The memorable 2020 season of the Buffalo Bills came to a screeching halt in the AFC Championship game last year. Kansas City’s offense roared back after a 9-0 deficit and took a 38-15 lead into the fourth quarter that wouldn’t be relinquished. With the Chiefs losing Super Bowl LV, possibly their biggest weakness was exposed- the offensive line.
This is where the Buffalo Bills can overthrow the Chiefs. As Kansas City re-hauled their offensive line, so did Buffalo on the defensive side. Adding young and talented pass rushers Gregory Rousseau and Carlos “Boogie” Basham will help increase the team’s hurry percentage, which was around 7% last year. That’s 25th in the league and definitely not anything a championship team asks out of its defensive line.
Another overlooked player is Star Lotulelei. His return to the defensive tackle spot should help Ed Oliver and Vernon Butler inside. Lotulelei’s big frame will command at least a double to start- or 1 and a half guys blocking him.
By “1 and a half”, I’m specifically talking about when another offensive lineman “lays a hand” (aka helps) the main blocker by keeping one arm punching the DL with his eyes looking elsewhere. As good as Creed Humphrey may be, there may be some flaws in his technique that the Bill’s DT’s can take advantage of.
The Buffalo Bills defensive line can take advantage of the Chiefs’ new starting five
On top of that, the near double-team of a DT means that the tackles are man-on. With the Chiefs running 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) more than the Bills did last year, it’s a 1v1 battle. Rookie offensive RT Lucas Niang will have his hands full- especially if Travis Kelce isn’t there to assist in any fashion.
The opposite end features Orlando Brown in which the Chiefs traded for from the Baltimore Ravens. This is Brown’s first full year playing left tackle with a new quarterback in his NFL career after staying on the right side in Baltimore and Lamar Jackson. While I have never played NFL football, I can draw upon my own experience playing both tackle positions that RT is a much slower world than LT.
It’ll be interesting to see how the regular-season matchup between these two teams will fare. I still think that the Bills won’t get it done in the regular season, but instead in the postseason. There are only so many teams you can play one team before something has to give- and for the Chiefs, it will be the offensive line.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff is back from working on the frontlines of COVID-19 in hospitals, and Mike Remmers is one of the backup tackles. I don’t expect a drop in play quality from LD-T, but Remmers is infamous for being blown up in Super Bowls 50 and LV, so let that simmer.
It comes down to getting pressure, and the Buffalo Bills will take advantage of it come playoff time.