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Bills Defense Has A Tough Choice: Whom Should We Stop?

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With the 20th ranked rushing defense in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills have to figure out “whom to stop” in this weekend’s AFC Championship Game against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Lamar Jackson’s playoff woes bailed out that Buffalo defense last weekend, but how will the Bills respond to the most dynamic offense in the game? If Buffalo wants any chance, they’ll need to take something away from Kansas City.

Mahomes looks to be running around like his usual self, and according to Fox reporter Harold Kuntz, dynamic rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks to be ready to play as well.

The last thing the Bills need is Patrick Mahomes hitting Travis Kelce in stride while the running game keeps the sticks moving. The only way Buffalo can keep their defense off the field is to make the Chiefs one-dimensional.

Mahomes isn’t likely to make mistakes. He threw just six interceptions in 2020, but those picks came predominantly in third-and-long scenarios. The Bills either force that to happen this Sunday, or they’re dead in the water.

Patrick Mahomes’ underrated skill

One ability in Mahomes’ bag is that he runs a 4.6 40-yard-dash and still manages to routinely scramble to the sticks. Luckily for the Bills, Lamar Jackson served as a perfect appetizer to prepare the defense for a mission to contain the quarterback.

We also shouldn’t forget that Bills star quarterback Josh Allen is equally important to stopping Andy Reid’s jigsaw of an offense. If he fails to move the ball early, then the defense won’t have much of a chance. If the offense stinks, it won’t matter if the Bills field the ’85 Bears or Seattle’s Legion of Boom on defense. They will only hold out for so long.

We can’t wait to see the type of adjustments Bills’ DC Leslie Frazier makes to force Mahomes into some mistakes. He has to find a way to keep Mahomes in the pocket, while also keeping the lid on the passing game.

Good luck.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

7 Comments

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  1. You know, I have to be honest with you. I am not sure a single 1 of Mahomes’ picks came on a 3rd and Long scenario this year.

    Top of my head 2 against Miami had 1 on a botched screen on 1st or 2nd down, and 1 on a tipped pass (thrown high) to Helaire on an early down. Third pick was a go route to Tyreek where Howard made that sick 1 handed pick, which was also a 1st down. Atlanta pick was 3rd and Goal from the 8 where he underthrew Kelce week 16. Raiders pick the week they lost Kelce took the blame and said he ran the wrong route, but I do think you are correct (that was a 3nd and Long) in 4 down territory, though (down 2 scores at the time). That’s 5.

    Had to look up the Raiders pick in game 2 and it was on 1st and 10 from LV 14 on a short pass intended for Demarcus Robinson.

    I feel like Outkick needs to have me around to fact check all of these Chiefs articles the next few weeks.

  2. Moreover –

    Mahomes is the only QB I have ever seen that is probably better on 3rd and 14 than he is on 3rd and 5 (or less). If you look at his advanced numbers on 3rd and Long, they are absolutely insane. Last year he was something like 15-20 for 400 yards and 8 TDs or some shit. He had like a 98 QBR on these situations compared to the NFL QB average of 6. Not a typo.

    Every blue moon Andy Reid will cuck Mahomes and call some dumbass screen on PATRICKS down (like in the 1st half of Super Bowl LIV) … ignoring the fact he always has a WASP in him on these downs. Hell, anyone remember that 4th and 9 against the Ravens in 2018?

    Give Mahomes a playground down and an inch of leash and the defense can’t take anything for granted. He’s the only QB in NFL history you have to treat 3rd and 20 like 3rd and 3. Play prevent. Toast. Bring the house. Toast. Gotta hope you can contain the edge and not let Patrick move up in the pocket and out to the left or the right because if he gets 4-6 seconds buying time for himself and his receivers, that down is his scary down.

  3. It does help that they seem to run Tyreek and his 4.2 on ridiculous speed and timing routes as option 1 … Mahomes actually threw a pick to the 49ers and Fred Warner on one of these designed 3rd and Long routes last Super Bowl. Generally speaking, Mahomes is so good with his eyes, he will look the defense off the entire time and then zoom back at the exact right second to hit Tyreek on a 20 yard stop right at the sticks on the other side of the field, mostly against soft 3rd and Long defense that just doesn’t work against Mahomes.

    Alex Smith NEVER threw for the sticks on 3rd and 7 or longer. Patrick Mahomes never doesn’t throw for the sticks regardless of down and distance. Such a breath of fresh air.

  4. You can forget “stopping” KC. The best thing you can do is slow them, make them earn points with long drives, and tell your defenders to strip or punch at the ball to force fumbles. Don’t give up the “gash plays” that suddenly flip the field. Buffalo is going to have to score some points to win. You’re going to need 30 points to win this game.

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