How the Broncos Win: Bottling Up Bills RB Devin Singletary
Devin Singletary has had quite the run these last few weeks as the feature back of the Buffalo Bills offense.
The rookie out of Florida Atlantic has shown off quite a few feature-back traits, including burst, lateral explosiveness, and the ability to break tackles in space. However, he’s coming off of a tough game against the Miami Dolphins, where he returned home and fumbled twice, losing one in the process.
All that said, Singletary is this week’s key offensive weapon that the Denver Broncos need to focus on shutting down.
Denver did a solid job last week playing the run against the Minnesota Vikings, slowing down Dalvin Cook 26 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, so they’ll need to carry that success over into the Week 12 matchup against the Bills because Singletary is emerging into a handful for NFL defenses.
Coming out of FAU, I was really high on Singletary. Through my draft reports on another site, I said Singletary had the chance to be the best back in the 2019 class.
While that might seem a bit far-fetched right now, the rookie is showing out as of late, giving the Bills a real home-run threat at the position, taking some pressure off of second-year quarterback Josh Allen.
Most eyes will be on Allen, his big arm and his ability to scramble, but taking away Singletary would be huge for Denver this week.
In the last three weeks, Buffalo has had a ton of success getting Singletary on the edge against defenses, letting him utilize his speed and acceleration in the open field to chew up yards.
Utilizing motion from left to right here with [former Broncos WR] Isaiah McKenzie, the Bills get the Washington linebackers eyeing the motion, which lets Allen get the quick pitch out to Singletary with a convoy in front. Singletary's speed and burst upfield without hesitation allows him to pick up a big chunk of yardage, setting up a touchdown for the Bills.
Later on in the same game, the Bills busted out the same exact play, this time to the right.
Once again, this play was a huge success for the Bills. Tight end Dawson Knox hooks the defensive backs, the interior pins down defensive linemen, allowing two Bills O-linemen to pull, leading Singletary down the field.
Singletary didn’t test well at the Combine in terms of straight-line speed, but with the football in his hands and in pads, he’s a serious game-breaker.
Coming out of FAU, I really fell in love with Singletary’s vision and decisiveness. He was a one-cut kind of guy that put his foot in the ground and got upfield in a hurry.
Last week against the Dolphins I saw that vision and decisiveness pop up right away.
It’s mostly a mess inside quickly, but Singletary’s eyes never leave the left side of the line. He sees left tackle Dion Dawkins washing the line down inside immediately, allowing him to plant and cut left and get north/south in a hurry.
Now, he does fumble at the end of this run — one of two fumbles on the day as I had aforementioned, but his vision and decisiveness here are what stands out.
The first run of the game last Sunday in Miami was one of the best runs I’ve seen from any running back this season. There’s no hyperbole there.
Look at the lateral explosion in that jump cut to avoid contact in the backfield. Not only is it quick and explosive, but he loses no speed in the process and is able to rip off a big run, breaking a tackle late in the process.
Rarely will you see running backs glide like Singletary does on this jump-cut. The fact that he loses no speed is incredible.
Aside from his running ability over the last few weeks, Singletary has really emerged as a checkdown option for Allen, especially in the screen game, which is something the Bills didn’t really have with Frank Gore when Singletary was out with an injury.
He has great vision in the open field and has a knack for running through tackles, ripping off explosive plays in the process.
This one went for 49 yards and got the Bills out of the shadow of their own end zone.
How Denver Stops Singletary
This week, the Broncos really have to focus on setting the edge against the Bills. Guys like Von Miller and Malik Reed have to do a good job against the Bills’ tackles this week. Setting the edge against Singletary takes away some of the toss sweeps, forcing him to stay between the tackles.
Along with setting the edge, Todd Davis and Alexander Johnson have to flow freely in this one to make plays on Singletary. Buffalo’s interior linemen do a good job of working to the second level in the run game, so keeping Davis and Johnson clean has to be a priority.
Those are two standout run defenders for the position, so keeping them clean to hunt the football will go a long way towards turning the Bills into a one-dimensional football team on Sunday.