Lack of run game becoming major issue for Bills

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) warms up before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Sean McDermott was very clear on Wednesday that he is very not happy about the state of the Buffalo run game. No Bills running back has rushed for even 40 yards in a game in over a month.

McDermott did not have to pushed for candid criticism of his offense. He even volunteered that the problem has been going on a lot longer that just the last few games.

“Start with the first game. Look at that film,” McDermott said with a withering stare. “Go back to last year at the end of the season in particular. That’s where we’re at.”

McDermott later added he expected the run game to further along than it has been this season. Josh Allen says the focus has been being more efficient.

“We don’t need big plays every time we touch the ball when we’re running,” Allen said. “We got to consistently get 4-5 yards. I think we’re more than capable of doing that.”

While the running game has gradually become less vital to success in the modern NFL, McDermott reminded that all parts of the offense work together. The ground game struggles can and have bled into causing issues with the pass game.

The good teams are the ones that can make adjustments. It’s something that McDermott says is a part of every football season. The Bills are not going to survive a long playoff run without getting better rushing the ball.

“It is something that we need to do and do better if we want to be the team we’re trying to become,” McDermott said.

This Bills may be forced to make a running back change this weekend. Zack Moss sat out practice on Wednesday with a concussion. Even if he is healthy, McDermott admitted that going to Matt Brieda is an option the team is considering.

If Buffalo can become more consistent on the ground, it might chase defenses out of the Cover-2 shell Allen talked about after the Jags loss. The defensive alignment that the Bills have been facing more often forces short throws and is designed to prevent long ones.

It’s a big reason why Stefon Diggs has been used a bit less since the bye. The last two games were only the second pair of back to back weeks where Diggs had less than 10 targets in each. The only other time that’s happened were the third and fourth games of his Bills career.

As much as Allen wants Diggs more involved in the offense, he will stay patient and be willing to assemble the long drives Cover-2 often mandates.

“It’s not frustrating at all,” Allen said. “Teams have been playing us differently this year and we understand that. We got to be smart with where the ball goes, how we continue to move it, making sure that we’re holding on to the football and not turning the ball over. We didn’t do a good enough job of that last week.”

“I want to go deep. I want run by some guys, but it doesn’t shake out that way so you got to take what you’re given,” Diggs said. “Move down the field. Take it one play at a time.”

Allen was very complimentary of Diggs’ play despite the slight slump. He’s confident the offense will start clicking in the right direction soon.

“When you keep doing all the right things, you’re going to start making some plays,” Allen said.

Diggs admits that every receiver would want the ball every play if they could. That’s not something he can control. As a the leader of the receiver room, he’s trying to keep the focus on what those guys can control.

“We just got to continue to get open,” he said. “We can’t do anything extra. We can’t block nobody. We don’t do pass protection. We don’t throw the ball. We got to rely on a lot of things to go right to get the ball. But the little things you can do is be a positive reinforcement.”

Allen says the smart throw is still the open throw and that might not be Diggs because of the respect he demands league wide. Diggs understands.

“When I go deep, there’s usually a couple of guys with me (covering),” he said.

Another reason why the Bills aren’t very much happy this week.

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