somehow have two great corners and have those two covered? In comes Isaiah McKenzie, who has had 17 receptions and three touchdowns and is one of the best number three receivers in football, and someone who’s incredibly shifty and athletic.

With three great starting receivers and decent depth with Khalil Shakir and Isaiah Hodgkins waiting, it takes a team with three or more extremely good corners, of which there aren’t many, to stop that core. And if that’s not enough, Dawson Knox is one of the better tight ends in the league and has had 15 receptions of his own season. Devin Singletary is also a capable pass-catcher and has elusive speed. A Bills offense with that many playmakers in the pass-catching game throws an infinite number of looks at their opponents and, if they’re all clicking, can’t easily be stopped.

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Josh Allen Hasn’t Stopped Evolving

It’s a scary thought for his opponents, but Josh Allen is still finding ways to improve and is overall in better form than last year. In just six games, he’s had almost 2000 passing yards and 17 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He’s also been a potent running threat, with over 250 yards and two touchdowns. Part of his improvement has simply just an increase in explosiveness. He’s chasing the bigger play, and his 8.3 yards per attempt, the highest figure in his career to date, is proof of that. He’s on pace to set personal bests in yards and touchdowns this season, and beyond the numbers, his aggressiveness on the deep ball is obvious on tape.

The other big improvement that Allen has made this season is his level of intelligence. It’s obvious when watching him that he’s cut down the rash decisions and is calculating as to when to use his weapons. When it comes to integrating his running game, he’s starting to hone that terrifying balance between being a skilled pocket passer and still being mobile. His four interceptions are evidence of this. Turnovers have been a problem for Josh in the past, but that issue is decreasing over the last few years, and his ball security has been great this year.

He’s also simply been clutch. In an up-and-down game against Kansas City, where there were fewer points than one would expect throughout, Allen saved his best throw for the big moments and was a huge reason why the Bills came out of that one with a win.

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The Bills’ Opportunistic Defense Creates Turnovers

This isn’t to say that the Bills’ defense relies on turnovers. Statistically, they have the second-best defense in the league behind San Francisco in terms of total points and yards. However, a part of this is definitely related to the success of their offense. A deeper dive will make it evident that the Bills’ 4.8 yards per play allowed is sixth in the NFL, and in the last three games, their 5.3 yards per play allowed is only 13th. Their pass defense is only 11th in the league, and while they’re still getting awesome play from guys like Damar Hamlin, Jordan Poyer, Matt Milano and Von Miller) they’re clearly being affected by the absence of Tre White and Micah Hyde

Why, then, have they not only kept winning but have also done it in style? The answer lies in big plays. They’re second in the league with 13 forced turnovers, many of which have come in big moments. Jordan Poyer has been especially huge with four interceptions, but the defense overall is stepping up to make turnovers when needed. Last week, in a game where Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes gashed the usually air-tight Bills defense for over 400 yards, intercepting Mahomes twice was a huge reason that the Bills came away with the win.

Against some of the more high-powered offenses in the league, this may have to be part of the recipe for success moving forward for the Bills. They certainly have the pass rush and linebacker core to stop teams but winning the turnover battle as they’ve been doing will be an integral part of a playoff push/run.

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The Bottom Line

That’s some good-tasting Buffalo sauce right now. It’s got spice and flavor. However, now comes the big time, the divisional gauntlet, and a series of important games. Keeping the recipe constant will be a big part of getting through all of this and creating a title contender.


Check out this week’s Bills Beat Podcast here.

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Written By

I am a scientist at a pharmaceutical company in the boston area, and have a Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT. I am a huge fan of all things Boston sports, from the Patriots to the Red Sox to the Celtics, and can't wait to keep writing about my favorite team! On the side, I also love to sing, play tennis, and rock climb!

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