There’s likely not much for the Buffalo Bills to complain about on offense through four games as the team is second in the league in scoring, but there is one potential point of concern — the sharp drop in production for second-year wide receiver Gabriel Davis.
As a rookie, Davis quickly became one of the favorite targets for quarterback Josh Allen, catching 35 passes for 599 yards and seven touchdowns. He has struggled to put up similar stats this season — making just three catches on seven targets for a total of 37 yards — but the team’s offensive coordinator said there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to his on-field production.
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Davis Making a Difference
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was asked about the drop in production for Davis following Sunday’s 40-0 win over the Houston Texans. Davis had no catches on just one target for the game, but Daboll said that he’s stuck behind some other highly utilized targets and has been helping create some openings for them to catch passes.
“Brian Daboll says he still has full confidence in Gabriel Davis and knows he’ll produce when called upon, but he’s behind Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Emmanuel Sanders and that’s why he’s not as involved as some may have expected,” tweeted beat reporter Jon Scott. “Stats don’t tell everything he’s brought.”
As RotoWire noted, the emergence of tight end Dawson Knox as a major target for Allen has pushed Davis even further down in the pecking order in Buffalo. After two years of spotty production, Knox has turned in something of a breakout season, catching 15 passes for 144 yards and four touchdowns, already ahead of the previous career-high three touchdowns he caught last season. Free-agent addition Emmanuel Sanders has cut into Davis’ production as well, making 16 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
While other pass-catchers are giving more competition for targets, Davis is also hampered by an increased emphasis on the running game for the Bills. In the Oct. 3 win over the Texans, Bills running backs Devin Singletary each had 14 carries and made the most of them — Singletary had 79 yards, and Moss added 61 and a rushing touchdown. Allen added another 41 yards on the ground.
Allen said it was especially important to remain balanced given the poor conditions on Sunday, with much of the game played in a driving rainstorm.
“Very important, weather, you can let it affect you if you think about it too much,” Allen said, via USA Today’s Bills Wire. “We still wanted to throw the ball and do what we needed to do, but when teams get one-dimensional and just start running the ball, especially when the weather and teams force you to throw the ball, you got to be able to throw it. You look at some of the runs that we had with Zack and Motor, bouncing off tackles, putting their nose down, and just going and getting yards and they did a great job.”
Allen, Davis and the rest of the Bills offense will face a major test next week. Buffalo travels to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, giving the Bills the chance to avenge the loss in last year’s AFC Championship game against one of the few teams that was able to ground the Bills’ high-flying offense.