Watching All-22 game film on Tuesday mornings is always a little less tedious after a Buffalo Bills victory. Such was the case today, as I was more eager than normal to watch the “coaches film” of Buffalo’s 26-16 victory over Denver on Sunday.
Throughout the week I may post on a few things specifically based on what I saw, but for now these are four takeaways from Sunday that really stood out to me.
Eric Wood’s Hustle: I’ve been watching Bills (and occasionally other teams) All-22 film on Tuesday mornings for a few years now and honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player who hustles each and every snap more than center Eric Wood. It seriously blows my mind. You’d think with the mammoth size of these lineman they’d tend to take plays semi-off here and there when the football is completely going away from them, but not Wood. This guy’s running out to the second and third levels of defense blocking each play like his hair is on fire. There’s more talented centers in the league and probably a handful more productive but I can’t imagine any of the other 31 outworking him.
Jones Gets Unlucky: Zay Jones is getting killed by fans for drops—a problem he’s bringing upon himself. However, sometimes bad luck plays into not being productive. On a fourth quarter play Jones was lined up at the top right and absolutely smoked Denver corner Aqib Talib, who had no safety help. Unfortunately Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins failed to keep a clean pocket and Tyrod Taylor would slip before getting up and making a tremendous run to secure a first down. Still, had the pocket been there and assuming Taylor saw him open (never a given with him) this could’ve been Jones’ big breakout moment)
Zay Jones (top) beat Talib for what coulda been a TD, but Dawkins couldn’t keep pocket. Taylor slips but recovers, makes great play w/legs. pic.twitter.com/rVHYI9tkn2
— Patrick Moran (@PatMoranTweets) September 26, 2017
Dareus Is Missed: His absence didn’t kill them against Denver but man….Marcell Dareus needs to find a way to get himself right. Whether it’s his ankle, groin or whatever it is ailing him on (and off) the field he needs to be out there. Adolphus Washington, a guy many thought may find himself cut during training camp had a nice tackle and disrupted a few runs while Cedric Thornton had a role in the rotation, but neither are close to being on the same level of Dareus. I counted several Trevor Siemian drop backs where Washington got stood up at the line easily one-on-one—something in my opinion shouldn’t happen with a defensive tackle. Thornton got easily stood up at the line blocked by just one man on Jamal Charles’ first quarter touchdown run (PS- Preston Brown was blatantly held on the play). I’m not indicting Washington/Thornton here, I’m simply stating Dareus not in the lineup may really hurt the defense going forward. Due to off field transgressions I know there’s plenty that’d like to see him cut, but for as long as he’s on the roster his considerable talent being on the field makes the defense better, as no one else on the depth chart measures up.
Alexander Is Everywhere: Of everyone on the team I probably have the most fun watching Lorenzo Alexander. He lines up at in at least three or four different positions every week. He’s like the Bills grandpa version of Khalil Mack. If Alexander has one weakness in his game it’s the semi-regularly missed tackle. I only say that because this guy is always in the backfield. His sense of awareness is off the charts, such as noticing pulling guards on counter runs and blowing them up before they can get started. Alexander gets himself in position to make plays probably more than anyone on the defense and it’s a fun thing to see.
OTHER TIDBIT: On that Denver fake punt late in the third quarter that Deon Lacey snuffed out, both Colt Anderson & Ryan Davis unsuccessfully tried to call time out.
Still To Come: I’m going to spend a few hours breaking down every Lesean McCoy carry, as Shady only gained 21 yards on 14 carries after getting nine yards on 12 carries the week before. Was the offensive line that bad? Is McCoy starting to slow down a least a little? Is it a combination of both? I’m looking forward to studying and posting about my conclusions later.