- Caleb Holfoth
Buffalo Bills Season Review (Offense)
After a tough loss to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship, I gave myself a week to let it sink in before I wrote about my beloved Bills again. The AFC Championship was tough to watch. It was the first time in about 12 weeks that the Bills got beat like that. Go figure the last team who had done it was the Chiefs in week 6. Despite that, the Bills had a historic season as a team and especially on Offense. Making it further than many experts and even fans thought made this a successful season. Josh Allen took a historic jump from year 2 to year 3 and the addition of Stefon Diggs paid off as he had the best WR season in franchise history. With the Bills season officially over I am going to grade each position group of Buffalo this year. First, we start with the historic offense that Buffalo had this season.
Starter: Josh Allen
Backups: Matt Barkley, Jake Fromm, Davis Webb
Josh Allen made historic leaps in year 2 to year 3. His completion % went up 11% points, he threw for 1,500 more yards, 17 more TD's and dropped his INT% below 2%. All while taking jumps in yards per attempt, average air yards per attempt, yards per catch, and yards per game. His QBR was 3rd in the NFL at 81.60 and his QB Rating went up from 85.3 to 107.2. What is so impressive about Allen's jump is that when you watch him play you can still point out areas he can improve. His pocket presence and control is something he needs to work on. Allen takes big sacks by trying to extend plays when he should just run or throw it away instead. Addiontanlly, Allen still makes some throws that are dangerous and can be eliminated from his game. Despite all of this Allen is a top Quarterback in the NFL and he proved that this season. With potentially even more weapons next season do not be surprised if Allen really makes a run for the MVP award.
At the Backup Quarterback position, Buffalo is a little below average in terms of talent. However, the team really likes Matt Barkley as a locker room guy. Davis Webb does not get enough recognition for his offseason contributions helping Stefon Diggs learn the offense and will likely still around because of it. I would be surprised if Buffalo made any changes to the QB room this offseason after this year's success.
Starters: Devin Singletary, Zack Moss
Backups: T.J. Yeldon, Taiwan Jones, Antonio Williams
For the first time in about 20 years, the running back position was not really relied upon in Buffalo at all. Due to Allen's progression as a thrower, Buffalo ran the ball less but also received less production from the position. 2nd-year player Devin Singletary was supposed to take a jump in his play. Instead, he regressed averaging 3 fewer carries per game and 1 less yard per carry as well. Singletary still had some good games but he really became the backup to Zack Moss by the end of the season. Moss was Buffalo's 3rd round pick in the 2020 draft. Just like most rookies, it took Moss a couple of games to get acclimated to the NFL. Moss's season ended with an ankle injury he suffered in the wild card round against the Colts. Moss had a good rookie season. He had 481 yards rushing and averaged 4.3 yards per carry. Although statistically both Moss and Singletary had good years they both did not have a huge impact in terms of the success of the whole offense. They both are not players who scare opposing defenses. Opposing teams did not respect the Bills running game which made it harder for Allen to play his best. Both Singletary and Moss would be good number 2 options but as a 1-2 punch they lack the big play ability you want from a running back.
Starters: Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley
Backups: Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, Andre Roberts, Duke Williams, Jake Kumerow
You could make an argument that when healthy this is the best group in the NFL. 3 All-Pros (Diggs, Beasley, Roberts) and significant contributions from both John Brown and Gabe Davis made this a very difficult group to stop. Buffalo had 5 receivers with over 250 yards and if John Brown was not hurt for a majority of the season it was likely they would have had 4 receivers with 500+ yards. The star of this group is what makes it so impressive. Stefon Diggs led the NFL in catches and yards supplanting himself as one of the best wide receivers and players in the NFL. Cole Beasley was also the best slot receiver in the NFL leading the NFL with yards from the slot with 967. There really is not a big weakness in this group and they contributed significantly to the continued development of Josh Allen. This group will continue their success into next year and hopefully help Allen take another step forward in his progression.
Starters: Dawson Knox, Lee Smith
Backups: Reggie Gilliam, Tyler Kroft
Dawson Knox just like last year had games where he was involved and games where he was invisible. Lee Smith is essentially an extra offensive lineman who gets the occasional reception. Reggie Gilliam is a very good special teams player who plays some fullback. Gilliam does not really contribute as a tight end even though it is his listed position. Tyler Kroft was inactive for most of the season and does not offer many contributions outside of the red zone. This group is not a bad group. Matter of fact they play exactly how you would expect them to. The reason they are graded at a B- is because these are B- quality players in the NFL. They are not game-changers. Buffalo could use an upgrade at this position however it is not necessarily a large team need. At least with this group, Buffalo knows exactly what it is getting every week.
Starters: Dion Dawkins, Daryl Williams
Backups: Ty Nsecke, Ryan Bates
Buffalo was ranked 10th by PFF for their entire offensive line grade this season. A lot of that has to do with the Play of Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams. Dawkins only had 3 penalties all year and allowed only 6 sacks while often taking on the opposing team's best pass rusher 1v1. On the other side, Williams only allowed 4.5 sacks this season. The highlight of each player's year was when Daryl Williams shut out TJ Watt against the Steelers and when Dion Dawkins completely shut down Bradley Chubb against the Broncos. While both can leave some to be desired run blocking in a pass-happy offense having two very good pass blocking tackles is very important. They both played every game this year and proved that the tackle position was a strength for the Bills.
Starters: Cody Ford, Jon Feliciano
Backups: Brian Winters, Ike Boettger
Guard was a tough position for Buffalo because throughout the whole season all four of the guys listed played for an extended time and not one really played as well as Dawkins or Williams did. Ford and Winters started off the year and neither was impressive. Then Ford went down with a season-ending injury and Boettger and Feliciano stepped in. Boettger and Feliciano were good but very inconsistent. They would be able to hang with average defensive lines and dominate bad ones but they would get dominated by very good defensive lineman and some of the top Defensive tackles such as Chris Jones and DeForest Buckner had their way with Feliciano and Boettger in the Playoffs. Buffalo does like Ford although he was not too impressive early in the season before his injury this looks like the position on offense that needs to be upgraded the most.
Starter: Mitch Morse
Backups: Jon Feliciano
Mitch Morse was average all year. His play never really wavered up or down all season. When Morse went down with a concussion in week 8 Jon Feliciano filled in and did a pretty good job taking place of the veteran Morse. While Feliciano is better at guard he did a good job at Center during his weeks at the position. Morse was actually a pretty good run blocker this season but where he struggled was in the passing game. Along with Feliciano and Boettger Morse struggled in Pass Protection during the playoffs and especially during the Chiefs game. Morse is a solid veteran presence on the line but he seems to have regressed each year he has been with Buffalo which does not bode well for his future.
Overall Offensive Grade: B+
Overall, the Offense this season was very impressive. The reason it gets a B+ instead of an A- is because of its execution in the Playoffs. Against the Ravens and the Chiefs, the Bills Offense left a lot to be desired. However, throughout the whole season, the offense exceeded expectations. The Bills set several records this season included most passing yards and touchdowns, Least Punts in a season, and tied for most wins in a season. This offense exceeded expectations because of Josh Allen and his improvement. With that being said this offense can improve and it can improve a lot. Offensive Guard, Center, Running Back, and Tight End are all positions that Buffalo has average talent at best, and if those positions can be improved Buffalo's offense could potentially match up with the Offense of the Kansas City Chiefs.