NFL Week 8: A statistical review of Buccaneers-Bills Thursday Night Football

2T3TRED Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Gabe Davis (13) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

The Buffalo Bills bounced back from their shock defeat to the Patriots, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-24 on Thursday night to kick off Week 8. Here is our initial statistical review of the game.

Game Summary

According to our new noise-canceled score metric, the game wasn’t as close as it seemed. The Bills led by 14 points throughout the second half and took multiple drives near or into scoring range, while the Bucs struggled to move the ball before scoring a touchdown on an inefficient 17-play drive with multiple 4th-and-long conversions via penalties.

Going into the game, only the Giants and Steelers were worse at moving the sticks on early downs than the Bucs, which showed during the game. With their great third-down conversion rate from earlier in the season expectedly regressing to their overall offensive prowess, they had a hard time moving the ball in contrast to the Buffalo Bills.

Passing Summary

The Bills featured a well-rounded passing game on Thursday night, as they were efficient on targets, received value from Josh Allen’s scrambles and didn’t take many sacks. Their only issue was an interception on a batted pass.

The Bucs' overall EPA per play on dropbacks was the same, but it’s notable that their biggest plays actually came on penalties, as they moved the sticks on incomplete passes or sacks on third or fourth down three times.

Receiving Summary

With their biggest plays coming on penalties, it’s unsurprising that none of the Bucs receivers had a good night. Their most efficient pass-catcher was their running back Rachaad White.

All things considered, the Buccaneers defense did a good job covering Stefon Diggs, but this time, the Bills had other receivers to step up, namely Gabe Davis and Khalil Shakir. The rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid also had an efficient game.

Rushing Summary

The Bucs still have one of the worst rushing attacks in the league, maybe even the worst. The Bills could afford to show relatively light boxes on early downs all night, shutting down the running game and (explosive) passing game simultaneously.

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