The Buffalo Bills went 2-2 in the month of November and still remain only one game out of a Wildcard playoff berth, but there are some troubling signs emerging as the team heads into its final five games needing to win at least four to have a reasonable chance to make the postseason for the first time since 1999.
Possibly the most important reason the Bills have been suffering throughout their season has been the entire team’s second half play.
Here is an offensive chart of the November games. Mind you the Bills took a lead into halftime three of the four games.
In sum the Bills have called 17 less runs (for 69 fewer yards), and two more passes in the second half (for 215 fewer yards). The passing yards are greatly skewed in the Kansas City game as Tyrod Taylor to Sammy Watkins put up nearly 200 yards themselves, so if you remove that differential it would result in only 18 less passing yards spread across all four games.
So what does this mean?
It means the Bills have been losing effectiveness in the second half of games, and are scrambling to try to put themselves in better positions to win.
Thus far it appears the Bills are trying to pass to score, run to lead, and then scramble to win.
Opponents have also been holding onto the ball much longer than the Bills offense in the second half (63:07 vs. 57), so the offense often finds itself scrambling to score points to either extend or take leads back. This was especially true against the Chiefs as they held the ball nearly twice as long as the Bills in the second half.
This disorganization can’t be solely on the offense’s shoulders though. This defense was suppose to be the back bone of this team, and get teams off the field. Instead opponent’s have been able to extend drives and limit their own offense’s chances of putting the game away.
Rex Ryan came in preaching that the team was all about the ground and pound. Take a lead into the second half and milk the clock down to victory. Instead the opponents have been doing that to the Bills.
Things need to change if this team is to make the playoffs on both sides of the ball. The defense has to do a better job in creating more three and outs, and the offense has to be better committed to the run, especially early in the second half, to ensure their own victories.