Sunday, October 2, 2011
This week, sports pundits across the country openly wondered how the young Bills would handle the heady rush of victory, and they got their answer as the Bills fell to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20. To be fair to both teams, it did not appear to be a case of the Bills overlooking the Bengals. The fact of the matter is that both teams had bright spots, but in the end the Bengals simply outplayed the Bills in a game that the Bills could ill afford to lose.
- The pass rush was slightly better this week, but still light years away from where they need to be. They were still abysmal in the fourth quarter. Both Merriman and Dareus ended up with their first sacks of the year.
- Speaking of Dareus, he was a huge bright spot in the first half. Aside from the sack, he knocked down a pass and generally made a nuisance of himself in Cincinnati's backfield. We saw little repetition of that in the second half, although it seems clear to this observer that most teams are running far more towards Dwan Edwards' side.
- Maybe I'm unfairly used to Kyle Williams absolutely dominating, but I'm concerned at how little I've seen of that domination this year. He had one excellent stop in the backfield this week, but otherwise was only notable for encroachment penalties.
- The offense was in no way crisp and efficient, but unfortunately, I really think it was due to the Bengals defense rather than any lack of execution on Buffalo's part. Fitzpatrick missed on a couple throws (he usually does), but he didn't force anything stupid or take unnecessary chances.
- The Bills made some effort to get Brad Smith work early in the game, but almost immediately he was rendered an afterthought. Both Smith and CJ Spiller have hardly gotten touches the first quarter of the season. Admittedly Freddie Jackson has been playing out of this mind and the young receiving corps has been pretty good, but these two weapons continue to be underutilized.
- The Bills have been excellent in the red zone this year, but just couldn't get it done today. Turning just one of those field goals into seven points and the game is ours.
- If you're going to play soft zones, you have to tackle. Buffalo did an extremely poor job of that on the last drive. You don't need to make a big play guys, just bring Brian Leonard down.
- I'm sure plenty of folks are going to be upset by the third down non-catch call against Stevie Johnson, but whether or not you agree with the side judge's call, the referee made the right decision. If no indisputable visual evidence in available, you go with the call of your judge. In a side note, I liked that there was no hesitation on Gailey's part about going for it. Successful or no, the players know he trusts in them.
- At least our frequently heartbroken brethen in Detroit have something to celebrate. Great win guys.
Next week is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are just too talented to be 1-3, but there they are. I expect them to come in hopping mad after a terrible loss to the Niners. I hope the Bills come in just as angry.
(Image credit- Tony Tribble- AP)