Amidst all of the buzz in recent days surrounding the Buffalo Bills' quarterback situation, one trend emerging from their 37-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night may have been overlooked: Buffalo has struggled when away from Ralph Wilson Stadium, dropping both of their road contests this season.
When asked Monday about facing the Cincinnati Bengals back in the Bills' familiar confines in Orchard Park, where they are 2-1 this season, head coach Doug Marrone was quick to point out the disparity in results on the road compared to being at home.
"We’ll have a great challenge against them, but the great part is we have them at home. That’s been a big difference for us right now," Marrone said. "Our crowd has been outstanding, our players are ready to go, which leads us down the road to I have to get this team playing better on the road."
It's worth exploring, then, where the Bills have excelled at home and faltered on the road, from a statistical perspective:
POINTS PER GAME
At home: 22.7 (21st in NFL)
On road: 22.0 (tied-10th in NFL)
POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME
At home: 22.0 (16th in NFL)
On road: 32.0 (26th in NFL)
TIME OF POSSESSION
At home: 28:20 (27th in NFL)
On road: 26:42 (29th in NFL)
At home: plus-2 (tied-10th in NFL)
On road: plus-1 (tied-9th in NFL)
RED ZONE OFFENSE
At home: 55.6 percent (17th in NFL)
On road: 40.0 percent (tied-25th in NFL)
RED ZONE DEFENSE
At home: 33.3 percent (tied-8th in NFL)
On road: 40.0 percent (tied-4th in NFL)
THIRD DOWN OFFENSE
At home: 33.3 percent (24th in NFL)
On road: 26.5 percent (30th in NFL)
SACKS ALLOWED PER PASS ATTEMPT
At home: 3.4 percent (3rd in NFL)
On road: 14.6 percent (31st in NFL)
SACKS PER OPPONENT PASS ATTEMPT
At home: 9.3 percent (7th in NFL)
On road: 8.8 percent (10th in NFL)
NET PASSING YARDS PER ATTEMPT
At home: 6.64 yards (18th in NFL)
On road: 4.83 yards (32nd in NFL)
NET PASSING YARDS ALLOWED PER ATTEMPT
At home: 5.55 yards (9th in NFL)
On road: 9.30 yards (31st in NFL)
The conclusion? The largest discrepancies come in points allowed, sacks allowed, and net passing yards allowed.
Which makes sense: EJ Manuel was sacked eight times on the road against the Jets, and both the Browns and Jets were able to make big gains through the air. Add that to a special teams breakdown (Travis Benjamin's 79-yard punt return for a touchdown in Cleveland), and it's a recipe for losing on the road.
But subtract those factors, and the Bills have played fairly consistently between home and the road. Some of that play has been consistently bad (third-down offense, for example), but most of it has been consistently good.
That's something to build on for a Bills team that will play back-to-back road games after Sunday.