Tale of Two Halves For Buffalo Bills Offense

Through six games, the biggest ire of Buffalo Bills fans has been the performance of the team’s offense as they have lacked big play potential and shown little scoring ability.  Even the quarterback switch to Kyle Orton from EJ Manuel two games ago has only slightly improved the passing game.

Within the offense’s struggles one can see a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde situation arising as the games turn from the first to the second half.  In fact the Bills have scored 42 first half points versus 62 second half points.  Their touchdown total doubles in the second half (3 vs. 6) and their yard per play increases by almost a full yard (4.7 vs. 5.4).

Part of the reason for this increase is that the Bills throw the ball much more often in the second half of games versus the first.  The passing attempts have really increased since Orton has taken over, but it’s also because the Bills have been trailing heading into half time in half their games.  Their 1-2 record when trailing at the half flips to 2-1 when leading.

The Bills recent 1-2 slide the has seen them rush the ball a total of 21 times (7 in all three games) in the second half for 118 yards, versus their 71 pass attempts for 476 yards.

It just seems the Bills are stuck in an identity crisis where they can’t figure out if they are a predominate running team, or an aggressive passing team.  A year ago it was the clear the Bills were going to run the ball often, and typically effectively, which lead to a generally effective offense.

One can contribute the line’s inconsistent play as hampering both the ground and aerial attack, but there are also clear signs of poor game planning.  Outside of the game against Chicago and Miami, which featured a heavy rushing attack, the Bills past four games have lacked focus and execution against opposing defenses.

Because the Bills offense has been woeful in the first half they have had to scramble in the second half to try to pull out the victory, which has been successful only once, barely.

When Doug Marrone was hired there was a statement he made during the interview process that the Bills front office apparently latched onto.  The report stated that Marrone believed in effective passing for points, but running to win.

So far when Marrone has been in the position to execute that philosophy he has won, which is reflected in the wins in Chicago and against Miami.

However, in the Bills four other games there has neither been effective passing, or a true commitment to the run, and that’s been a failure by the coaching staff, namely Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

Again there has been a failure of execution along the offensive line, as well as with some offensive players, including Manuel at the beginning and running back CJ Spiller recently, but otherwise the unit has lacked the necessary drive to get off to a good start and allow the defense to play with a lead.

Now the Bills face a vulnerable Vikings team at home, and then a reeling New York Jets team in New Jersey before they get a bye week.  The Bills can very well be 5-3 going into their bye but a lot of that depends on their offense gets out of the gate and sets the tone early.

 

Rush YD Rush Attempts Pass YD Pass Attempts TOTAL TD FG INT PA PF
CHI 89 12 82 13 171 2 1 0 7 17
MIA 42 17 155 19 197 0 3 0 0 9
SD 34 11 74 14 108 0 1 0 13 3
HOU 67 16 109 24 176 1 1 0 7 10
DET 7 15 69 17 76 0 1 1 14 3
NE 58 16 77 13 135 1 0 1 13 7
Total 297 87 566 94 863 3 7 2 54 49
AVGE: 49.5 14.5 94.3 15.6 143.8         -5

 

2nd Half Rush YD Rush Attempts Pass YD Pass Attempts TOTAL TD FG INT PA PF
CHI 99 21 55 9 154 0 2 1 13 6
MIA 77 16 41 7 118 1 2 0 10 20
SD 47 22 128 26 175 1 0 0 9 7
HOU 87 7 73 20 160 1 0 2 16 7
DET 31 7 207 26 238 1 2 0 0 14
NE 0 7 196 25 196 2 0 0 24 15
Total 341 80 700 113 1041 6 6 3 72 69
AVGE: 56.8 13.3 116.6 18.8 173.5         -3

About Jason DeHart

Jason is a UB alum with over six years of media experience including his time as the student voice for the UB Bulls football & basketball teams. He currently resides in Delray Beach with his wife and currently works for CBSSports.com as an online video producer. #billsmafia4life