Film Room: Bills’ second-half adjustments almost worked against the Buccaneers

The Bills have struggled to stay consistent on offense throughout the season. Against the Buccaneers, it was a tale of two halves once again.

The Buffalo Bills looked like they were going to be on the losing end of a blowout on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At halftime, the score was 3-24 and in that entire first half, the Bills didn’t convert a single third down, (0-5). Coming into the game, the Bills ranked third in the NFL on third-down conversions.

So, it wasn’t a great sign that they weren’t able to sustain a drive for the first thirty minutes of the game. Their red-zone issues also contributed to the deficit, as they were 0-1 there, and settled for a field goal when the offense got all the way up to the Buccaneers’ three-yard line.

If we look at the stats in the first half, the Bills had 43 rushing yards, but none of those yards were by a running back in the backfield. This was the first time since 1991, where a team went an entire half without a single rushing attempt by a running back.

Were the Bills trying to make a statement after the Patriots game the week before? Or did they value the Bucs run defense a little too much, as they were second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. 

Throughout the game, quarterback Josh Allen passed the ball on 11 out of 13 third downs, even when they saw a third-and-3 in the second quarter, they came out in an empty set.

That being said, what the Bills did in the second half to make a comeback and to take the game into overtime was nothing short of a miracle.

Lets go to the film to see what changed from the first to the second half.

To start the game, the Bills drew up some run plays for Josh Allen, but they weren’t successful because of the lack of variety from the backfield, its easy to stop a one-dimensional offense. As a defense, you can double team an assignment when there is zero threat from the other weapons.

In order to stop Allen from running it with his legs, inside linebacker Devin White remained a quarterback spy for the rest of the game. This would ultimately be used against them in the second half.

When it came to throwing the ball in the first half, Allen only had time for flat short yardage passes against the fierce pass rush of the Buccaneers. They often blitzed two extra players, bringing a total of six defenders, putting pressure on Allen. This led to three sacks, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits and an interception all in the first half.

The Bills had to make some adjustments when the second half rolled around; they used that quarterback spy and nickel defense to their advantage. With more defensive backs, and an inside linebacker assigned to the quarterback, the run-game was sure to succeed.

On the Bills’ second drive in the second half, Devin Singletary saw his first carry, and it went for 29 yards.

With this run success, and the Buccaneers defense still in a 4-2-5 defensive look, the defense was forced to honor the misdirection, which then opened up the middle of the field.

With one linebacker as spy, the Bills noticed a hole in Tampa Bay’s middle defense, so they started running more run-pass-options. This allowed Allen to get rid of the ball quicker, or keep it if the read was there.

That was successful for the next two quarters of the game.

As the Bills closed the margin to only seven points, they marched down the field to get the ball out quick, not allowing that pressure to get to Allen.

With the RPO, the Bills finally found their success. This completely turned their offense around from the first to second half. The Bills didn’t allow a single sack, or tackle for loss.

In the end, the Buccaneers stopped running zone prevent, and went back to blitzing extra guys, but this time running press man-coverage on the outside. Each Bills receiver was locked up at the line of scrimmage and it was up to Allen to throw his targets open if he was able to get the ball out in time.

Ultimately, the Bills’ second half adjustments worked. Allen ended the game with 308 yards and two touchdowns through the air and ran for 109 yards and a touchdown; becoming the fourth quarterback in the league to throw for 300 plus yards and rush for 100 or more in the same game.

But in the end, when the Bucs went back to the plan from the beginning of the game, pressure the quarterback, stack the box and early take away the quarterback’s first read. This put the Bills back to squareone, as they only ran the ball one-time in overtime and through the air, only the flat or check-downs were open down field.

The Bills went three-and-out, as they weren’t able to move the ball which put it back into Tom Brady’s hands. Generally speaking, you don’t want that.

In the second half, the Bills saw success with the RPO but their lack of run-game creativity in the first half ultimately lost them the game. They will have a lot to prove in these remaining four games of the season. Other defenses may not find success running the same nickel look as the Buccaneers, but this is why the Bucs are the defending champions, they have the guys that can stop a top-five offense in the league.

Patriots QB Mac Jones says he was too focused to grant interview with Peyton Manning

New England Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones explained why he turned down an interview with Peyton Manning ahead of the popular ManningCast for Week 13.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones made history on Monday night in the 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Not only did the rookie from Alabama play a complete game throwing just three passes, but he also is the only quarterback to date to turn down an interview with Peyton Manning ahead of the popular ManningCast alternate commentary of ESPN Monday Night Football.

Jones told his side of the story on “Merloni & Fauria” on WEEI 93.7 in Boston Tuesday.

“I texted him or whatever,” Jones said. “I am not going to get into any details, but I think we were just focused on the game. The Patriots do a great job of just helping me stay focused on what I need to stay focused on. I was like that in college, too.”

Peyton isn’t the only Manning in Jones’ cell phone. According to the first round pick, Archie Manning, Peyton’s dad, was a resource for him as he was working through the draft process.

“They’re great people,” Jones said. “I’ve been in contact with them throughout the whole process, even Archie, too. He’s a great resource to me.”

Peyton and Archie aren’t the only famous people in Jones’ contacts list, but the 23-year-old wasn’t forthcoming about who else might be in his phone.

“I think if I ever get a chance to get advice from people who have done really well in the NFL or just successful people, I just try to pick their brain and stuff like that. Just being in a situation growing up watching a lot of great players and getting a chance to meet them or talk to them, I always use that to my advantage.”

The Patriots are 9-4 and possess the No. 1 seed in the AFC. With the Patriots’ on a Week 14 bye, Jones intends to stay low key and relax at home in New England.

Peyton Manning shares how he was denied an interview with Patriots QB Mac Jones

Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning told a humorous story about how he was denied an interview with New England Patriots rookie Mac Jones.

Peyton Manning comes through when it matters, except when it comes to interviewing every quarterback ahead of the Monday Night Football Manningcast on ESPN 2.

The two-time Super Bowl champion shared notes from talking with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen on the Manningcast. When Eli Manning pressed Peyton on whether he spoke with New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones, Peyton revealed how he came up empty.

“I tried to talk to Mac Jones and he was very respectful. He said, ‘Peyton, I want to do it, but can you call our PR director, Stacey [James]. He kind of has to oversee all things.’ I said no problem. I called Stacey, he was very professional, and I said, ‘I’m talking to Coach [Bill] Belichick, can I talk to Mac Jones?’ And I got to tell you: I appreciate how they’re handling Mac Jones. They are trying to protect him and give him as few off-the-field distractions as possible. Let him concentrate on playing football. So, yes, I did denied. It was the first quarterback I haven’t talked to, but I appreciate it.”

According to Peyton, the approach the Patriots are taking with Jones is reminiscent of how the Indianapolis Colts handled him in 1998, his rookie season after being selected No. 1 overall in the draft.

“[General manager] Bill Polian, as a rookie, with me with the Colts did the same. He didn’t let the marketing department talk to me, the community relations department talk to me. He said, ‘Hey, it’s all football this first season. Don’t bother him.’ I think the Patriots are taking the same approach to Mac Jones. It’s paying off. It’s working.”

Eli asked how that could be accurate when he did so many commercials as a rookie, but Peyton corrected him to state he never shot one commercial as a rookie; it was only after he threw 28 interceptions that he “earned” the distinction to start shooting commercials.

Bills QB Josh Allen now the elder statesman of AFC East

#Bills QB Josh Allen is now the AFC East’s oldest starter under center:

Old man Allen is your Buffalo Bills starting quarterback moving forward.

Josh Allen, the Bills’ franchise quarterback that was handed a massive extension this offseason as he enters the final year of his rookie deal… is now the oldest starting quarterback in the AFC East.

Of course there are quarterbacks, in general, that are older. New England Patriots backup Brian Hoyer is a decade older than Allen at 35.

However, considering projected opening-day starters only, Allen’s the elder statesman. That comes as the Pats decided to cut incumbent starting QB Cam Newton on Tuesday ahead of the 4 p.m. roster-cut deadline.

Newton, 32, was previously the oldest projected starting quarterback in the AFC East and now the Patriots will turn things over to one of the league’s youngest starters, rookie first-round pick Mac Jones.

So now the moment you’ve been waiting for, here is exactly how much older Allen is than the rest of the division’s starters under center:

  • Bills’ Josh Allen: 25 years, 102 days old
  • Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa: 23 years, 182 days
  • Patriots’ Mac Jones: 22 years, 360 days old (rookie)
  • Jets’ Zach Wilson: 22 years, 28 days old (rookie)

[lawrence-related id=134596,134585,134570]

10 facts about Dolphins No. 6 overall draft pick WR Jaylen Waddle

The Miami Dolphins drafted former Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle No. 6 overall in the 2021 NFL draft. Here are 10 facts surrounding the pick.

The Miami Dolphins managed to draft former Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

The pick gives the Dolphins a familiar target for Tua Tagovailoa.

Here are 10 facts surrounding the Dolphins’ selection of the Alabama wideout.

10 facts about Jets No. 2 overall draft pick QB Zach Wilson

The New York Jets selected QB Zach Wilson No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL draft. Here are 10 facts surrounding the pick.

The New York Jets went with a quarterback and selected former BY Cougar Zach Wilson. The No. 2 overall pick becomes another solution at quarterback for the frustrated Jets.

Here are 10 facts surrounding the Jets’ selection of Wilson at No. 2 overall in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL draft.

NFL reveals announcer schedule for Week 12

A week off for Al Michaels turned into one with another game to call

The deck has already been shuffled for the Week 12 announcing slate because the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game was moved to Sunday due to COVID-19 issues with the Ravens. Al Michaels was going to have the week off … was being the keyword.

Thursday

Houston at Detroit, CBS 12:30 p.m.
Jim Nantz, Tony Romo & Tracy Wolfson

Washington at Dallas, FOX 4:30 p.m.
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman & Erin Andrews

Sunday

Las Vegas at Atlanta, CBS 1 p.m.
Kevin Harlan, Trent Green & Melanie Collins

LA Chargers at Buffalo, CBS 1 p.m.
Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon & Jay Feely

NY Giants at Cincinnati, FOX 1 p.m.
Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman & Laura Okmin

Tennessee at Indianapolis, CBS 1 p.m.
Ian Eagle, Charles Davis & Evan Washburn

Cleveland at Jacksonville, CBS 1 p.m.
Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

Carolina at Minnesota, FOX 1 p.m.
Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma & Shannon Spake

Arizona at New England, FOX 1 p.m.
Kevin Burkhardt, Daryl Johnston & Pam Oliver

Miami at NY Jets, CBS 1 p.m.
Andrew Catalon, James Lofton & AJ Ross

Baltimore at Pittsburgh, NBC 1:15 p.m.
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth & Michele Tafoya

New Orleans at Denver, FOX 4:05 p.m.

Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth & Lindsay Czarniak

San Francisco at LA Rams, FOX 4:05 p.m.
Chris Myers, Greg Jennings, Brock Huard & Jen Hale

Kansas City at Tampa Bay, CBS 4:25 p.m.
Jim Nantz, Tony Romo & Tracy Wolfson
Compass Media: Bill Rosinski, Chad Brown

Chicago at Green Bay, NBC 8:20 p.m.
Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy & Kathryn Tappen

Monday

Seattle at Philadelphia, ESPN 8:15 p.m.
Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick & Lisa Salters

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