The Buffalo Bills season is just about halfway over. With the way the NFL now sports a 17-game schedule, we’ll have to wait until halftime of their upcoming Week 9 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals to officially be at that exact point.
With that approximately 20 minute window at the half being a bit of a time crunch for players, coaches, writers, and… all of us–let’s get a head start on recapping the first half of the 2023 NFL season now.
There was a lot to take in.
Here are Bills Wire‘s eight takeaways from the first half of the team’s season below:
Staying healthy is an issue
Let’s get the worst out of the way: The Bills have struggled to stay healthy in 2023–Mostly on defense. Buffalo is struggling to fill the holes left behind by cornerback Tre’Davious White (Achilles), linebacker Matt Milano (leg), and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (pectoral).
The latter two have had players fill in and leave something to be desired. At cornerback, the Bills have gotten solid play from Christian Benford and Dane Jackson, but both have also missed time with short-term injuries and the difficulties have followed.
Stefon Diggs is still an All-Pro
Stefon Diggs has continued to rolled at a top-tier level. Entering Week 7, he was fourth in the NFL with 678 yards and he is showing no signs of slowing down.
Bernard has gotten the job done
Milano’s injury was noted, but how much worse would that be if Terrel Bernard wasn’t standing out? The Bills are not missing Tremaine Edmunds much.
Kaiir Elam's time could be over
Former first-round pick Kaiir Elam is on the verge of being a bust. From being inactive multiple times this season to finding himself benched, now reports indicate the Bills might deal Elam at the 2023 NFL trade deadline. Yikes. Good thing Buffalo hit a lot of other picks made over the past two years.
James Cook looks solid
Few would call James Cook one of the NFL’s best running backs. Heck, he might not even be in the top-10 rushers… but he’s gotten the job done in his first season as the clear No. 1 running back for the Bills.
Josh Allen isn't running
Quarterback Josh Allen is have a good season, overall. He is completing a career-high 71.7% of his passes and is the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 17 touchdown passes and five rushing scores through eight games.
But Allen is not running the ball like we’ve seen in the past. His play involved rushing it more in Buffalo’s most-recent win over the Buccaneers, so we’ll have to wait and see if that continues. That dynamic QB is the harder one to deal with.
The Bills finally got their pass rush right
In 2023, Buffalo’s pass rush is firing on all cylinders. The addition of Leonard Floyd has helped, meanwhile, Greg Rousseau and AJ Epenesa have taken great steps. The Bills are tied for the second-most sacks in the NFL with 28.
Finer details are concerning
In the second half of the year, undoubtedly, the Bills need to focus on the finer details a bit more. Namely, slow starts and closing out games. Far too often, both of those scenarios have not been handled well.
Head coach Sean McDermott needs to spearhead these areas before the postseason arrives.