I wanted to turn my TV off so bad. This was not a fun game to watch at all. I knew it was going to be a tough game, but damn. The Buffalo Bills were coming off of a big win against the Jets. A game in which the entire team showed up. A stark contrast to this week.
The Colts marched into Highmark Stadium very confident, winning five of their last seven. But with a full capacity crowd in a wet and windy Buffalo, who could’ve foreseen things going this wrong?
1.) Offensive line woes
A common theme so far this season is a lacking offensive line. The emergence of Spencer Brown and his subsequent absences have shown that the rookie is playing a huge part in the Buffalo Bills OL. Not at all a good look when the veterans just aren’t showing up the way you want or expect. Unfortunately, there seems to be no such thing as “next man up” when it comes to this position.
Allen was forced out of the pocket on multiple occasions, and most of the time he’s able to scramble for the yardage. But not this time. The Colts did their research and made Allen real uncomfortable back there. He needs more time to make a play. Time his O-Line just isn’t giving him. Now, in Week 11, they’ve been exposed. This presents an immediate problem that needs to be addressed.
2.) The number one defense in the league… struggles against the run?
This defense has been dominant for weeks. Leading the league in takeaways, number one scoring defense, etc, etc. They’ve been good at defending the run. Prior to this game, they were allowing an average of 83 yards per game. But the Bills cannot defend against the physical run. Exhibit A: Derrick Henry. And now Exhibit B: Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor made the Bills D his bitch this week, bulldozing them for a staggering 204 total yards and 5 TDs. The Bills never stood a chance. I love Frazier. Wentz threw for a measly 106 yards, so he’s doing something right. But the run defense is something that needs to be worked on. Especially when they’re due to face Alvin Kamara in just a few days.
3.) Can someone please find the Bills offensive play calling? It seems to be missing
Does everyone remember the play calling of last season? The refusal to punt, just going for it? The trick plays? Flea flickers? Fake punts? Anything? That playbook is missing this season. There is absolutely none of that fire this time around.
And it was never as clear as this game. The Colts were able to dissect the Bills offense with ease. There is nothing about Daboll’s play calling that sets them apart like it used to. And it’s become a trend. Teams are able to see through the Bills; they know exactly what’s coming. It’s why the Colts looked to be so much more prepared than Buffalo, and it was awful. Being limited to just 15 points is unforgiveable. Especially given the high expectations heading into the season. Be better Daboll.
4.) Matt Breida is a stud
It’s fairly doom and gloom after having your ass handed to you, but one positive is the inclusion of Matt Breida in the lineup. This RB was an offseason acquisition for the Bills who, due to Moss and Singletary, has been largely unused. But last week saw him active against the Jets, a game in which he made a huge impact scoring two TDs. So, it made sense that he was active vs the Colts too.
He had the most touches for RBs this game with five carries for 51 yards. He injected a breath of fresh air into the struggling Buffalo Bills offense and, although it didn’t amount to a score for him, he’s definitely made the case to be starting in future games. He’s just what they need.
5.) Reggie Gilliam needs to be used more often
All through the offseason I have been big on Gilliam. The FB position is becoming outdated in today’s NFL. But Gilliam is seemingly on a one-man protest (is this the right word?) to bring the position back.
He’s been active, but largely unused as of late. The Colts game changed that. He made one catch for a gain of seven yards, but the biggest contribution he made? Blocking. As already discussed, the offensive line is struggling, so why not use a huge FB as another blocker? He creates the gaps the RBs need and provides Allen with that extra bit of protection he needs. It’s literally a win-win. I hope to see him at the line of scrimmage more often in the coming games.
6.) Ed Oliver is heating up
Oliver has been quietly getting better with each season. This time around, he has been a stand out on defense, which is difficult to do considering just how loaded and talented the defensive line is. But he’s been having a season, and I love it for him.
He was getting in Wentz’s face all game long and not letting up. In fact, Oliver and the defensive line only allowed 106 passing yards. The pressure they put on Wentz made it difficult for him to get the ball out. So much so that Oliver even sacked him, it was beautiful to see. Just a shame that it didn’t count.
7.) Tyler Bass is the still the NFLs Swaggiest Kicker
Tyler Bass has been the best kicker in the NFL so far in the season. He’s made every single one of his XP attempts and 19 of 20 FG. He led the league as the top points scorer for several weeks. An absolute stud.
Unfortunately, he struggled against the Colts in less than favorable conditions in Buffalo. On two occasions, the Buffalo Bills put their faith in Bass with FGs that were within his range, but none were made. It’s frustrating that he missed, but the true blame lies in the game manager. In both situations, it was preferred that the offense should go for it. Instead, they relied on Bass, who whilst is a damn good kicker, is not his job to put points up. (Six > Three.) Though, this is not an issue, I have no doubt that these could very likely be his only missed FGs of the season.
This was a very embarrassing loss. This honestly hurt more than losing to the Jaguars. At least that was a close game, but this? The Colts dominated and they deserved to win. But I still have faith in this Buffalo Bills team. Sure they have their problems, but they have time to rectify it. They can still win the division and claim a playoff spot. But for now, they have three days to regroup and get ready for the Thanksgiving game.