NFL – Buffalo Bills’ Season Review – Part 2

26 Jan

In part 2 of our annual Bills’ season review, we look at the offensive side of the ball, and offer a position-by-position assessment of the team. Here are our thoughts on where the team stands:



Brandon Beane did his most remarkable work when he traded up to draft Josh Allen in 2018. Allen has cemented himself as not only the team’s unquestioned leader and franchise quarterback, but as one of the top signal callers in the NFL. He is going to be, and maybe already is, a perennial MVP candidate. The Bills signed an important insurance policy when they brought in Mitch Trubisky to back up Allen, but is questionable whether he’ll return after inking a one year deal. He’s still young and may want to pursue a starting opportunity. Davis Webb is a third option. He spent most of the year on the practice squad but was an important voice in the QB room. It’s very possible Buffalo will look to find another one year option to fill the backup role for 2022.


Running Backs

The running back position in general is a bit of an enigma in the Bills’ offense that relies so heavily on the pass. The club did see a need to add some semblance of a rushing attack as the season went on, and Devin Singletary answered the bell with a decent showing at the end of the year, as both an effective runner and a check down option for Allen in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if the team now feels comfortable going forward with Singletary as the lead back, or if they feel the need to look for a better option. Zach Moss wasn’t much of a factor, and in fact regressed during his second year. The team normally doesn’t give up too early on their prospects and have had some players emerge in their third year, so he will likely be back, but in a dogfight for a roster spot, in 2022. Matt Breida was 2021’s version of T.J. Yeldon, an extra back who saw very little action. He made some minor contributions at times during the season, but is not a long term answer, and entering free agency, likely won’t be re-signed. It was telling that at season’s end and in the playoffs fullback Reggie Gilliam was seeing significant playing time in the backfield, as a blocker and a pass receiving outlet option. Taiwan Jones is another back on the roster, but is strictly a special teamer.



This is the most important position group on the team as they employ a pass-heavy attack, and although his numbers slipped somewhat, Stefon Diggs is still Allen’s favorite, and most reliable target. Cole Beasley continues to be a beast playing out of the slot, and Emmanuel Sanders was a nice addition. The biggest revelation in 2021 was the stunning emergence as the season went on of Gabriel Davis. His playing time, when the season began, did not match what he was receiving last season as the team chose to feature Sanders more. But when Sanders missed some time, Davis stepped in and did what he almost always did last year – make incredibly timely catches in some big moments. His reemergence was topped off in the divisional round playoff game with a record-setting 201 yard performance in which he was on the receiving end of 4 Allen scoring throws. This guy was a fourth round crown jewel of Beane’s 2020 draft. Another top contributor is Swiss Army knife Isaiah McKenzie, who is adept at running jet sweeps, filling in when needed as a receiver and returning kicks. He is on a one year contract, so his return isn’t guaranteed. Jake Kumerow stuck on the roster mainly as a special teams player, and Marquez Stevenson got a few chances, mainly as a kick returner, but he’s still raw and at this point is an  interesting developmental project. His speed alone will give him a chance to stick around if he can refine his game. Like Singletary, Dawson Knox made tremendous strides in 2021, becoming a top target for Allen and one of the NFL’s bright prospects at the tight end position. Tommy Sweeney has been an up and down player so far, sometimes flashing ability and other times appearing to be prone to mistakes.


Offensive Line

It took until late in the season, but the Bills were finally able to identify the right combination of players along the line to increase production in the running game and protect Josh Allen in the pocket. Funny, but looking back at last season’s review, I made the same comment then. Obviously whatever stability they thought they found last year wasn’t the right answer. This season started out with a cluster at the guard positions and with starting right tackle Dion Dawkins dealing with Covid. As the season wore on, things gradually developed. Rookie Spencer Brown moved into the starting lineup at right tackle and Darryl Williams was moved inside to right guard. Dawkins came back with a vengeance, reclaiming his status as an elite left tackle and even being rewarded with his first Pro Bowl invite. When Ike Boettger’s season ended with an injury, Ryan Bates, a versatile backup, took over at left guard and solidified the line immensely. Another rookie, Tommy Doyle, took over an important role as a sixth offensive lineman in certain situations, a move that also helped to improve the run game. Center Mitch Morse, who at times in previous years had been benched, cemented himself as the starter and a leader of the unit. When the dust finally settled, Jon Feliciano and Cody Ford were left out in the cold. They remained as backups, but depth on the O line could be an area the Bills try to improve next season. Ford has never been able to take advantage of the many opportunities he’s gotten to win a starting job, and has certainly not lived up to the expectations of a high round draft pick. Veteran Bobby Hart bounced between the active roster and practice squad, but is very unlikely seen as a future asset. Boettger, meanwhile, may have a hard time getting his job back when he returns from injury, if the team decides to re-sign the impending free agent. Bates is also due to enter free agency, and should be a much higher priority to sign. The emergence of Brown was a major plus this season, and it’s possible Doyle could develop into a future starter also.

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