Buffalo Bills Offensive Enigma: Stefon Diggs' declining role despite recent success

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gains yards on the reverse against the Patriots.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gains yards on the reverse against the Patriots. / Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and

In the grand scheme of things, everything seems to have gone right for the Buffalo Bills over the past six weeks since making a switch at offensive coordinator. They have gone 5-1 over that stretch with wins over the Chiefs and Cowboys.

However, there is one glaring question that lingers for this team heading into the final game of the regular season, one that if the Bills win will lock up the AFC East and the number two seed. The Bills have been able to win without arguably one of their key players not being involved in Stefon Diggs.

The former All-Pro wide receiver has been an elite player at the position since joining Buffalo in 2020. He similarly started the year with 620 receiving yards in the first six games and five touchdowns but since that game, Diggs has only 476 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.

This past week against the Patriots, he had only four receptions for 26 yards and was his fourth straight game with 50 or fewer receiving yards. For Diggs, it isn't even just the lack of yards but rather not being on the field as he has now had 65% or fewer snaps in three straight games (he was under 70% once in the prior 13 games).

Buffalo Bills coaches explanation for Stefon Diggs don't add up

Sean McDermott was asked about Stefon Diggs on Monday and confirmed it wasn't a medical issue. He went on to say:

"Josh Allen going through his reads and going through the progressions properly and getting Stefon Diggs involved. He hasn't been involved as much as we would like in the past couple of games. However, we have to continue to develop and improve."

Joe Brady said later on Monday that the lack of snaps is due to a combination of certain plays leading up to the game that Stefon Diggs will be off the field but also there are times that Stefon Diggs needs a breather.

The issue for this offense, and what really wasn't addressed, is how Stefon Diggs is being utilized when he is on the field. The routes he is running are not nearly as deep as they were earlier in the season.

In the first six games of the season, Stefon Diggs yards before catch average was 9.4 yards but over the past 10 that has dropped to 5.0 yards. To the credit of Joe Brady and the offensive coaching staff, they are still getting Diggs targets with an average of 8 per game in the six games with Brady running the offense.

It is down slightly from earlier in his career but the targets he are getting is not equal based on that yards per reception average noted above. This past week, the Bills even called a run play for Diggs lining up in the backfield, which was his first rushing attempt this season and only his third with the team.

The Buffalo Bills have continued to win and there have been games that it makes sense for Diggs to not be heavily involved, like against the Cowboys when the run game was unstoppable. However, heading into a must-win game (and hopefully the playoffs), the Bills offense is going to need to be playing its best and it can't with the production they are currently getting from Diggs.