It was that kind of day in Orchard Park. The Buffalo Bills put us through the emotional ringer and then some. Still, the Bills turned the ball over four times and had a punt blocked for a touchdown and only lost by six points. Their answers to the media after the game leave me even more hopeful;
Our “process” will be put to the test this week. Let’s see how the Bills respond. I’m confident this loss won’t linger.
This Defense is Super Bowl Caliber
Tom Brady was 18/39 for 150 yards and an interception on Sunday. Sony Michel had 63 yards on the ground. The Patriot’s offense mustered only nine points. The Bills defense is good, scary good. They will keep the Bills in the playoff hunt throughout the season, and if the offense finds a rhythm this is a defense that can win championships. Finding enough offense to win championships is easier said than done though.
Micah Hyde continued to lead this defense on and off the field. He made a game changing interception on Tom Brady in the end zone that kept the Bills hopes alive and set the tone in the locker room after the game calling out The National Football League.
Tremaine Edmunds finished the game with 11 tackles. He was the catalyst in shutting down the Patriots running attack. He was in the backfield hitting Michel before the line of scrimmage all game.
Levi Wallace stood out as well. The Bills #2 corner was thrown at 12 times and surrendered only four catches for 51 yards. He was so good even Mike Rodak noticed!
Josh Allen Struggles (This is putting it mildly)
How bad was Josh Allen today? His quarterback rating was 24.
13/28, 153 yards, three interceptions. He was missing easy passes early and was unable to get in a rhythm. He was holding onto the ball too long and taking sacks that took points off the board. He was displaying terrible footwork and trying to play “hero ball,” which led to three interceptions. Allen’s turnovers offered up 9 of the Patriot’s 16 points.
The good news? He had a terrible game, but that doesn’t mean he will have a terrible career. Sean McDermott is an adamant believer in learning from your mistakes, and Allen has a lot of mistakes to learn from today. Some may say he should have already learned from them, but I will give the young signal caller the benefit of the doubt. He has proven he is no EJ Manuel or JP Losman, but he needs to prove now he’s not Marcus Mariotta or Jameis Winston.
The question that remains is when will Allen have a chance to show he’s learned from these mistakes? He left the game after a vicious helmet to helmet hit by Jonathan Jones and is now in concussion protocol. He may not play again until after the Bye week vs. the Miami Dolphins.
The Offensive Line Struggles in Pass Protection
The Bills are getting just demolished up front when Josh Allen drops back to pass. Is it all on the offensive line? Of course not. Allen held onto the ball way too long and the receivers failed to separate on many occasions. But at the end of the day the Bills pass protection is still a major concern.
Brian Daboll and the coaching staff’s unwillingness to adjust to this is scary. The Bills did absolutely nothing to try and settle down the offense today. Frank Gore, despite going over one hundred yards, only ran the ball 17 times. He was the only running back with a carry. The quarterbacks threw the ball 44 times this game. I may not be an NFL offensive coordinator, but it seems logical to me that the Bills should have tried to run the ball more, scheme receivers open, and get Allen on the move. The Bills ran far too many 4-5 wide receiver sets. Sometimes you just need to smack a team in the mouth. The Bills had a chance to today and they didn’t.
While on the topic of unwise decisions, the Bills need to stop the shuffle at Right Tackle. It seems pretty obvious the staff wants Cody Ford to earn the position, and he hasn’t through four weeks. He has flashed in the run game but has been downright dreadful in the pass protection. For a team that is passing twice as much as they run, it makes absolutely no sense to start Cody Ford over Ty Nsekhe.
Check out this week’s The Bills Guys Podcast on The Buffalo Fanatics Podcasting Network for more on my thought’s on Daboll’s Playcalling;
Dawson Knox Good, Zay Jones Bad
It is time for the Buffalo Bills to unleash Dawson Knox. I was a proponent of working him into the lineup slowly because of his inexperience at the position and his key drops over the past few weeks. However, he has made one thing crystal clear over the past two weeks: he is a dynamic weapon that deserves to be the Bills’ third option in the passing game and on the field as often as possible.
I won’t knock Zay Jones for his failure to secure the ball in the red zone like many others. It was a difficult catch. I will say this; he has not delivered as a second round pick. He makes the easiest things look difficult. He cannot get open without being schemed open. He is terrible at coming down with contested and difficult catches. It is time for the Bills to cut bait with the former second rounder and give Duke Williams a shot to add some life to the wide receiver depth chart.
Sean McDermott’s Polarizing Day
I was a fan of Sean McDermott’s decisions on 4th down in the red zone. You do not beat the Patriot’s with field goals. At the end of the day, he was 1 for 2 for 7 points on those decisions, with the latter one being highly scrutinized because of how the Bills defense was playing and the time left in the game (11 minutes). However, if they converted, they would have held a 17-16 lead, likely would have won the game, and McDermott would have been hailed a genius. I’m all for the aggressive nature.
McDermott was also scrutinized for his use of time-outs and use of challenges. The Bills had no timeouts in the 4th quarter, and there is no excusing that. I was not a fan of either challenge by McDermott. He was seemingly challenging to prove a point more so than to win the challenges. You never challenge ball spot calls. That is coaching 101. The Patriots have mastered the “rub routes” and know exactly what lines they can blur. He probably should have won both calls, but he had to know he’d win neither. It cost us important timeouts.
Have to give him props for putting a stop to SpyGate 2.0 though;
Special Teams Still a Concern
Was Corey Bojorquez planted by Bill Belichick to get that punt blocked against the Patriots? The Evil Genius strikes again!
Before the season I mentioned on The Bills Guys Podcast that Corey Bojorquez would cost us a game, on Sunday he did.
Andre Roberts provided some pop on special teams. It was exciting to see someone do something other than just catching a punt.
Steven Hauschka missed a 49 yard field goal to end the first half. That doesn’t concern me, as I feel it was the Patriot’s illegally jumping over the long snapper that threw off Hauschka’s timing.
NFL Refs Still Suck
They were bad at calling it on both sides, but the officials cost the Bills some important first half points. Here is why;
Then there was the whole Josh Allen, no ejection thing…
Mike Schopp Is Probably Happy
Unless his fantasy team lost of course!