Anthony Lynn impresses in the first game as offensive coordinator. After taking over for former offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the newly appointed offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills proved that his offense could hang with the best of them. Lynn, a former running back for the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers spent 6 years in the league as a player. Having notably been a part of won two super bowl victories for Denver in 1997-98. Lynn, despite not being a household name among the fans is well known in the NFL community. Having been interviewed for multiple head coaching positions in the past leading a team let alone an offense is not entirely as new to Lynn as it may appear.
Under Lynn’s tutelage, the Bills put up over 200 yards on the ground as a team in a 33-18 victory over the super bowl contending Arizona Cardinals. A Bills offense that was noticeably more aggressive not only with the play call but also on the field as the offense ran wild over the stout Cardinals defense. “He was super consistent. You know, we had our bread and butter runs. You know, our stuff that we worked on all week. And you know, we had our meeting last night and A-Lynn put up on the screen what we were going to run, and you know, he stuck to that and we were mentally prepared and you know, we bodied them up,” said Bills guard Richie Incognito.
An offense that lacked that extra unpredictability to it through two games was energized due to the new play calling abilities of Lynn. Whether it was running wildcat packages or upping the tempo the offense kept Bruce Arians defense on their toes throughout the game playing fast and physical. Most notably star running back LeSean McCoy finally had that breakout game he was looking for. Coming into the game McCoy had accounted for 117 yards and one touchdown, against Arizona he racked up 110 yards to go with two scores. Undoubtedly crediting his performance to his new coordinator, specifically the tempo he installed.
“Yeah, oh no it’s tempo. I knew we would run the ball well because he’s big on that. The urgency to get in and out of the huddle. Get up on the ball. There were some times where we would snap the ball when they were just kind of lining up and that helps out. Defenses can’t structure their blitzes how they want. They can’t see what formations we’re in so they can line up everything and get it correct. You know, cause defense, all that is, is they just react to the offense. Okay, the ball goes left, they react to the left. So when they line up they try to find out who’s who, they have their keys, when you snap the ball fast it’s kinda hard to get everything together. I don’t know if you noticed, but we ran some quick two-minute type of plays early in the game, so there is a lot of different things to prepare for,” explained McCoy.
High praise for Lynn in his first game with the team, quickly earning the respect of his team and the rest of the league. Prior to the game, it was stressed by head coach Rex Ryan of his desire to force the ball down the field more, to throw the ball with more of a consistency. Although the box score may not have shown it the Bills passing attack kept the Cardinals off balance with quick throws as Lynn utilized his dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Finishing with 119 yards passing along with 79 rushing yards proved to be the winning formula the Bills had been looking for. Taylor commenting, “Bringing in different personnel’s, lining up in different formations just keeps them unbalanced. But at the same time, we’re calling our regular offense …just moving it out in different formations. I think Coach (Anthony) Lynn did a good job of using that and mixing it in early just to get them off balance.
As well as the offense performed against the Cardinals it remains to be seen where this offense led by Lynn can go. A one game sample size is extremely small to gauge an NFL offense especially one that has been as inconsistent as the Bills this season. Continued success by the Bills can mean big things moving forward however not only for the team this season but for Lynn moving forward. More performances by the offense like it showed against Arizona can mean the difference between Lynn remaining and offensive coordinator and finally landing that head-coaching gig he has been looking for.
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