The Buffalo Bills 2023 NFL season has concluded and the Bills momentous six-game winning streak meeting it’s end.
The team won the AFC East for a fourth season and clinched the No. 2 seed as well as two home playoff games. While they defeated the Steelers in the wild card round, they lost Sunday to their playoff nemesis’s the Chiefs, ending their postseason.
With that, here is the BillsWire’s final report card for the Buffalo Bills 2023 season following the team’s 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs:
Quarterback: B +
Despite Josh Allen essentially carrying the offense, while OC Joe Brady’s game plan appeared to be schemed more toward the run game, the passing game was not effective.
That being said, run Allen did.
He was 26/39 and 186 yards in the air with a touchdown and led the team in rushing with 72 yards on 12 carries with 2 scores on the ground.
His ground attack and the offensive execution kept the Bills scoring points through much of the game and resulted in Buffalo dominating time of possession 37:03 to 22:57.
Running backs: C +
Wide receivers: C+
Like the running backs, the Bills receivers did not have a big impact on the game.
There were several big pass plays to receivers Trent Sherfield and Stefon Diggs that, had they been caught, could potentially have made for a very different game outcome.
While much has been made of Stefon Diggs’s seemingly lackluster role in the game, one catch on a 60-yard attempt by Allen would have changed that narrative. The performance on Sunday has been consistent with that of other games since OC Joe Brady took over.
His playcalling for the Buffalo passing game utilizes Diggs, and the coverage and double teams he commands to attack openings and holes in opposing defenses, and takes an efficiency approach to the receiver’s yards looking for him in multiple games on deep balls in contests where his numbers had otherwise appeared relatively tame for a receiver of his abilities.
As a leader, Diggs embraced the role, and the deep pass on Sunday happened to be on the money, while a tough catch, it was one he could have made but was not able to.
Joe Brady’s greatest past success as an OC has been when he’s had multiple top receiving threats to work with, and with the immediate success and impact of receiving tight end Dalton Kincaid, it might finally be time to draft the Bills WR2 and upgrade the talent and depth at that position behind Diggs.
Adding a deep threat with speed and elite hands to take the top off opposing defenses and for Allen to utilize his arm strength to connect with on passes downfield could help put Buffalo over the hump as it would add a cost-controlled cap-friendly weapon while making it so teams can no longer double team Diggs.
Tight ends: B+
Offensive line: B +
The Bills offensive line didn’t allow any sacks on Allen.
They also didn’t allow too many lanes for the Bills running backs and could have opened up the run game more.
Defensive line: C +
The defensive front for Buffalo struggled to open lanes for pressure on Patrick Mahomes in the pocket but also struggled to close openings to stop the Chiefs run game.
The past struggles of the Bills’ defense, and their ability to get meaningful stops late in games, once more cost them a chance to score and win or tie the game in the final minutes.
It may be time to add the pieces to solidify the line and defensive trenches this year like GM Brandon Beane did on offense last year.
The Bills’ pass rush was fairly non-existent, logging only two QB hits and no sacks.
Buffalo was depleted at the position due to injuries.
The pass rush was one of the primary areas last offseason the Bills were thought to need help.
The same may be true this offseason.
Secondary: C -
The Bills secondary let Patrick Mahomes play catch with Travis Kelce to the tune of 75 years and two touchdowns.
Entering the game, The Bills forced 30 turnovers this season, good for the second most in the NFL.
Taron Johnson (concussion), Rasul Douglas (knee) and Christian Benford (knee) were all banged up.
Referee Shawn Hochuli, who may recall S Jordan Poyer’s direct words following what appeared to be slanted officiating that favored the Eagles in their regular season matchup with Buffalo, did nothing to endear himself to Bills fans. There was also an interesting standoff with Buffalo S Micah Hyde when Hochuli made a questionable pass interference call against the Bills.
In the end, the secondary failed to prevent much less foil the Chiefs’ passing attack.
Special teams: C +
The Bills’ special teams were serviceable when called upon, aside from the windy 44-yard failed field goal attempt to tie the game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter by Tyler Bass.
Nonetheless, they did not impact the game as difference-makers and could have done more to help the cause.
Coaching: B -
A questionable call to fake a punt via direct snap to S Damar Hamlin (?) highlights the short list of coaching issues in Sunday’s game.
The Bills notably didn’t make any adjustments at halftime to stop the Chiefs run game.
It cost them later on in the contest.