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Bills must pick up statistical pace over final eight games

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' season is halfway over, and I know how to multiply by two.

So look out.

We've heard much about Mario Williams being on pace to break Bruce Smith's club record for sacks. Overall, however, the Bills are trending toward some disconcerting stats for coach Doug Marrone's first campaign.

Before we take a gander at the numbers, consider the 3-5 Bills have faced a slightly tougher schedule than they will in the second half of the season.

The Bills' first eight opponents average 18th in total yards and 11th in yards allowed as of Monday night. Their final eight opponents average 22nd in total yards and 14th in yards allowed.

The next three defenses they'll face rank fifth, fourth and sixth. Then they play three teams -- Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars -- with a combined record of 2-20.

But the Bills also have only three games left in Ralph Wilson Stadium, one after Week 11.

All that noted, here are some thoughts on Buffalo's pace:

Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson are trending to be yardage leaders with low numbers. Jackson is on pace for 850 rushing yards. Johnson is on pace for 774 receiving yards. It would be the second time since 2000 the Bills didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver.

Opponents are on track for 426 points, fourth-most in club history and only nine points better than last season. They're on track to allow 48 touchdowns, which would be tied for sixth-most.

The Bills are on pace for 1,132 offensive plays. The record is 1,094 plays in 1996. The Bills haven't executed over 1,000 plays in a decade.

On the flip side, partially because the Bills run a no-huddle offense, their defense is on pace to break the record with 1,150 plays against. The most they've faced was 1,119 plays in 1993.

Despite more plays, the Bills' offense is about the same as last year. They're on pace for 302 first downs, one more than last year. They're on pace for 5,264 yards, 222 fewer than last year but the second-most since 1998.

The run game is a team strength, but the pace of 112 rushing first downs would be 10th-lowest in club history.

The Bills are on pace for 3,122 net passing yards, their worst output since 2009. The Bills have been rated higher than 15th in passing offense once from 2003 onward.

If the numbers hold up, then Buffalo's defense will allow 342 first downs (fourth-most in team history), with 210 through the air (most in team history).

Buffalo's defense is on pace to surrender a team-record 6,098 total yards. The worst season was 2011, when it allowed 5,938 yards.

They would obliterate the record for net passing yards allowed with 4,214. The worst season was 2007, when they gave up 3,814 net passing yards.

But the Bills are statistically better against the run. They're on pace to allow 1,884 rushing yards, their third-best season since 2000. They've allowed only two rushing TDs. The record for fewest is four, and that happened in 14-game seasons, 1964 and 1965.

The Bills are on pace to commit just 26 turnovers (12 interceptions, 14 fumbles). That would be tied for fifth-fewest.

Opponents are on pace to fumble 12 times, fewest in Bills history.

If Dan Carpenter scores 128 points, then his season will be tied for fourth in club history and will be the best since Steve Christie set the record with 140 points in 1998. Carpenter is on track for 32 field goals, one short of the record.

Williams is on pace for 22 sacks, three more than Smith's club record. Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus are on pace for career-highs with eight sacks apiece.

Buffalo's 116 penalties and 994 penalty yards each would rank among the worst 10 seasons.

tagged

Bruce Smith | Dan Carpenter | Doug Marrone | Fred Jackson | Kyle Williams | Marcell Dareus | Mario Williams | Steve Christie | Stevie Johnson
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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