A year ago, the best team in the AFC East picked a very bad time to have its worst defensive performance of the year. During the regular season, the Buffalo Bills gave up the fewest points in the league, as well as the least total yards and passing yards.
However, the club wound up on short end of a 42-36 overtime loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in the 2021 AFC Divisional Playoffs. In that contest, Sean McDermott’s club not only surrendered a season-high when it came to points but the Bills allowed 552 total yards in four-plus quarters – its highest total in 18 overall contests a year ago.
Now it’s 2022. Eight weeks into the season, the Bills were tied for third in the league in total defense. Leslie Frazier’s unit was sixth in the NFL against the run and ninth against the pass. And no club had given up fewer points per contest.
— Full Press NFL (@FullPressNFL) December 1, 2022
As the team prepares for its prime time clash with Bill Belichick’s club, Buffalo suddenly ranks 12th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game. And the Bills have slipped to seventh vs. the run and 19th in the league in pass defense.
During the team’s 6-1 start, the club allowed a combined 98 points and just 11 offensive touchdowns. In their last four outings, which included three-point losses to the Jets and Vikings – the latter in overtime – the Bills have given up 101 points and 11 offensive TDs.
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Quarterback Josh Allen remains one of the league’s most talented performers. And while he has command of the second-highest scoring team in the NFL, his recent turnover issues are not helping the defense’s cause.
All told, these next three games are critical for McDermott’s club. This Thursday night clash with the Patriots at Foxborough is followed by rematches with the Jets and Dolphins – both at Orchard Park. In Week 3 at South Florida, Miami handed Buffalo its first loss of the season (21-19) and in the process snapped a seven-game losing streak to the defending AFC East champions. In Week 9 at MetLife Stadium, the Jets rallied from a 14-3 second-quarter deficit for a 20-17 victory. New York ended a four-game losing streak to the Bills.
In last week’s 28-25 Thanksgiving Day win at Detroit, pass-rusher Von Miller went down and is out indefinitely. And this can’t help Buffalo’s recent issues on defense. Can the Bills regroup on this side of the ball? McDermott’s club has a lot of talented company in the AFC East this season.