Reviewing the Buffalo Bills 2009 Season

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Paul Posluszny #51 and Drayton Florence #29 of the Buffalo Bills celebrate Posluszny's interception against the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The 2009 Buffalo Bills almost started off the season with a bang by beating their hated rivals, the New England Patriots. They led by 11 points with just over 2 minute left when Tom Brady’s TD pass was followed up by a Bills fumbled KR and another TD pass to pull out the Pats win. Still, the fact that they played so well against the Pats until that KR fumble gave hope that Dick Jauron would finally get above 7 wins and perhaps make the playoffs. It was not to be, as the Bills won only 6 games this season, leading to Jauron’s firing and changes in the front office. What areas will the new regime target as highest priorities? This post hopes to give some indication of the answer to that question.

This is the ninth of my 2009 NFL Season Reviews, and that is where the Bills pick in the 2010 draft. As I’ve stated before, these posts follow a set formula, which is described in the Season Reviews Informational Post.  This post describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables.

Team Offense Value Rank   Team Defense Value Rank
Points 258 28   Points 326 16
Yards 4382 30   Yards 5449 19
Cmp 256   Cmp 295
Att 441   Att 519
Pass Yards 2515 30   Pass Yards 2948 2
NY/A 5.2 27   NY/A 5.4 2
Pass TD 17 23   Pass TD 14 2
Pass INTs 19 23   Pass INTs 28 2
Rush Yards 1867 16   Rush Yards 2501 30
Rush TD 6 29   Rush TD 19 28
Y/A 4.4 9   Y/A 4.7 30
Sacks 46 29   Sacks 32 T-18

Table 1

We see from Table one that Buffalo’s defense was considerably stronger than their offense. In fact, they had the second ranked pass defense in the NFL. Unfortunately, their rush defense (ranked 30) was so poor that it offset the excellent pass defense. The offense struggled all around, but the rushing offense was a relative strength at 16th in the league while the pass offense ranked 30th. Let’s see if the rest of the tables agree.


Buf Pts Opp D
Opp Pts Opp O
Opp Score Avg Pt Diff1 Score Avg Pt Diff2
New England Patriots 24 17.81 6.19 25 26.69 -1.69
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33 25 8 20 15.25 4.75
New Orleans Saints 7 21.31 -14.31 27 31.88 -4.88
Miami Dolphins 10 24.38 -14.38 38 22.5 15.5
Cleveland Browns 3 23.44 -20.44 6 15.31 -9.31
New York Jets 16 14.75 1.25 13 21.75 -8.75
Carolina Panthers 20 19.25 0.75 9 19.69 -10.69
Houston Texans 10 20.81 -10.81 31 24.25 6.75
Tennessee Titans 17 25.13 -8.13 41 22.13 18.88
Jacksonville Jaguars 15 23.75 -8.75 18 18.13 -0.13
Miami Dolphins 31 24.38 6.63 14 22.5 -8.5
New York Jets 13 14.75 -1.75 19 21.75 -2.75
Kansas City Chiefs 16 26.5 -10.5 10 18.38 -8.38
New England Patriots 10 17.81 -7.81 17 26.69 -9.69
Atlanta Falcons 3 20.31 -17.31 31 22.69 8.31
Indianapolis Colts 30 19.19 10.81 7 26 -19
Sum Difference     -80.56     -29.56

Table 2

The data in Table 2 shows that the offense underperformed with respect to opponents’ average points allowed. However, over the course of the entire season, the defense outperformed the opponents’ averages for points scored. This data agrees with that in Table 1, that the offense is a greater weakness than the defense. In fact the defense is a strength overall. Table 3, below, also agrees with these conclusions.


Buf Yds Opp D
Opp Yds Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Yd Diff1 Gained Avg Yd Diff2
New England Patriots 276 320.19 -44.19 441 397.31 43.69
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 438 365.56 72.44 353 287.5 65.5
New Orleans Saints 243 357.75 -114.75 378 403.81 -25.81
Miami Dolphins 206 349.31 -143.31 336 337.56 -1.56
Cleveland Browns 288 389.31 -101.31 193 260.19 -67.19
New York Jets 296 252.31 43.69 414 321 93
Carolina Panthers 167 315.81 -148.81 425 331.06 93.94
Houston Texans 204 324.88 -120.88 439 383.06 55.94
Tennessee Titans 296 365.63 -69.63 378 351.44 26.56
Jacksonville Jaguars 343 352.31 -9.31 310 336.56 -26.56
Miami Dolphins 336 349.31 -13.31 325 337.56 -12.56
New York Jets 194 252.31 -58.31 331 321 10
Kansas City Chiefs 273 388.19 -115.19 354 303.19 50.81
New England Patriots 241 320.19 -79.19 224 397.31 -173.31
Atlanta Falcons 178 348.88 -170.88 391 340.44 50.56
Indianapolis Colts 403 339.19 63.81 157 363.06 -206.06
Sum Difference     -1009.13     -23.06

Table 3

Cumulatively, the offense gained over 1000 yards below the opponents’ averages for yards allowed. The defense held opposing offense to just below even. I guess we should include a slight caveat since they held the Colts to over 200 yards below their average in the final game, when Indy rested several key players.

The next two tables will break up the yardage values into passing and rushing. This will better show which aspects of the offense and defense struggled more.


Buf P-Yd Opp D
Opp P-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Pa Diff1 Gained Avg Pa Diff2
New England Patriots 186 209.69 -23.69 368 277.25 90.75
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 220 207.38 12.63 296 185.94 110.06
New Orleans Saints 154 235.56 -81.56 156 272.19 -116.19
Miami Dolphins 160 234.63 -74.63 86 198.13 -112.13
Cleveland Browns 143 244.69 -101.69 22 129.75 -107.75
New York Jets 154 153.69 0.31 96 148.75 -52.75
Carolina Panthers 114 191 -77 309 174.94 134.06
Houston Texans 107 217.94 -110.94 257 290.88 -33.88
Tennessee Titans 207 258.69 -51.69 210 189.44 20.56
Jacksonville Jaguars 290 235.88 54.13 208 209.75 -1.75
Miami Dolphins 207 234.63 -27.63 168 198.13 -30.13
New York Jets 71 153.69 -82.69 82 148.75 -66.75
Kansas City Chiefs 73 231.69 -158.69 202 182.63 19.38
New England Patriots 136 209.69 -73.69 115 277.25 -162.25
Atlanta Falcons 138 242.06 -104.06 234 223.19 10.81
Indianapolis Colts 155 212.69 -57.69 132 282.19 -150.19
Sum Difference     -958.56     -448.13

Table 4


Buf R-Yd Opp D
Opp R-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Ru Diff1 Gained Avg Ru Diff2
New England Patriots 90 110.5 -20.5 73 120.06 -47.06
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 218 158.19 59.81 57 101.56 -44.56
New Orleans Saints 89 122.19 -33.19 222 131.63 90.38
Miami Dolphins 46 114.69 -68.69 250 139.44 110.56
Cleveland Browns 145 144.63 0.38 171 130.44 40.56
New York Jets 142 98.63 43.38 318 172.25 145.75
Carolina Panthers 53 124.81 -71.81 116 156.13 -40.13
Houston Texans 97 106.94 -9.94 182 92.19 89.81
Tennessee Titans 89 106.94 -17.94 168 162 6
Jacksonville Jaguars 53 116.44 -63.44 102 126.81 -24.81
Miami Dolphins 129 114.69 14.31 157 139.44 17.56
New York Jets 123 98.63 24.38 249 172.25 76.75
Kansas City Chiefs 200 156.5 43.5 152 120.56 31.44
New England Patriots 105 110.5 -5.5 109 120.06 -11.06
Atlanta Falcons 40 106.81 -66.81 157 117.25 39.75
Indianapolis Colts 248 126.5 121.5 25 80.88 -55.88
Sum Difference     -50.56     425.06

Table 5

In this case, every bit of data supports what we saw just from looking at Buffalo’s offensive and defensive rankings. The greatest issue with the team was passing offense. Even with such a poor passing offense, the rushing offense was good enough to gain nearly equal to the opponents’ average rush yards allowed. The defense was extremely strong agains the pass, but just as weak against the run. This may also be an indication of playing from behind late in games, though.

The major question is whether the passing woes were due to the QB and WRs or the offensive line. The Bills OL saw a lot of turnover last offseason, and Buffalo gave up the 4th most sacks in the league. Sacks could also be related to the QB holding it too long or not having a WR open, but given the OL turnover, that could very well be the reason that the passing game struggled so much.

Anyway, based on these numbers, it would make sense for the Bills to go either QB, OT, DT or DE with the ninth pick. QB or OT would be aimed at improving the passing game, either by upgrading the QB position or improving pass protection. DT or DE would target improving the rushing defense. Most likely Suh and McCoy will be gone, so DT is less likely. There are a handful of top end OT’s, so that may be the value pick for the Bills. If Bradford is available, they may take him, but his injury concerns may scare them off.

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