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Week 9 (2015) Game Scripts: Buffalo Runs To Victory

Reminder: The 2015 Game Scripts page is now updated for week 9 results.

Last week, I wrote about the Rams heavy commitment to the running game. Well, in week 9, the Buffalo Bills had just 15 pass plays — 12 pass attempts and 3 sacks — while passing on just 29.4% of all plays. Both of those numbers set new team lows for the 2015 season.

Below are the Game Scripts data for each team in week 9.

TeamH/ROppBoxscorePFPAMarginGame ScriptPassRunP/R RatioOp_POp_ROpp_P/R Ratio
NWEWASBoxscore27101713.7393751.3%411573.2%
CARGNBBoxscore372989.4303645.5%531973.6%
BUFMIABoxscore3317168.8153629.4%392263.9%
CINCLEBoxscore3110217.7293743.9%361767.9%
INDDENBoxscore272435.7374048.1%371472.5%
NYG@TAMBoxscore3218145.5403354.8%362361%
NYJJAXBoxscore282355.4362856.3%461970.8%
SFOATLBoxscore171612.1263940%471477%
MINSTLBoxscore211831.8283544.4%343648.6%
PITOAKBoxscore383531.6513063%442563.8%
PHI@DALBoxscore33276-0.2373551.4%422959.2%
TEN@NORBoxscore34286-3.4392858.2%432662.3%
CHI@SDGBoxscore22193-5.6412958.6%441969.8%

Buffalo obviously stands out as really run-happy: the Game Script was strongly in their favor, of course, but a 29% pass ratio speaks for itself. San Francisco was another team that had a run-heavy identity last weekend. In Blaine Gabbert’s first start — and hey, that’s probably not a coincidence that this game graded out so run-happy — the 49ers passed on just 40% of plays despite the game being close throughout. Gabbert himself had 8 rushes (albeit with three of those being kneels), while Shaun Draughn and Kendall Gaskins — yes, those were the 49ers top two running backs1 — had 23 carries for 78 yards.

The most run-happy game of the week was in Minnesota, where both the Vikings and Rams graded out as very run-heavy. The Vikings finished with 145 rushing yards and 148 passing yards, while the Rams had 160 rushing yards and 160 passing yards. Minnesota-St. Louis was just the third game this year — after Arizona-San Francisco in week 3, and Seattle-Dallas in week 8 — where both teams had more rushing attempts than passing attempts.

On the other side, two teams stood out as particularly pass-happy. Facing the 49ers, Atlanta saw San Francisco’s commitment to the ground game and went in the other direction. Devonta Freeman finished with 12 carries for 12 yards, while Matt Ryan had 47 dropbacks. The Patriots have won two games with 15 or fewer carries, but no other team has won or loss by 1 point and finished with so few rushes.

San Diego was the other pass-happy team, throwing on 70% of plays. The Chargers running game was reasonably effective with 19 carries for 77 yards, but Philip Rivers finished the day with 44 dropbacks. That might not sound weird until you remember that San Diego led 13-0 in the first half, and never trailed until the final three minutes. Even ignoring that 8-play, 8-pass attempt drive, the Chargers still passed on 65% of plays before that drive. That’s very pass-heavy given the Game Script, but that seems to be San Diego’s identity these days. The Chargers two most run-heavy games of the year came in weeks 1 and 2; since then, San Diego leads the NFL in pass attempts and ranks 2nd in pass ratio (66.4%).

  1. Reggie Bush is on IR with a torn MCL, while Carlos Hyde is still recovering from a foot injury. []