2019 Buffalo Bills Wrap Up

2019 Buffalo Bills Wrap Up
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Personally, as a fan, I am conflicted about how the 2019 season worked out for the Bills. Pre-season, I’m on record with a 6-10 prediction and, obviously, no playoff berth. From that perspective, ending up 10-6 and making the playoffs as the fifth seed, not to mention locking it up by week 15 instead of backing in as they did in 2017, the 2019 season was a raving success.
But the way the season ended with blowing an easily winnable game in New England that could have given us the division crown and following it up with Brian Daboll, Josh Allen, and the offense squandering a 16 point lead in the second half of a road playoff game just makes the season feel like a crushing disappointment. I legitimately had a minor mental breakdown during wildcard weekend as a result of the emotional whiplash of taking a commanding lead early and just absolutely choking in the 4th quarter.
To move past that heartbreak, I’ve decided to do a more in-depth analysis of the Bills’ season in an attempt to make myself feel better about our future.
Starting with the most important piece of any NFL team, let’s take a look at Josh Allen’s improvement over last season.

As you can see, Josh Allen literally improved in every statistical passing category compared to his rookie season. I extrapolated his 11 games out to 16 for the total yardage, total TDs, and total INTs and rounded up to the nearest whole number. Granted, his rookie numbers were so god awful that improvement was almost impossible to avoid, but he was also given quality starters at receiver, something akin to a competent offensive line, and a dynamic young RB to take some of the rushing burden off his… feet.
The results were fairly impressive most of the time. Allen is still very much a project and needs a lot of work, but anyone who actually watched him play this season saw a marked improvement in his confidence and decision making. He still struggles under pressure as young QBs often do and he has accuracy issues, but the raw talent is there and it’s slowly being shaped into an above average NFL QB. His biggest problem, and it became less pronounced as the season wore on until last week, is his tendency to force throws or make too much happen with his feet. This proclivity for “hero ball” is easily his worst trait and something that he knows he needs to get out of his game entirely.
His rushing numbers dropped, which I guess some could say is a negative, but I take it as a positive. He scrambled less this year because he had an OL that gave him some protection. Most of his runs were called runs in the red zone. The one real knock here is ball security. It cost us three points and probably the game last week and it was an issue all season.
Now let’s take a look at the team’s performance as a whole.

Basically a blanket of green. Despite all the negative press and smokin’ hot takes from wannabe analysts, the Bills run defense was actually significantly better than it was last year. If the pass defense wasn’t overshadowing it, it would probably not have been worth mentioning, although there were a couple games where the run defense just got shredded.
One thing I want to point out is that the rushing TD total for the Bills offense actually dropped, which might not make sense considering how many TDs Allen ran for this year. The reason for this is because we actually threw for more TDs as a team… and also because we had quite a bit of trouble getting into the red zone.
Overall, this was a good season by any objective measure. By the standards of 21st century Buffalo Bills football, this was a fantastic season. This defense is young and built to last and the offense is a couple skill players away from being as good as any in the league. However, the entire future of the Bills franchise rests on Josh Allen and his ability to continue to develop as an NFL quarterback. If we see a similar improvement in his numbers in 2020 as we saw in 2019, then this team will be a force in the AFC for the next decade. If this is all he can be, then we’re going to be mired in mediocrity for who knows how long.

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