OPINION: What Makes it So Difficult to Defend the Buffalo Bills in the Red Zone?

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January 10, 2021 9:45 pm

The Buffalo Bills have been as rampant as ever over the course of this season. Clinching their first division title and playoff win in 25 years, the Bills Mafia is back and how!

The side coached by Sean McDermott has been a sight to behold when it comes to playing offense. Almost scoring at will, even the best defensive units in the league have struggled against the Bills’ onslaught.

One factor that has helped them mount a challenge for the Super Bowl this season is their performances in the red zone. But what makes the Buffalo Bills so hard to play against when it comes to the final 20 yards?

Breaking down the Bills’ output in the red zone

The Bills have been one of the best when it comes to scoring touchdowns from the red zone. In fact, over the course of their last 3 games, the side’s red zone scoring percentage is second (90.91%) only to the Green Bay Packers (91.67%).

But the side has been consistently dominant in this half of the field throughout the course of the season. When it comes to red zone scores per game, the side is a Top-5 unit.

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Oct 4, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws the ball under pressure from Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Keisean Nixon (22) in the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With 2.6 red zone scores on average, the side scores a ton of their points from the final 20 yards of their drives.

But this is only possible because they maneuver themselves into such positions more than others. Over the course of the season, the Bills have averaged 4.1 red zone scoring attempts per game. Just shy of the league’s best New Orleans Saints (4.2).

Buffalo Bills have an arsenal of weapons at their disposal

The reason the Buffalo Bills have been able to put up such numbers in the red zone is down to the roster that GM Brandon Beane and coach McDermott have assembled over the course of the past few seasons.

But the most important piece in the Bills puzzle is undoubtedly quarterback Josh Allen. The QB into his 3rd year in the NFL has been a revelation.

Often criticized for his inability to make plays with the throw, Allen has matured and worked on his passing game to become a menace of a dual-threat quarterback.

The problem most teams face when taking on the Bills is how to organize their defense against Allen. Given that Allen is well known for his ability to run the ball into the endzone himself if needed, a lot of teams avoid rushing the passer. This drastically reduces the chances of getting a turnover for the opposition.

Even apart from Allen, opposition defenses have to be wary of multiple competent receivers and tight ends in the endzone. Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Isaiah McKenzie, Dawson Knox, and Tyler Kroft are just some players who have to be dealt with to avoid a touchdown.

This versatility that the Buffalo Bills have when it comes to scoring is something that leaves defenses scrambling. And given their performance against the Indianapolis Colts in their first playoff game, it seems that defenses are still struggling for answers.

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