An Imperfect Hope for Bills Fans

Off. Passing Yards 190 186 112
Off. Rushing Yards 115 90 110
Off. Total Yards 305 276 222
Def. Passing Yards 204 368 150
Def. Rushing Yards 122 73 156
Def. Total Yards 326 441 306

The first column represents the Bills 2008 averages, the second column gives the Bills stats from Week 1 of 2009, and the third column gives the Bills averages in just the two games against the Patriots last season.  The last column is skewed because of bad weather during the second Patriots game, causing greater than normal rushing totals and lower than normal passing totals.

I think this chart gives Bills fans some reasons for optimism, despite Monday night’s crushing loss.  First, note the great improvement in passing yards against the Patriots defense.  It is still too early to tell if this is due to improvements by the Bills in the offseason or regression from the Patriots pass defense.  Nevertheless, new offense coordinator Alex Van Pelt calling plays for the first time could have brought disastrous effects, especially when playing a team that finished last season 11-5 in their stadium.  In contrast, you saw an improved passing attack and a rushing game that was only marginally weaker, despite its primary back serving a suspension.   As a matter of fact, the Bills rushing game finishes Week 1 ranked 13th in the league, up dramatically from its 25th ranking last season.

Second, the chart shows dramatic improvement in the Bills rush defense.  The Bills held the Patriots to 73 rushing yards, which would have been the third lowest total of the 2008 Bills season.  (They held the Chargers to 72 in Week 7 and the 49ers to 62 in Week 13.)  Given a Bills team that had the 22nd ranked rush defense in the league in 2008, a rank of 9th after Week 1 gives some possibility for hope.

Are the Bills a playoff team?  Maybe not, yet like Peter King of Sports Illustrated, I remain optimistic.  Despite a Week 1 loss, they played well enough, though, to give Bills fans some admittedly imperfect reason to hope this season.

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2 Comments on “An Imperfect Hope for Bills Fans”

  1. That stats chart is a breath of fresh air for a Bills fan after the tough loss Monday night! Those numbers show that our defense is strong as always and our offense is showing much needed signs of life for the new season. Like you said, hard to tell if its van pelt’s coaching or other offensive changes in the off season. Whatever it is it seems to be working for Buffalo!

  2. sportsphd Says:

    Now the question for the defense is how they do in the absence of Posluzhny. I wrote this post before I heard that he was out at least the next 6 weeks. I worry about the Bills defensive depth.

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