The Bills have an imbalance problem most everyone could see coming from a year ago.
Buffalo simply does not run the ball very effectively in the traditional sense, and it's catching up to the Bills. Buffalo averages the league's seventh-highest rushing yards per game as a team at 119.8, but the team's running backs are only responsible for 74.4 of those yards per contest. Quarterback Josh Allen has led the team in rushing in each of Buffalo's last two games, gaining 55 in a Week 8 win over Miami and finishing with 50 in the team's stunning loss to Jacksonville.
Everyone can see Buffalo's offensive problem -- including the team's head coach Sean McDermott. It's not a new development, either.
"I don't think it's just been the last couple of games," McDermott said, via NewYorkUpstate.com. "Start with the first game (this season against Pittsburgh). Look at that film. Go back to last year at the end of the season in particular. So yeah, that's where we're at."
The Bills aren't in a good place in the rushing department because they aren't feared on the ground. Opposing defenses are more concerned about minimizing the damage done by Allen's arm and his receiving teammates, and keeping him from attacking defenses out of structure by taking off with the ball in his hands.
Devin Singletary? Zack Moss? They might be quality backs, but they aren't causing sleepless nights because they aren't seeing a large enough volume to make much of a difference. Buffalo is a pass-first, run-later offense, and has been for about a full calendar year.
The biggest issue with this current reality is it makes game-planning for the Bills a little bit easier for opposing defenses. As McDermott said, Pittsburgh did so effectively in Week 1, and both Miami and Jacksonville executed well enough to keep their games close against what is essentially a superior team. Tennessee did it too, though Allen was able to overcome those struggles with his arm for most of that contest before falling to the Titans.
"I can promise you that adjustments are being made," McDermott said. "Whether you see them or not, that's what good teams do. It's just every season, you've got to continue to adjust with the team you have. This team is running its own race. Last season was last season. That team ran its own race. 2017 ran its own race. So the challenges this season may be a little bit different than the challenges last season."
It's interesting that McDermott noted the 2017 Bills, his first trip to the postseason as Buffalo's head coach with a team that ended the league's longest active playoff drought at that time. Those Bills relied heavily on the running game, handing it to LeSean McCoy 287 times for 1,138 yards that year. But those Bills also saw their season end in the same stadium in which McDermott's current team suffered its most embarrassing loss in quite some time, and in similar low-scoring fashion.
A few months later, Buffalo spent its first round pick on Allen, and before long, everything had changed. Perhaps they could use a bit of a blast from the past to get closer to the center of the run-pass differential, which currently stands at 40-60 on first down.
"As coaches, that's what we get paid to do is to adjust, try and stay out in front of things the best you can," McDermott said. "And that's what my teammates, these players, these coaches look for me to do. And that's what we're doing."