Unforced errors.. bad throws/ How did the O Line do?/ What mistakes are on the O-Line.. what ones are not?

I watched the NFL rewind all 22 and here is my unofficial count of how the O-Line did /
How the QB did on every pass play (I may have missed a snap or two here or there). There also may be a few extra pass attempts that were cancelled due to penalties but this should be 95% accurate.

Sufficient protection means that Josh Allen had time to hit his drop and had at least a second to scan the field.

DISCLAIMER (I am not a coach, I don’t know the hot reads or route combinations called.. this is just my educated perception of what happened on each pass play)

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LINE BREAKDOWNS: 8/40 snaps –  20%  In other words Allen didn’t really have a chance on 20% of his drop backs. Based on historical data the threshold for average O Line performance has been around a 20% breakdown rate.. so lets say the O Line play (including TEs../RBs more on that later)  was right at average against LA in pass protect.

SUFFICIENT PROTECTION: 32- 40 snaps or 80%. In other words QB had a relatively clean pocket 80% of the time.

UNFORCED QB ERRORS: 10/40 snaps or 25%. Based on my 2015/16 studies if the Bills’ QBs commit 5 unforced QB errors or less during a game their odds of winning are very favorable. Josh Allen had 10 unforced errors by my count. This is well above the danger zone. As we will see later.. some of these unf errors were not picking up blitzes and throwing to hot routes. Some were just plain off target throws where he was not under duress.


DION DAWKINS – had a really solid day. By my observation there were no obvious pressures given up by DD.

VLAD DUCASSE – I’ve been hard on Vlad the past few months but he was OUTSTANDING in pass protect against LA. To my eye he did not give up any pressures.

RYAN GROY–  Groy was much better this week than against Ravens. However.. he had one obviously bad play where he did not sustain his block .. which indirectly led to an Allen INT

JOHN MILLER – Miller had a bit of a rough start (giving up a sack early as shown below) but he rallied to play much better as the game went on.

q1:11:32 -Early in the first quarter #76 is slow to pick up the safety blitz resulting in a sack which Allen had no chance to avoid

JORDAN MILLS – Mills was generally solid against a very tough matchup against Melvin Ingram. He did a good job of handling Ingram on wide speed rushes which is usually his Achilles’ heel. On the downside, he did have an inexcusable false start penalty in Q3 and  was also bull rushed into Allen later in the game.




While the O Line held up well enough.. it was another story for the Tight Ends and RBs in pass protect. Both Logan Thomas and Marcus Murphy had moments where they were exposed in pass protect

q1: 8:43 –  Logan Thomas lines up a little to wide after going into motion and whiffs on blitzer

q1: 1:17  – Marcus Murphy shows poor technique and is overpowered by the blizting CB


JOSH ALLEN  UNFORCED ERRORS – By my count JA had 10 unforced errors.  Several of these were inaccurate throws where he was not under duress. Hopefully this was due more to nerves than an innate innacuracy problem. Several other unforced errors were situations where the o line picked up the pass rushers but #17 didn’t appear  to account for the unblocked blitzer and therefore didn’t hit his hot route.  There was one instance where he could have stepped up into the pocket to avoid the rush but instead bailed left and into the arms of a DE. The good news is.. it appears that Allen’s natural instinct is to shuffle up into the pocket to avoid a rush. The really good news is that he climbed the pocket for his two best throws at the end of the game in a pressured situation.


Q1 3:44 – Allen does a nice PA fake here freezing second level defenders, he has time is looking deep but doesn’t go all the way through his progressions as he does not see Charles Clay wide open to his left



Q2: 15:00  – The pocket closes in on Allen .. however.. he has a window in front of him to climb the pocket to avoid pressure. Unfortunately he bails out to the left into the waiting arms of the DE



Q4: 1:22 –  Here is a clip showing Allen climbing the pocket and finding success. This one should give Bills fans butterflies…


  • The O Line/ TEs RBs appeared to be accountable for 2/6 of the sacks
  • Allen appeared to be accountable for 3/6 of the sacks
  • The Chargers 1/6 : They had one blitz late in the game that was a masterpiece where neither Allen nor the O Line appeared to be at blame


The O Line was definetly not the weak link against the Chargers. This is especially impressive as the Chargers blitzed on almost every passing down up until the 4th quarter. For the most part the O Line appeared to pick up the right man on these blitzes. There were multiple times where there was an extra defender that a lineman or RB/TE were not around to pick up and these are the plays where the QB is accountable for that free blitzer. Hopefully Allen will learn to recognize these situations and either audible out.. or hit a hot route to burn these blitzes.  As these are high level skills that take a while to develop for most QBs you can expect the Vikings and other future opponents to bring the kitchen sink against #17 until he can show he can counter it. Allen was effective several times running to counter the blitz.. however.. that will not always be an option for him in those free blitzer situations.

I also did not see any holding calls on the Bills O Lineman in pass protect. which is a huge step forward from the Ravens game. That being said Mills and Dawkins had inexcusable False Start penalties. All in all though.. the O Line did a great job cleaning up the dirty laundry compared to week 1.

A more obvious weak link were the inexperienced players TE Thomas and RB Murphy who both struggled to effectively pass protect. Again.. with young players comes growing pains but if these two continue to play poorly in pass protect it will be hard for Daboll to trust them and put them in the lineup going forward.

So.. in order for the Bills to make progress on offense they need to improve in several areas

  • Allen needs to relax and reduce inaccurate throws when not under duress
  • TEs/RBs need to step up their game in pass protect
  • Allen needs to get better at recognizing unaccounted for blitzers and find a way to make positive play out of situations
  • Allen needs to continue to climb the pocket when he can instead of bailing left or right. With his height he should be able to do the Tom Brady shuffle and stay in the pocket more.


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q1 11:32 – SACK – John Miller late getting to S blitz that appeared to be his responsibility

q1 8:43- SACK – Logan Thomas whiffs on blocking his assignment

q1 3:44- UNFORCED ERROR – Allen nice PA fake, has time , doesn’t see open Charles Clay

Q1 1:23- UNFORCED ERROR –  Allen rolls left and overthrows easy short pass to Murphy

Q1 1:17-  Marcus Murphy overpowered by CB blitz forcing Allen to throw early

q2 15:00 – UNFORCED ERROR – Allen has a window to climb the pocket to avoid pass rush but bails left into arms of DE

q2 1:05 – FALSE START – Dion Dawkins

q2 :59-  SACK –  UNFORCED ERROR – Allen does not account for unblocked #54 .. should have likely gone hot route to McCoy in flat.. takes sack

q3: 12:35-  Allen does excellent job running to avoid the free blitzer picking up solid gain instead of taking sack

q3 11:15- UNFORCED ERROR – Allen rolls right in red zone, has Clay open on out route in end zone but hesitates and throws too late incomplete

q3 6:58- SACK – UNFORCED ERROR — Allen does not see blitz coming.. should’ve have likely identified it and thrown hot route to Jones in flat

q3 5:45 – UNFORCED ERROR –  Allen has time but delivers inaccurate throw to Holmes on sideline behind him which is dropped

q3 2:54- UNFORCED ERROR – Groy can’t hold his block and his man flushes Allen out of the pocket. Allen runs right .. should’ve thrown ball away OOB but forces it and throws INT

q4 7:11 – FALSE START – Jordan Mills

q4 -7:11 – UNFORCED ERROR – INT – Allen has time in his own end zone, noone open, should’ve thrown it away but forces pass that is intercepted

q4 2:58 – Mills bullrushed into Allen forcing him out of pocket

q4 1:55 – SACK – Masterfully disguised blitz by LA.. can’t really blame this on O Line or Allen

q4: 1:22-  Allen climbs dirty pocket and throws 25 yd strike into tight window to Holmes

q4 – Allen again hangs in pocket and throws bullet to Benjamin in end zone for TD