Coordinator chat: Dennison backs short passes on third-and-long “to make a first down… have to make a completion” (video)
(Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back LeSean McCoy — Buffalo Bills photo)
ORCHARD PARK – Part of the reason the Buffalo Bills spun their tires in the mud against the New Orleans Saints’ defense on Sunday at New Era Field was because of a lack of third-down success.
Multiple times throughout the game, the Bills (5-4) found themselves at third and long. Not ideal, but the offense appeared to fold during those scenarios. In total, Buffalo went 2-for-11 on third down. Six times the Bills found themselves in third-and-five or longer.
Of those six, two were of the double-digit variety and Tyrod Taylor decided to throw short of the first-down sticks to backup running back Mike Tolbert.
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison defended Taylor’s decision.
“Everybody dropped. They were at the stick, they were at the level. In order to make a first down, you have to make a completion. It’s either shoving it down in there deep and risking the ball for an interception or checking it down,” Dennison said.
The two instances were on third-and-15 at the 14:31 mark of the second quarter and third-and-13 at the 7:39 mark of the third quarter. On both of those plays, Taylor dished a short pass down the middle to Tolbert which gained nine and eight yards, respectively.
Dennison said part of the team’s mantra is to “take care of the ball” and the OC said despite Tolbert’s bulk, he has confidence in the running back in those spots.
“25 (LeSean McCoy) was out and I had confidence in Mike to do a good job,” Dennison added.
For more from Dennison, see the attached video below.