Skip to main content

Next Gen Stats: Bills skill-position players come alive

The Buffalo Bills ended their two-game losing skid in grand fashion, becoming the first team in NFL history with a pair of 100-yard rushers and a 150-yard receiver in the same game.

Although Percy Harvin is lost for the season, the Bills offense got a quartet of playmakers back in the lineup for Week 9, with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and running backs LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams all excelling in the victory over the Dolphins.

Watkins toasted Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes, reaching a season-high 21.27 mph on a 44-yard touchdown and 19.80 mph on a 63-yard juggling catch. This was his first game of the season with multiple max speeds as ball carrier over 17.00 mph, a sign that Taylor is finally finding him with open space to run after the catch.

McCoy and Williams combined not only for 222 rushing yards, but also reeled off three of the week's five fastest rushing touchdowns, per Next Gen Stats. Williams became the seventh player in NFL history to score a touchdown in each of his first five career games.

Taylor authored one of the most efficient quarterback performances of the season, completing 11 of 12 passes for 181 yards and a sterling 146.5 passer rating.

It should come as no surprise that the Bills offense is back on track now that fringe roster players such as EJ Manuel, Boobie Dixon and Chris Hogan have faded into the background rather than handling featured roles.

Here's what else we learned from Next Gen Stats in Week 9:

  1. After witnessing Blaine Gabbert's flameout in Jacksonville, we can all be forgiven for forgetting that he is one of the most dynamic athletes at his position. Gabbert recorded the two highest quarterback speeds of the week at 20.95 and 20.15 mph. To put those numbers into perspective, Marcus Mariota (21.72 mph) and Mike Vick (21.15 mph) are the only quarterbacks with faster speeds this season.

This shouldn't come as a surprise considering the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Gabbert blazed a 4.61 40-yard dash leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft. No one is painting Gabbert as the franchise savior in San Francisco, but his raw athleticism is on par with that of Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.

  1. How important is Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers' offense? Antonio Brown has averaged 10 receptions and 153 yards in the five games Roethlisberger has started compared to four catches and 59 yards with Vick or Landry Jones under center. Brown earned his money versus the Raiders, covering a total distance of 613 yards as a ball carrier on his 284 receiving yards. Next Gen Stats tells us those 613 yards are 184 more than any other wide receiver has run with the ball in his hands this year. Brown also led all NFL players in distance traveled from the line of scrimmage in Week 9, totaling 1,811 yards -- or just over a mile.
  1. Thanks in large part to poor blocking, Adrian Peterson's yards-after-contact average is down from previous seasons. If you're seeking evidence that he still has extraordinary short-area bust, though, Peterson reached 19.62 mph on a six-yard touchdown run versus the Rams. Of the eight other rushing touchdowns from that distance this season, no player has topped 17.00 mph.
  1. Speaking of short-area burst, Jacksonville's Telvin Smith is the gold standard for speed at linebacker. Smith recorded two of the five fastest outside linebacker speeds in Week 9, which means he now boasts four of the seven fastest speeds at the position this season.
  1. The Battle of Ohio showed a contrast in styles between pocket passer Andy Dalton and sandlot quarterback Johnny Manziel, who tends to freelance outside the pocket. Including scrambles, Manziel covered an average of 19.06 yards per drop back compared to Dalton's 9.43 yards per drop back.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content