Bills get mixed results in red zone

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
11:50
AM ET
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills struggled mightily in the red zone last season, ranking 29th in scoring efficiency.

Manuel
In Wednesday's practice, the Bills' second padded session of training camp, there was a heavy emphasis on the red zone. The results were mixed for the offense.

Robert Woods made the play of the practice, snagging a touchdown pass with one hand in an 11-on-11 drill. Fellow receiver Sammy Watkins also had a leaping touchdown that drew cheers from the smaller crowd in attendance.

There were problems on third downs, however. Here is our log of third-down results from the first-team offense, led by EJ Manuel:

11-on-11, first series: Sack; defense blitzed a safety.
11-on-11, second series: Incompletion to C.J. Spiller; throw hit the ground in front of receiver.
11-on-11, third series: Spiller run.
11-on-11, fourth series: Manuel scramble and throw away.
7-on-7, first series: Incompletion to Woods; pass deflected off Woods' hands in end zone.

Third downs were also an issue in regular 11-on-11 work, outside of the red zone. Here is our log of those first-team plays:

11-on-11, first series: False start
11-on-11, first series: Completion to Mike Williams, but throw came in behind receiver.
11-on-11, second series: Botched play in backfield; hand-off attempt to Anthony Dixon resulted in fumble.

The Bills had the NFL's 29th-ranked third-down conversion rate last season, gaining first downs on just 34 percent of plays. Manuel's 47.5 percent completion percentage on third downs ranked 38th in the NFL, ahead of only Oakland's Matt McGloin.

Luckily for the Bills, this was only their second day of third-down work and their first day practicing red zone drills. But the results will need to get better.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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