Another week and yet another Buffalo Bills loss. Not exactly a good look for the team that were favorites to win the Super Bowl before the season started. I had predicted the Bills would maybe have two losses on the season: KC and the Bucs. I was very wrong. But, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, I still have massive amounts of hope.
Coming off of a tough loss in a cold and windy Buffalo to the division rival Patriots, I did not have high expectations of this Bills team. I thought they would pull off a miracle win, mostly because winning this game would put the Bills firmly back in the conversation. They didn’t win, as we all know, but they are back in the Super Bowl talks. So why is this game that huge of a decider? Here is what I found.
1.) Buffalo’s Offensive Line continues to struggle
The Bills offensive line did a very convincing turnstile impression throughout the game. They should’ve just brought in Bobby Hart because, at this point, he couldn’t have possibly done any worse than what was out there.
Now, it is true that Allen maybe needs to work through his progressions more. However, the O-line needs to give him time to do so. He was getting pressured too fast; in some cases, literally after the sack. Absolutely no help on the outside, I saw far too much of Devin White impeding in Allen’s space. This is not the protection a $258 million man deserves. Got to get it done.
2.) Please, stop blaming the Bills defense
The Buffalo Bills pass defense is pretty damn good. But they are not good on the ground, as many teams have found since that Titans game. Opponents have found that weakness and are fully exploiting it. Fournette finished with 113 yards from 19 carries. When watching the way RBs dominate this otherwise elite defense, it hurts my soul.
But I don’t think it’s awful. I really don’t. The ground defense is a problem for sure, but I think it needs to be put into context. The Bucs finished with 137 yards from 29 carries (4.7 yards per rush). Meanwhile, the Bills finished with 173 yards from 19 carries (9.1 yards per rush), most of these from a QB. A QB who everyone knows can use his legs.
Now, why exactly does no one freak out about the Bucs run defense? Because the offense steals the show. No one cares that they gave up an average of 9.1 yards to a QB because Brady and his Bunch put up points. Consistently. Every damn game. We can’t blame the defense for everything.
3.) Blame the Bills offense instead
Considering the comeback the offense, and specifically Allen, made in the second half, it’s almost easy to forget the utter shambles that first half was. There was one good drive – just one – which took the Bills all the way to the red zone and, once again, only resulted in three points.
I do love how Daboll and McDermott seem to have gone back to the old days and opened up the playbook a little more. But, to only have one drive that didn’t end in a punt for the entire first half is ridiculous. It almost feels like they felt that the one trip the RZ was a fluke so they shouldn’t attempt it again which is utter bullshit. Can’t win games with absolutely no aggressiveness. That second half offense is the only offense I want to see from here on out. Anything else and I’m selling my TV.
4.) Something a little less gloomy: Josh Freaking Allen
Joshua Patrick Allen is the MVP. I know those talks are firmly out the window and it’s leaning very much in the GOAT’s favor, but holy hell, this guy is a beast!
The first half definitely left much to be desired from the Bills offense. Just three points?!?! Pathetic. Enter Josh Allen. He took the team on his back and carried them through that second half. He refused to be brought down, even with a toe injury. Giving up is not in this guy’s blood.
He finished his game with 308 passing yards, 109 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns. He did it all. What pisses me off is that he shouldn’t have to.
5.) (*Davy Jones Voice*) Release. The. Davis!
An unfortunate Sanders injury brought Gabriel Davis into the game, and damn does this second-year WR know how to come in clutch. His speed and awareness of the field is something we already knew. (He did, after all, win Nate Burleson’s Toe Draw Swag award.) But I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play tough. And I loved it.
His fourth down conversion in the final seconds of the game gave me chills. He refused to go down and fought for every yard. His 6’2”, 210 lb. frame is not exactly built for him to go toe-to-toe with those scary Bucs LBs, but Davis did not care. With no regard for his own life, he plowed through anyone who dared get in his way. That’s exactly the kind of WR Allen needs to give him a bit of help.
6.) Dane Jackson looks good
He’s no Tre White, because that game-winning play in OT would not have ended like that if White is in the fold. I firmly believe that. But Jackson is not a bad substitute. His first season saw him elevated and reverted from the Bills’ active roster to PS almost continuously. Meanwhile, early this year, he was sparsely used in game situations. An up-and-coming player deserves just a little more consistency to allow growth. And he’s making full use of that right now.
I can see why mistakes such as the OT one were made, but I have full confidence in the young CB. He stuck to his guy and made a couple of nice tackles, even if a BS call was made on him. I like him, and these next few weeks are only going to see him get better.
I envisioned that the Buffalo Bills would win in a close, hard-fought game. I was wrong, they ended up losing, but they did fight damn hard. Which is why my hope is still well and truly alive. The second-half team has proved that they can do it. The team still has some serious problems, and they have sucked tremendously as of late… but they can and will do it.