I think I speak for all of Bills Mafia when I say that the past week and a half has been a panic attack that ended with a gut punch. The Titans didn’t just beat the Bills, they took our boys to the ground and dropped elbows and hammerfists in a dominating 42-16 victory. The Bills are undefeated no more, and what does this game mean as we look forward to taking on the reigning champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, next week? In case you missed it, here are the highlights:
Well, here are 10 things I think I think:
1.) Josh can’t do it all.
Josh Allen has played the best ball of his career thus far this season, but based on the way the rest of the team is playing, he has had to. This is a much worse team than he played with last season. They had to be good for the Bills to get 10 wins. Allen was solid last year but not amazing. The fact is, the Bills are 4-0 this season because Josh Allen has thrown the rest of the team on his back and carried them like the giant ox he is. The loss to the Titans exposed exactly how bad the rest of the team is performing from coaching to offensive line play to defense, etc. Yes, I know we’ve had injuries, but that’s no excuse. So has every other team. If we don’t solve some of these issues soon, this season could look something like 2008. It can’t all be on Josh.
2.) McDermott and his staff were just plain outcoached.
You know that third-quarter issue we’re having? That’s coaching. You know how we can’t seem to stop anything on defense? That’s coaching. Do you know how there’s no balance on offense? That’s coaching. I don’t know if McDermott needs to take the play-calling duties away from Leslie Frazier, but something has to happen. It’s like the Bills go into every game with a single plan and no ability to adjust (ergo, the third quarter). Daboll and McDermott have gotten a lot of credit this season, but this is a huge issue. The great coaches make adjustments, and I am just not seeing that right now.
3.) Josh Norman is not a man to man corner.
I know Tre White wasn’t in the lineup (more on that later), but did we learn nothing from watching Josh Norman struggle in Washington? They brought him there to be a shutdown corner, which he never was. He is a solid zone cornerback and had his best years in zone defenses. Watching him try to track down the extremely-talented and underrated A.J. Brown was like watching a ’97 Dodge Ram try to keep up with a Corvette C8! It’s not going to end well.
4.) John Brown is the most important receiver in this offense.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Brown is more important than Diggs. I can hear you all cocking your heads and shouting, “Say what?!” But it’s true. Diggs is the most explosive player on offense, for sure. He’s got the best hands, makes the biggest plays, etc. But John Brown is the guy Allen trusts and looks to when he needs that third down. This leg issue he’s had has been nagging him all season, and we need him to get right. Maybe that’s why he sat this game. Get well, John.
5.) Don’t tell anybody, but … I kinda like Cam Lewis.
“Do you like him like him?”
No! Maybe … So?!
Yes, I know he’s not Tre or Levi, but I liked Cam Lewis’s ferocity last night. I thought he played tough, made some good tackles, and played like a man who wants a roster spot. I like that. Yes, he wasn’t perfect. He had his struggles, but isn’t it fun to watch a guy who looks like he’s trying to prove something? I’m trying to be positive, people! Come on.
6.) Jerry Hughes … don’t tell me about his “win rate”.
This narrative about Jerry Hughes consistently beating the guy across from him … give me a break. Look, I love Jerry. He’s a great guy, and he plays tough, and you know what? He does get into the backfield on a regular basis. That is what makes this so frustrating. Do you know how many sacks he has this season? 0. Do you know how many QB his he has this season? 3. And his numbers weren’t much better last year. At this point in 2020 (Please don’t throw things at me.), Trent Murphy is outplaying Hughes. If he’s getting into the backfield, he needs to get his hands on the QB. Until he starts doing that again, please don’t @ me about bullshit PFF stats like “pass rush win rate”.
7.) What is going on with Quinton Spain?
Spain was inactive last night. Why? What is going on with him? To my knowledge, there is no injury, and according to my eye test (which is stellar, to be sure), I think he’s played like he should be in the starting lineup. Some have suggested that the Bills are looking to trade him. How do you trade a guy you are benching? What is his perceived value? Is there something going on with the pandemic? Is he at higher risk or something where the team has to protect him? Playing against the Titans, I couldn’t blame anyone for that. Speaking of …
8.) Tre White’s Injury …
There has been some speculation (and blowback) about whether White is actually suffering from a back injury. Of course, this is just speculation, and maybe it’s irresponsible, but I think logic proves that it’s reasonable to wonder if White was actually injured for the Titans game. White famously said about the Raiders who threw a fundraiser as a team, “It raised a lot of antennas.” And before the season, we all know that White almost opted out. In defending himself on Twitter, White said,
“Crazy that me choosing my family’s wellbeing over a game comes with so called fans attacking and questioning me and saying I’m selfish,” he wrote. “No you guys are selfish for thinking that football is bigger than life. Oh by the way my girl’s grandfather passed from COVID. U understand now?”
I’m not questioning Tre … and I don’t think he’s faking an injury. But I’ll be honest, if he was, I wouldn’t blame him. Would you?
9.) Andre Roberts is a poor man’s Devin Hester.
Like Hester, Roberts is a great return man. He’s not Hester in that category, but he’s solid. And like Devin Hester, Andre Roberts is not a true wide receiver. He and Allen were about as much on the same page last night as Kennedy and Khrushchev were in October 1962. Why did it seem like Roberts was WR4 last night? McKenzie seemed to just be the gadget guy, but going out for routes, I trust McKenzie much more than I do Roberts. I know Roberts is a superior blocker, but come on. Yes, the pass that was tipped and intercepted was thrown behind him, but that’s about chemistry. And he and Allen don’t have it. Come back, John Brown!
10.) And now we wait …
Well, now that I’ve got all of that out of my system, this is the most important thing: will any of our players contract COVID from the Titans? We know the incubation period has shown itself to be longer than the NFL had originally thought. I still believe it was irresponsible of the NFL to not cancel this game and showed that the owners care about player safety … so long as it doesn’t affect their bottom line. Let’s hope and pray that our Bills stay unaffected by this virus.
- I really like this Gabriel Davis kid.
- The top three tacklers last night were in the secondary (Norman, Poyer, and Johnson). Not good, Bob.
- While Singletary struggled, Yeldon averaged over seven yards a carry last night. Is this something to watch for?
- Beasley had six receptions on six targets. Not bad, kid.
- Tremaine “The Kaiju” Edmunds … he has not looked good this season. Yes, he is playing injured, which sucks, but at times, he looks lost out there. Of the two high-profile LBs we have, I think Milano has shown he deserves to be paid over Edmunds thus far, and that includes consideration for Milano’s injury history.
- Ed Oliver + Harrison Phillips = two tackle assists. That is the stat line. Woof.
Alright, Bills Mafia! Thanks for reading! If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, or if you’d just like to complain that my takes are not spicy wing hot, hit me up on Twitter at @AdamNannini
Stay safe, and Go Bills!