Buffalo Bills: 3 Stats That Mattered in Week 3 Win over Cleveland Browns
My colleague, NFC East lead writer Brad Gagnon, put it best: "The reality is that [stats] rarely tell the whole story, but I also find that they almost always tell part of the story."
Ultimately, the "whole story" will only be written when the season is over, when we have an idea of how these stats look in the end; but for now, let's just take a look at the stats that had an impact on Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns.
This is the most important number for the week and for the season, because through three weeks, this is the number of sacks the Bills have given up. They have given up the fewest sacks in the NFL to this point.
According to Pro-Football-Reference, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been sacked on just 1.1 percent of his pass plays, and according to ProFootballFocus, he has been pressured on 23 of his 93 drop backs (24.7 percent) this season thus far. That has been essential to him putting up a 95.4 passer rating through three weeks, which ranks 12th in the NFL.
If the Bills ever want to get the downfield passing game going (more on that later), this protection will need to hold up. As it is, though, whatever the formula is seems to be working just fine—at least, working fine against the Chiefs and Browns.
That's the percentage of Fitzpatrick's passes that have traveled deeper than 15 yards in the air, according to Advanced NFL Stats.
If this stat sounds familiar, that's because it is. This has become a weekly topic in the Bills' "Stats that Mattered" articles, as the Bills lack a deep threat in their offense and have had to tailor the offense to their strengths underneath.
Last week, Fitzpatrick had the lowest percentage of passes to travel deeper than 15 yards.
That likely would be a large contributing factor to Fitzpatrick's incredibly low yards per attempt, which sits at 6.8 and ranks 24th in the NFL. As a team, the Bills currently rank 26th in total passing yards.
Despite all that, the Bills rank sixth in scoring. Imagine what this offense could look like if they had a legitimate deep threat.
That is the percentage of drop backs the Bills were able to get pressure on against Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, according to ProFootballFocus.
The Bills have struggled to get consistent pressure through their first three games, but their 10 pressures on Weeden's 47 drop backs actually equated to their worst performance based on pressure through the first three weeks.
They had all kinds of pressure on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, tallying five sacks and pressuring him on nearly one-third of his drop backs.
The Bills didn't need the pressure as badly this week as they might have in other weeks, simply because of the 14-point lead they had built after two offensive series. If they're able to continue to jump out to early leads like that, pressure won't be a point of focus.
Against tougher opponents, though, the Bills may not get off so easily.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.
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