By Jay Skurski
The Buffalo Bills' decision to release Shawn Powell today was based largely on his inability to get enough hang time on his punts, according to coach Doug Marrone.
"We've been trying to get that for the last couple weeks," Marrone said. "It's not very difficult. You look to see how many times you're covering. You're covering more than anyone else; it's only a matter of time in this league before you get exposed."
That time came Thursday night for the Bills in Cleveland, where Browns punt returner Travis Benjamin had a huge impact in his team's 37-24 victory at FirstEnergy Stadium. Benjamin set a Browns record with seven punt returns for 179 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown.
Powell punted eight times against the Browns. Buffalo News sports reporter Mark Gaughan tracked the hang time of each, and they are as follows:
- First quarter, 1:51 remaining: 3.9 seconds. 44 yards to the Cleveland 12, returned 57 yards.
- Second quarter, 11:11 remaining: 3.3 seconds. 44 yards to the Cleveland 20, returned 6 yards.
- Second quarter, 2:41 remaining: 4.0 seconds. 52 yards to the Cleveland 21, returned 79 yards for a TD.
- Second quarter, :28 seconds remaining: 4.28 seconds. 58 yards to the Cleveland 11, returned 13 yards.
- Third quarter, 4:57 remaining: 3.0 seconds. 39 yards, out of bounds at the Cleveland 39.
- Third quarter, 2:07 remaining: 2.9 seconds. 34 yards to the Buffalo 38, returned 6 yards.
- Fourth quarter, 11:17 remaining: 4.1 seconds. 44 yards to the Cleveland 28, returned 5 yards.
- Fourth quarter, 7:13 remaining: 4.97 seconds. 49 yards to the Cleveland 30, returned 13 yards.
The punt that was returned from the touchdown did not have good hang time, but was placed well, just 2 yards from the sideline. The 39-yard punt out of bounds was a shank that actually went for a decent net number, and the 34-yard punt was out of his own end zone.
"Obviously, you can say we could've had better leverage, but when you're covering balls that are under four seconds it's very difficult to cover. That's just the truth," Marrone said today.
Buffalo has covered 19 punts so far this season, second most in the NFL behind Jacksonville. Opposing teams have 280 return yards against Buffalo, most in the NFL.
taggedBrian Moorman | Doug Marrone | Shawn Powell