Speed Kills With The Buffalo Bills


The 2015 Buffalo Bills have become one of the most talked about teams in the league this season, due to the hiring of Rex Ryan as well as the emergence of exciting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Although the Bills have been known for their aggressive, hard-hitting defense, the offense has been playing very well and putting up points like no-one outside Buffalo has expected. The Bills are actually third in the league in points per game with 33.3—as of this writing, only trailing the New England Patriots (39.7) and the Arizona Cardinals (42.0).

However, this Buffalo team isn’t the prototypical high-scoring offense with a superstar quarterback throwing the ball 50 times a game. The Bills actually rank second to last in the NFL in passing attempts this season with just 26.0 passes per game. So, how are the Bills scoring so efficiently?

The simple answer is speed. When you look at the Bills entire roster, you see a very interesting trend. Most skill position players have the ability to do multiple things, and are not prototypical runners, receivers or passers. The primary example of course is the quarterback, Tyrod Taylor.

Taylor was a backup QB in Baltimore before signing with Buffalo this off-season, coming in as the projected #3 quarterback behind Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel. However, due to his ability to run the Bills’ offense as well as extend plays out of the pocket and run the ball, he won the starting job and has not looked back since. Now, Taylor is a decent passer in the league when given primary reads on offense, but his ability to run is what makes him perfect for the Buffalo offense. Taylor ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, which is the ideal statistic for highlighting how fast he really is. The Bills don’t even have to design runs for Taylor, in fact he’s much more dangerous during broken plays, where he can use that speed to gain yards in bulk if no receivers are open.

Still, although Taylor’s speed is very rare in an NFL quarterback, the skill players on the Bills’ are also very unique. Other than Sammy Watkins, who is definitely more of a prototypical wideout, the Bills utilize multiple receivers and backs who are incredibly fast and quick, surrounding Tyrod Taylor with explosive playmakers.

Players like Percy Harvin, LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams and Robert Woods are all incredibly quick and have the ability to make a five yard play end up a 60 yard touchdown. McCoy, although struggling with a hamstring injury so far this season, is ideal for this lineup because he brings dual threat potential with his skill in both the running and receiving games. Harvin is the ultimate game breaking type of player, who can be utilized as a receiver, runner, or a special teams returner.

It seems that Rex Ryan has established a clear identity for the Buffalo Bills this year, with speed and versatility highlighting this offense. This multilateral aspect of playing could be the ideal type of offense to compliment the bruising Bills’ defense, and Buffalo without a doubt has the pieces to make this offense as dynamic as they want.

About the author: Chris Lydon

Chris Lydon is currently a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he is in the Mark McCormack Sports Management program. Although he has ties to the Boston-based teams, Lydon shares his thoughts on all of the major sports, both at the collegiate and professional levels.