Bills offense takes step back in being blanked by Packers
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Name one facet of the Buffalo Bills offense and coach Sean McDermott will point to something in need of drastic improvement.
From passing to protection, receiving to rushing, McDermott on Monday provided a blunt assessment of how anemic the Bills were a day following a 22-0 loss at Green Bay.
“Where do you want to start?” he said. “Offensively, wasn’t good enough at all. Bottom line.”
A week after rookie quarterback Josh Allen, literally and physically, took a leap forward in his development by hurdling Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr in a 27-6 win at Minnesota, he and the Bills offense took two — maybe three — steps back.
Allen completed just five of his first 19 attempts and finished 16 of 33 for 151 yards passing, while being sacked seven times and committing three turnovers (two interceptions and a lost fumble).
LeSean McCoy mustered just 24 yards rushing on five carries in a game the Bills managed a season-low 56 plays from scrimmage and had seven three-and-outs. Buffalo was shut out for the first time in 10 years and finished with just 145 yards, matching its worst total since a 40-7 loss at Chicago on Oct. 8, 2006.
And Allen is getting hit so often, McDermott expressed concern over whether the first-round draft pick can stay healthy for the remainder of the season to continue his development.
“In order for the young man to play, he needs to be healthy, and in order for him to be healthy, you can’t stand back there and take hits,” McDermott said.
Not all the league-worst 21 sacks Buffalo has surrendered can be blamed on what’s been a patchwork offensive line. Allen has been faulted for being indecisive and holding on to the ball too long.
The trouble is, the Bills (1-3) have little time to address the numerous issues plaguing their offense in preparing to host the Tennessee Titans (3-1) on Sunday.
“Didn’t do well in any area and that’s my responsibility,” offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said. “We’ll work hard to get it fixed, but at the end of the day just not good enough.”
It doesn’t help that Daboll is in his first year on the job, and overseeing a unit led by a rookie quarterback and a group of unproven receivers behind starter Kelvin Benjamin .
“There are no excuses,” he said. “We all have a job to do, and we got to make sure we do it well.”
One issue is Benjamin, the 2014 first-round draft pick whom the Bills acquired in a midseason trade with Carolina a year ago.
Benjamin has just seven catches for 92 yards despite being targeted 21 times. His production mirrors that of the rest of Buffalo’s receivers, who have combined for 26 catches for 330 yards and one touchdown through four games.
“I’ve got a concern with those types of numbers,” McDermott said, when informed his receivers are averaging 82.5 yards a game.
As for Buffalo’s feeble running attack, he was critical with how the Bills were pushed around to open the game at Green Bay.
After McCoy caught a 7-yard pass on the first play, the Bills were unable to convert a first down. McCoy ran for 2 yards on the next play, and then Chris Ivory was stopped for no gain.
McDermott has issues, too, on defense after Buffalo allowed the Packers to convert 11 of 20 third-down situations.
Take away a six-quarter stretch spanning the second half of Buffalo’s 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 16 through the end of the Minnesota game, the Bills have been outscored by a combined 103-9, including a season-opening 47-3 loss at Baltimore.
“My patience hasn’t worn thin,” McDermott said. “When I see things that are up to our standard, we celebrate those. But when it’s not up to our standard, my tolerance is not very high.”