Watching the Bills’ offense this season would drive anyone to drink, so a morning six-pack might not be enough. Buffalo’s offense is ranked 3st overall ahead of Arizona, which was so inept through seven weeks that the Cardinals canned coordinator Mike McCoy.
If the you’re looking to draw a positive from Sunday’s matchup against Indianapolis, rest peacefully knowing the Bills aren’t the worst. They do have the worst passing attack in the NFL, however, mustering a measly 123 yards per game.
Most high schools are piling up more yardage through the air these days. The Bills are starting 35-year-old quarterback Derek Anderson, who was signed off the street to serve a mentor. Still, this is the NFL. You never know what to expect in a given day, as Minnesota found out in Week Three.
Jacksonville didn’t allow its opponents to score more than 20 points in the first four games. Dallas had scored 20 or less in four of five games. What happened? The Cowboys drilled the Jaguars, 40-7, last week. Indianapolis, which has allowed an average of 39 points per game in the past three weeks, is a slump-buster.
Buffalo can beat Indy if …
The Bills improve to average. NFL teams are generating 365 yards per game, the most in history and more than 30 yards per game, per team, than it produced last season. The Bills haven’t had 300 yards in any game this season and are averaging just 222 yards. NFL teams are averaging 20 first downs per game, the Bills 12. Get to average, with their defense, and they win.
UPDATE: The Bills had 303 yards in total offense and had 15 first downs, but they never threatened. The yardage total was misleading considering the Colts were in control all afternoon.
Post a double-double. The meager passing attack could double its production and still be below the league average of 255 yards per game. Still, if Anderson can throw for 246 yards Sunday, it would be a yard more than the highest output this season for a Bills’ quarterback. Buffalo is last in scoring at 12.7 points per game. Double it, and they would have 25 points, a point more than the league average.
UPDATE: Anderson threw for 175 yards and had three interceptions with a simplified playbook. The Bills' scoring average actually fell to 11.5 points per game. Pathetic.
Protect the quarterback. Granted, this isn’t about keeping Anderson upright in his fifth NFL start since 2010. It’s about keeping Nathan Peterman off the field. Nice guy, Peterman, but the Bills need production. For various reasons, he has yet to throw for 100 yards in seven NFL games, including playoffs. He has thrown 10 interceptions, including the pick-six last week. Anderson has thrown for 200 yards 24 times in 76 career games. So what if it hasn’t happened since 2014.
UPDATE: Anderson was sacked twice for 7 yards. The Bills had the option to play Peterman with the Colts leading, 37-5, in the closing minutes was elected to keep him on the sideline.
Andrew Luck keeps chucking. The Colts quarterback is back playing like he did early in his career, before he suffered a shoulder injury that wiped out the 2017 season. He has tossed for 300 yards in each of the past three weeks. He has had more than 50 attempts three times this season, including 62 attempts against Houston. Luck also has lost all five games in which he has thrown 40 times. In his only win, he was 21 of 31 for 179 yards against Washington in Week Two.
UPDATE: Luck was 17 of 23 for 156 yards and four touchdowns. He was efficient and had an easy afternoon in a balanced attack.
Avoid Mack truck. Never mind that Marlon Mack runs around people more than he runs over them. The second-year back from South Florida ran extremely well last week against the Jets, when he had 89 yards on just 12 carries. He had a game against San Francisco last season in which he had nine carries for 91 yards. Mack is a great athlete with terrific acceleration who has averaged 4.2 yards per carry while rushing for 481 yards in 16 career games. The Bills need to make sure he doesn’t become the latest on a disturbingly long list of obscure backs to carve up the defense.
UPDATE: Mack rushed for 126 yards on 19 carries. He had two catches for 33 yards, including a 29-yard TD. Did anybody get the license plate?
Adam Vinatieri has exactly 10 points. At age 45, Vinatieri needs only 10 points to move past Morten Andersen and into the top spot among the NFL’s all-time scorers. Assuming nothing absurd happens – such as the Colts scoring 10 touchdowns or seven TDs and a field goal – the Bills can win if he’s perfect Sunday and finishes with three field goals and an extra point. We’re talking about 16 points allowed. Buffalo keeping Indy to 16 points and reaching one of the above offensive goals adds up to a Bills’ win.
UPDATE: The veteran kicker was one of Indy's weak spots. He missed two extra points and made a 36-yard field goal.