Sunday, October 16, 2011
Turnovers were once again the story this week for the Buffalo Bills, just not in the way they've become accustomed to. The Bills lost a tough one on the 27-24 to the New York Giants, largely on the strength of two Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions.
The shame of the whole situation is that Fitzpatrick otherwise acquitted himself fairly well, going 21/30 for 244 and 2 TDs (plus those picks). Both throws were good decisions, but badly underthrown deep balls to Stevie Johnson, including one with only 4:10 left in a tied ballgame.
- Once again, Fred Jackson was the workhorse, piling up 168 total yards and a touchdown. He had the longest touchdown run of his career with a brilliant 80 yarder that tied the scoring up at 7. No doubt in my mind that he's the NFL's MVP up to this point in the year. No player is more important to the success of his team than Jackson.
- As hard as this loss was to take, I don't feel as though I watched bad football being played. This was. more than any other Bills game I've watched this year, a game of inches. Both teams had great individual efforts and big mental errors. Unfortunately this one really did come down to those two picks. If Fitzy managed to throw those passes just five yards further downfield, we're talking about the Bills being 5-1 right now. I'm sure he knows it to. I was watching with some friends who were Giants fans, and their hearts were going out to him. Hopefully he's puts those behind him during the bye and plays a great game against the Redskins.
- I'm beginning to wonder if Marcell Dareus is a bit too heavy right now. He's had some dominating flashes, but I saw several plays this week where turned the motor off. I'm not sure what the issue is, but that is not a good sign.
- I was hoping for to see more of Spiller in the passing game, and my hopes were somewhat answered. It wasn't a tremendous performance, but Spiller caught a career high five passes for a season high 39 yards. Doesn't sound like much, but considering that Spiller had six catches for 16 yards in the previous five weeks, its improvement. Here's hoping that its a taste of things to come.
- The pass rush was, once again, pretty awful. Shawne Merriman and Kyle Williams haven't really lit up the stat sheet this year, but their loss was definitely felt in the passing game. Arthur Moats once again flashed some skills, but started getting neutralized once the Giants committed to using an offensive lineman on him. Dareus had a few strong inside rushes, but had plenty of problems keeping it up (see above). I've got to think upgrading the pass rush has to be priority number one going into next year.
- I was dead wrong about the Giants pass rush not being a factor. The Giants sacked Fitzpatrick three times, and harried him pretty consistently. Erik Pears in particular struggled with the speed rush on the edge. Part of it has to be chalked up to the Giants ability to read the snap count, and/or the Bills inability to change it up. That crucial encroachment penalty that Fitzpatrick drew towards the end of the game was a product of Fitz finally exploiting the Giants twitchiness. Its something that the Bills will need to work on going into the bye.
- Thanks to my friends Dreyer and Andrea for the hosting and for the wings. Pleasure to watch the game with you guys!
Next week is the bye, and it probably couldn't have come at a better time. The Bills need to rest up and do some re-assessment. 4-2 is better than a lot of folks assumed we be right now, but the truth is that we could be better.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)