The Bills’ No. 1 receiver tried to pull the team back but…

The Buffalo Bills are broken, but team has star in Dalton Kincaid (Encouraged/worried).

The Buffalo Bills are broken, but team has star in Dalton Kincaid ( Encouraged/worried) -

The Buffalo Bills are looking more like a pretender than a contender through nine games.

Buffalo fell to 5-4 on the season following their 24-18 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football. They also fell out of the AFC Playoff Picture and to a spot that fans have not had to think about in quite some time.

“In the hunt.”

After entering the season as a Super Bowl favorite, the season has been nothing short of a colossal failure. Injuries on the defensive side of the ball have certainly played a part in the disappointing season, but the brunt of the blame has to fall on an offense that hasn’t found their rhythm after nine weeks.

There is still time to salvage the 2023 season, but time is starting to run out on the Bills. Following their fourth loss of the season, here are reasons to be encouraged and worried about the Bills.


Dalton Kincaid: Buffalo has a star at tight end. Kincaid was viewed as the draft’s top tight end, but early in the season he wasn’t being utilized that way. Ever since Dawson Knox suffered a wrist injury, however, Kincaid has been given the ball and he’s run with it.

Yes, there was a costly fumble last night, but the tight end recognized post-game that he needs to do a better job of protecting the football from punchouts (even when he’s being flipped in the air). Minus the fumble, Kincaid was arguably the Bills’ best player on offense with 10 catches for 81 yards. After getting his chance in the spotlight, Kincaid finds himself at 40 receptions. With eight games remaining, the tight end needs just 29 receptions to set an all-time record for TE receptions in a season.

Kincaid has been as good as advertised and there is no turning back to Dawson Knox as tight end No. 1 when he returns from injury.

Stefon Diggs: The Bills’ No. 1 receiver tried to pull the team back into the game late with a touchdown reception and two-point conversion, but the comeback fell short. Diggs’ play, however, remains elite. He hauled in six of seven targets for 86 yards and one score in the loss.

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Khalil Shakir: Buffalo seems to have something in Khalil Shakir. The second-year receiver caught all four of his targets for 57 yards in the loss. In the past three weeks, Shakir has caught all 14 targets thrown his way. He has earned a bigger role on offense.

Dane Jackson: Jackson came to play on the defensive side of the ball for the Bills from the get-go. He had a team-leading three pass breakups in the loss and had solid coverage on the Bengals’ wide receivers for most of the night. He was beaten late in the game, but Jackson was one of the more consistent players for Buffalo on defense.

Rasul Douglas and Linval Joseph: Both players arrived to One Bills Drive less than one week ago and both played well considering the circumstances. Douglas had solid coverage on the Bengals’ receivers while Joseph was a space eater on the inside of Buffalo’s defensive line. Both should only get better with more time to learn the playbook.


Gabe Davis: One week after one of his best games of the season, Davis was kept off the stat sheet entirely for the Bills. He was given a target in the end zone in which his face mask was tugged, but he was ultimately a non-factor for the Bills. Some of that certainly falls on the playcalling and Josh Allen going elsewhere with the ball, but Davis deserves his fair share of criticism as well. It’s hard to trust Davis as a long-term solution as the Bills’ No. 2 receiver. Buffalo may be better off letting the receiver test free agency following the season.

Ken Dorsey: If you are still trying to figure things out on offense at the midpoint of the season, you may be in over your head at offensive coordinator. And that is exactly where we find Ken Dorsey through nine games in his second season as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator.

The team will move the ball with ease at times and then go on lulls that last one to two quarters. It’s maddening to watch knowing the amount of talent the team has on offense and the fact that they have been relatively healthy on that side of the ball. If things don’t change significantly over the final eight games of the season, Buffalo needs to be in the market for a new offensive coordinator.

Injuries: The Bills’ defense cannot catch a break. Buffalo was already shorthanded on defense and it only got worse against the Bengals with Terrel Bernard, Dane Jackson, Christian Benford and Micah Hyde all suffering injuries in game. Jackson is believed to be okay, but the status of the others is yet to be determined.

Despite being severely shorthanded, this unit did a nice job of keeping the Bengals in check for much of the second half.

Linebacker play: Think Joe Burrow knew that the linebackers were the weak link on the defense? The Bengals quarterback attacked the team’s linebackers, Tyrel Dodson and Dorian Williams, with great success all evening. The linebackers were able to force a turnover on downs at one point, but most plays for Cincinnati were successful and all too easy.


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