On Monday Night Football, the big difference between the Bills and the Patriots came down to fundamentals.
One team could run the ball. The other team couldn’t.
The ground game was essentially in a game heavily impacted by gusting winds that made every kick a trial and every throw a question mark.
It didn’t matter how big of an arm Josh Allen boasts. Without a rushing attack, the Bills were stuck.
The Bills’ unreliable run game cost them now and will cost them later
Buffalo ran the ball 25 times and managed 99 yards. Most of those were courtesy of the quarterback, who gained 39 yards on his own. The Bills running backs, Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and Matt Breida, combined for 60 yards on 19 carries. That’s 3.15 yards per carry.
It was a poor showing on a night when the run game should have been the thing to lean on.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots had Mac Jones throw the ball three times. They put it all on the ground with 222 yards rushing.
The Bills run defense is a problem that deserves its own attention. But Buffalo’s strength has been on offense and an offense that can’t run the ball is never going to truly thrive.
Buffalo is now 7-5 and the playoffs aren’t a given anymore. That would have been unthinkable when they started the season 4-1 and looking like an absolute juggernaut on offense.
Assuming they do make it into the postseason, they won’t get very far without their running game showing up. Bad weather could be part of the equation in the playoffs. Even if it’s not, Allen needs support to keep defenses honest. Right now, it’s the biggest thing holding the team back.