Joe Brady 'brings a lot of juice' to Bills offense

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The in-season decision by Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott to fire offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey was made to spark the offense amid a season of inconsistencies and close losses.

The Bills have played two games under interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady: a win at home against the New York Jets and an overtime loss on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Win or lose, Brady emphasized he could be the tone-setter for the offense.

"You can't be results-oriented in the sense of when you win, you handle it differently, and when you lose you handle it differently," Brady said. "... We can't change who we are,and our mindset and our approach because of the wins and losses. We have to understand that we just have to fine-tune some things and clean some things up.

"But I think it all starts with myself. It always will. And if I'm ready to go, and those guys look me in the eye and know that I'm prepared, and I'm ready, I believe we'll be able to have some success and feed off of me."

Players have noted that energy.

"I give a shoutout to Coach Brady on bringing a lot of the juice," wide receiver Stefon Diggs said in Week 12. "I think he drinks a lot of coffee and a lot of Monsters or whatever the brand is, because he brings a lot of juice and he lets you know that if y'all don't got it, I'm gonna bring it for you."

In the small sample size under Brady, the offense hasn't dramatically changed. There wasn't time or necessarily a need for an overhaul. It's also tough to do midseason.

But since Brady took over for Dorsey in Week 11, the offense has turned the ball over on about 8% of drives, the lowest this season outside of zero turnovers in Weeks 2 and 4 and far below the team's average of 17.3% of drives entering Week 11. Buffalo has also been running the ball more on first down. The Bills had 21 and 24 rushing attempts on first down against the Jets and Eagles, respectively -- the two highest totals of the season.

But even more importantly, there has been a change in quarterback Josh Allen's style of play that has been missing at times this year.

"Looked like Josh to me," left tackle Dion Dawkins said after the Eagles game. "I mean, he's running around, he's making plays with his arm and his feet. That's the Josh that we all know, and I love to see it."

Allen has completed 59% of his passes in those two games and thrown five touchdowns to two interceptions -- continuing an active eight-game streak with a pick. As a rusher, Allen is coming off a season-high performance against the Eagles with 81 yards on nine carries with his carries limited this year (5.2 per game), down from his career average of 7.2 coming into 2023.

"[Allen's] level of play has risen over the last two weeks," McDermott said after the loss to the Eagles. "That is really the biggest thing. When your quarterback is playing well, you have a chance. The inconsistency leading up to the last three weeks was one of the reasons why I made the decision that I did to move forward here. The last two weeks, Josh Allen's level of play has been good enough for us to win."

To keep their slim playoff hopes alive -- Buffalo has a 21.3% chance of making the postseason, according to ESPN Analytics -- the Bills need to keep getting a high level of play from Allen. The offense has scored 30-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game stretch from Weeks 2-4.

Buffalo (6-6) is currently outside of the playoff picture and has the toughest remaining strength of schedule, per ESPN Analytics.

Up next for the Bills is a key game against the Kansas City Chiefs (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) and McDermott has quite a record coming off byes: He has having never lost one as head coach (6-0). The Bills have also beaten the Chiefs in the last two regular-season meetings (both in Kansas City), but crucially lost to them in back-to-back postseason matchups there (2020 and 2021 postseasons).

One area McDermott will emphasize going into the game is moving the ball better when the Bills get around midfield and closer to the red zone. In addition to missing two field goals against the Eagles, the Bills had another drive end in Philadelphia territory without points. The Bills have gained the most yards of any team on drives that have ended in punts this year (average of 15 yards gained per punting drive), including the third-highest average on those drives since Brady took over.

"I just think we're moving the ball better than we were before and a little bit more consistently than we were before," McDermott said. "...We've been able to move the ball beyond midfield and where we still stub our toe is around the fringe area, that high red zone where we have a chance for points."

What the offense will look like at the Chiefs could change slightly from previous weeks. The bye week presented the first opportunity for Brady to take a breath and potentially adjust the offense with an additional week to prepare.

"I have to do a good job and we have to do a good job of figuring out how have the two games been played from a self-scout standpoint," Brady said of the bye week opportunity. "... Just evaluating that, evaluating, `Hey, what can we do moving forward that can help benefit us?'"