Buffalo Bills: Report card for the defense halfway through the 2020 season

Buffalo Bills (Syndication: The Record)
Buffalo Bills (Syndication: The Record) /
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Buffalo Bills
Jerry Hughes of Buffalo after he recovered a fumble late in the game as the Buffalo Bills met the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on October 25, 2020.The Buffalo Bills Vs The New York Jets At Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford New Jersey On October 25 2020 /

This is how each position group on the defensive side of the ball has performed over the first half of the year for the Buffalo Bills.

While the Buffalo Bills offense for the most part has received passing grades, the defense has been a different story. There is no question that this group has been one of the bigger disappointments but fortunately, it hasn’t cost them too many wins as they are currently 6-2 at the halfway point of the season.

These are the grades for each position based on their performance over the first eight games.

Defensive line: D+

For what seemed like years, the Buffalo Bills were feared on the defensive side of the ball. Forcing turnovers and fumbles all while delivering hits so loud you could hear them in the nose-bleed seats at Bills Stadium. Unfortunately, that seems like years ago as the defensive line has arguably been the largest concern for fans and coaches alike.

Now exactly halfway through the 2020 season, moves made in the offseason seem to be coming back to haunt this Bills defense. Jordan Phillips has been a solid addition to the  Arizona Cardinals with two sacks, two forced fumbles and a tackle for loss. Meanwhile, Shaq Lawson in Miami has had a similar year, posting a pair of sacks, a forced fumble, and one a tackle for a loss.

Compare those two, along with the rest of the 2019 Buffalo Bills defensive line, with the current 2020 Buffalo Bills D-line and it is obvious their presence could have helped.

Currently, the Bills have given up a total of 2,865 yards with 1,076 of those yards being on the ground. That is 573 yards less than the 1,649 yards the team gave up the entire 2019 season.

One of, if not the largest, factors attributing to this is the lack of play the current team is getting. Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips and Trent Murphy have been involved in almost every play but statistically, their contributions are not being shown.

Moving forward into the remaining half of the Bills’ season, coordinator Leslie Frazier will have to gameplan to make this underperforming unit less of a liability. Implementing more corner/linebacker blitz packages to stop the run will be crucial in the later, colder months of the season as the weather gets colder and the playoffs near.