Buffalo Bills already have gameplan to slow down Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter in Glendale, Ariz. November 8, 2020.Miami Dolphins Vs Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter in Glendale, Ariz. November 8, 2020.Miami Dolphins Vs Arizona Cardinals /

The Buffalo Bills already have the gameplan to slow down Kyler Murray.

The Buffalo Bills defense will face a unique challenge this week when they are tasked with slowing down Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray. While they are regularly lining up across from another mobile quarterback in practice in Josh Allen, Kyler Murray is vastly different.

While Allen is mobile, he is more of a power runner while Kyler Murray is arguably the fastest and quickest quarterback in the league. The defense is going to have to be very disciplined but they have already shown they can slow down quarterbacks like Kyler Murray.

They did it last year when they faced Lamar Jackson as the Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback had one of the worst games of his MVP season. While he did throw for three touchdowns, he only threw for 145 passing yards and had his second-lowest rushing total of only 40 yards.

How did the Buffalo Bills do it?

After the game, John Harbaugh mentioned what the Buffalo Bills were able to do to keep Lamar Jackson’s rushing totals, and overall impact, mostly in check. Matt Parrino of NewYorkUpstate.com quoted the Ravens’ head coach saying:

"“They were playing mostly a corners type style, a college quarter,” Harbaugh said. “The safeties were down, making numerous tackles near or at the line of scrimmage. I thought our backs ran really hard through some of those tackles too, but it was an all commitment basically to stopping the run in that sense. The (Bills’) corners are good and the safeties got back out of our play action really well – they’re very well coached. The conditions probably made it tougher to attack that coverage also.”"

In that game, which the Bills did ultimately lose 24-17, the team’s two starting safeties combined for 17 total tackles with Jordan Poyer adding 10 and Micah Hyde having seven.

The Buffalo Bills must make some modifications

While the gameplan against the Baltimore Ravens did work, the coaching staff can’t dust off the playbook and expect it to work. There are similarities between what Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray are able to do on the field but the offenses are vastly different.

The Ravens are one of the more run-heavy offenses in the league while Arizona Cardinals are more willing to throw it around the field. Last year, Jackson averaged about 25 pass attempts while Kyler Murray through eight games is averaging 34.

This means that the Buffalo Bills aren’t going to be able to regularly bring their safeties close to the line of scrimmage. If they do, Murray has the playmakers at wide receiver to beat this defense over the top.

Entering this game, the Buffalo Bills coaching staff will likely use a combination of their gameplan from last year to slow Lamar Jackson, combined with what they ran last week against the Seattle Seahawks.

While Russell Wilson is a mobile quarterback, he doesn’t have the explosiveness that Kyler Murray has. The Buffalo Bills will try to bring safeties up to the line when they can like in the game against the Baltimore Ravens but also dial up the blitz more, similar to the game against the Seahawks, where they get pressure from linebackers like Tremaine Edmunds and A.J. Klein.

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The defense has a tall task ahead of them this week against Kyler Murray and this Cardinals’ offense. However, they have shown they have the scheme and gameplan for these types of games with their performances against Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson.