With only three weeks remaining in the Buffalo Bills season, coupled with the team being off Tuesdays and therefore, no real opportunities to get player or staff interviews for other stories, we’re going to roll with a “Bills by the numbers” feature for your tired eyes to wake up with on Wednesday morning.
Sit back and relax…. enjoy your morning cup of coffee and investigate our somewhat widespread list as we exemplify how the Bills are doing both team-wise and individually…. solely by the numbers.
• Perhaps the prime reason Chan Gailey has loads of buoyancy in Ryan Fitzpatrick is that he’s third in the AFC and sixth in the NFL with a 99.0 passer rating on third downs. That’s like the anti-Trent Edwards, isn’t it?
• Fitzpatrick is tied for fifth in the AFC with 21 touchdown passes and has tossed a touchdown on 5.6% of his throws; fifth in the conference.
• Despite not playing the first two games, Fitzpatrick has 21 touchdown passes on the season. That puts him 12th on the team’s all-time, single-season list. Jim Kelly appears on seven of the 11 spots ahead of him, including the team-record of 33 in 1991. If Fitzpatrick can throw for four more scores over the last three games, he’d join Kelly (1989) and Joe Ferguson (1983) for the second-most in franchise history.
• This is sure to make you miserable that Buddy Nix used the ninth overall pick on C.J. Spiller—at least for now. Spiller has four fewer rushing yards (232) than Fitzpatrick (236). The team record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season is Doug Flutie, who ran for 476 yards in 1999. Fitzpatrick’s 236 yards is currently eighth-best for a quarterback in a single season and is just 12 yards from moving into fifth.
• Despite a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in week three against New England, Spiller is only ninth in the AFC in kick return average (24.6). He’s brought back 34 kicks for 895 yards.
• Spiller is sixth in the NFL among rookie running backs with 232 rushing yards. Among those ahead of him are three undrafted free agents (Chris Ivory, LaGarrette Blount and Keiland Williams). Spiller is averaging just 5.1 carries per game; also sixth among NFL rookies.
• After an uneventful start to the season, Fred Jackson has moved up to 12th in the AFC with 775 rushing yards and has three 100-yard rushing games to his credit over the past week as well as a 100-yard receiving game. In total, Jackson has 625 yards from scrimmage over the last five weeks.
• Through 13 games the Bills have failed to have a run go for 40 yards. The longest run of the season has come from Jackson, who took a handoff 39 yards for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.
• Stevie Johnson won’t be headed to the Pro Bowl but is still having a breakout season. The unheralded former seventh rounder from 2008 is seventh in the AFC with 874 receiving yards, fifth in the conference with 66 catches and has scored nine touchdowns; still two off the team-record of 11 set by Bill Brooks in 1995. Johnson’s biggest value has come on third downs, where he’s second in the AFC with 24 receptions.
• Kyle Williams probably will be headed to the Pro Bowl—at least he deserves to. He’s tied for third in the AFC (along with teammate Jairus Byrd) with three fumble recoveries and his five sacks are tied for 19th best in the AFC. The five sacks are tied for third-best in the NFL among listed defensive tackles and his 65 tackles (according to official NFL website) are the most among any defensive linemen in the league.
• Williams also has 14 tackles for a loss; by far the most on the team. Paul Posluszny, Chris Kelsay, Marcus Stroud and Bryan Scott each have five.
• Donte Whitner may be headed towards a contract extension before he hits free agency—- and leading all NFL defensive backs with 116 tackles is surely a leverage point on his side. Clearly he’s coming on– Whitner has 30 tackles to go with an interception and forced fumble in his last three games.
• According to the league’s official website, Posluszny is tied for third in the NFL among linebackers with 120 tackles. He also has two sacks. Posluszny will be a free agent after the season and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of value Buddy Nix puts on him.
• Drayton Florence leads the Bills in both interceptions (three) and passes defended (12). He has also scored both of Buffalo’s two defensive touchdowns. Like Posluszny and Whitner, Florence is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
• Maybin Mayhem? Aaron Maybin has exactly one tackle since the New England game on September 26. For those keeping track, Maybin has one more tackle (six) than times he’s been inactive (five) for 2010. Don’t let the door hit you on the way to your hometown Baltimore Ravens tryout before next season.
• Many, including myself have griped about Chris Kelsay’s $24-million contract extension this season, but his 16 tackles, two sack, one forced fumble performance over the last four games isn’t too shabby.
• The Bills defense has recorded at least one sack in 10 straight games and have recorded 18 total during that span. For the season they have 22 sacks.
• The defense has forced at least one fumble in five of the past six games. Byrd leads the way with three of them.
• The 187 total yards surrendered to Cleveland was the best Buffalo’s done this season and a far cry from the 445 New England laid on them in week three.
• Miami receiver Brandon Marshall is sure to keep the Buffalo secondary busy on Sunday. The first time the teams met Marshall was limited to 53 yards on eight receptions. The last time the Bills gave up 200 yards to a receiver in a game actually came at Miami, when Chris Chambers torched the secondary for 238 yards on 15 catches in 2005.
• Jonathan Stupar’s 52-yard receiving breakout against Cleveland last week only moves him up to 54th in the NFL for receiving yards among tight ends with 104.
• Remember when the Bills’ special teams was always among the NFL’s elite? Not anymore. Through 13 games the Bills are just 16th in the NFL in kickoff returns and 27th in kick coverage. Brian Moorman is last in the conference in yards per punt (42.6) and second-last in net average (36.5). Kicker Rian Lindell is tied for 18th in the NFL with just seven touchbacks on kickoffs.
• George Wilson leads the team with 13 special teams tackles. Corey McIntyre and Arthur Moats are tied for second with 10 each.
• If Miami scores a touchdown this Sunday, don’t expect Buffalo to block the extra point. The Bills haven’t blocked an extra point since Phil Hansen did it against Kansas City in 1997.
• As a team the Bills have been in the red zone 31 times this season; scoring 17 touchdowns and nine field goals. They’ve scored 83.8% of the time and have gone in for a touchdown on 54.8% of their opportunities. Defensively, they’ve allowed a touchdown 61.9% of the time and 90.4% of red zone opportunities have seen opponents come away with at least a field goal.
• It would be nice to see the Bills score first. Opponents have gotten on the board before Buffalo in nine of the 13 game this season. The Bills are 2-7 in them.
Relevant Stat(s) of The Week: There’s not many situations where a 3-10 team comes out on top, but the Bills are 3-0 when a running back goes for at least 100 yards and are 2-0 when they lead at the end of the third quarter. Conversely, you can turn off the TV set when they’re down— Buffalo’s just 1-10 when they trail after three.
Irrelevant Stat of The Week: Buffalo has won the coin toss in nine of its 13 games. It doesn’t mean they’ll get the ball first—- Gailey always defers, much to the well-documented dismay of Rochester D&C writer Sal Maiorana.
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