NFL – Bills’ Game Review

12 Dec

Well, if the slogan for the Buffalo Bills during their 5-2 start to the season was “UNBILLIEVABLE” then the new slogan for the second half of the year is “IN SHAMBILLS”. That’s where they are at this point in all 3 phases of the game. It’s like beating a dead horse, but once again the offense couldn’t get anything done, the defense allowed long scoring drives and the special teams made a negative play to help contribute to a loss, which this week was a demoralizing 37-10 blowout delivered by the San Diego Chargers. Just like in the Miami game a few weeks ago, the Bills ran into a lowly team that found its’ groove just in time to crush them. After a season full of poor play and turnovers, suddenly Phillip Rivers was nearly perfect, carving up the Buffalo defense all day. One play during the game summed up my biggest beef with the team’s defense all year long, and the TV analyst, Solomon Wilcots, described the replay perfectly afterwards. On the play, the Chargers ran a 2-man route, sending only 2 receivers out on patterns and leaving everybody else in to block. The Bills blitzed on the play, but still had 5 players back in coverage. The Bills’ blitz, of course, got zero pressure on Rivers, but amazingly, in the secondary, the replay showed that Rivers had his choice of either receiver, as both were wide open. So 5 players in coverage and not one of them is actually covering either receiver. The result of the play, predictably, was a big gain for a first down. But the scheme being played was maddening. I believe the problem is over-coaching. The players are caught in a robotic scheme that drains their natural athletic ability and turns them into chess pieces that react late to everything, rather than allowing them to trust their instincts and go make plays. The reason coaches play this way is because they don’t trust the players, who, if left to their own instincts, will wind up falling for play-action fakes and making themselves and the coaches look foolish, resulting in big plays. So the Bills’ defense doesn’t give up a lot of huge plays, but instead wind up losing games by giving up long, time-consuming touchdown drives. I’ve repeated this point often – at some point during games, a defense has to contest something, show SOME aggressiveness.

The Bills, as a whole, have shown a lack of fortitude also. When the defense did come up with a big play – Bryan Scott’s fumble recovery TD that basically was a Christmas gift from Rivers – then hold the Chargers to a 3-and-out and give fans hope that they’re still in the game, the special teams allow a fake punt to work for a first down. Again, predictably, the defense doesn’t stiffen, it gives up another long touchdown drive. Ryan Fitzpatrick immediately follows up with a terrible pick-six interception, and the game is over. It’s really unfortunate that the Bills couldn’t have played the whole season with all of the players they started the year so promisingly with. Having depth on the 53-man roster is becoming a key to any NFL team’s success these days, and the Bills now know how badly they are lacking in that department. The final 3 games, starting this week with a home rematch against the Dolphins, is a three game head start on next year’s exhibition season. Players will be getting their chances to make an impression on the coaches for jobs for next year, and some will be playing their way off the roster.

1 Comment

Posted in Football

  1. Louise

    December 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Such a depressing loss. Defense is so frustrating to watch as they can’t stop anything and can’t get off the field. Offense looked awful again with Fitpatrick unable to hit open receivers or if his passes come close to his receivers, they do not catch the ball. Spliier is a novelty only and Brad Smith seems like wasted $$$ too. Maybe the Bills administration should show replays of the NE and Phiily games on the Jumbotron to the fans instead of actually playing the next 2 games at the Ralph. WOuld be so much more enjoyable… Remember the Glory Days!!