Mike is back with his weekly thoughts on the Bills and the AFC East. This week he talks about the ups and downs of last weekends beatdown at the hands of the Patriots along with how tough the Dolphins appear to be. At the end we all just laugh at the Jets…over and over again.
-This was a game of peaks and valleys for the Buffalo Bills. After a shaky first drive the Bills defense buckled down and was great for about a quarter and a half. The Offense was efficient enough to build a 21-7 lead. Then the wheels came off and both sides of the ball seem to check out for the rest of the game
-Spiller didn’t look right yesterday and I think Jackson should have received most of the load because he looked healthier and was playing better than Spiller in this game.
-When Jackson is healthy he needs to be the goal line RB. He is better built for those situations then Spiller is
-Gilmore had a nice game for a rookie going up against a future hall of fame QB. The Patriots tried to pick on him all
day and he answered to the point where they moved onto other matchups for a good part of the game
-Gilmore and Williams played very physical game and its what they need to do from here on out
-The game really turned when the Patriots came out of halftime ready to exploit the Bills going small at LB with B.Scott instead of Sheppard because of his coverage ability. The Patriots ran right at him on numerous plays that resulted in huge gains. The Bills did nothing to counter this and they paid for it
-Fitzpatrick inconstancy is a major reason the Bills failed to close this game out. Many will look at the defense and see the 50 points and think they were a big reason the Bills lost. The reality is Fitzpatrick has to shoulder some if not most of this blame. Between his turnovers and short drives there are only so many times a defense is going to be able to bail you out before they are just on the field for to long
-The Bottom line with Fitzpatrick is he is good enough to beat .500 teams and below, however when it comes to elite matchups or games against playoff teams he becomes a liability. My advice to the Bills is they may want to accelerate the learning curve on T.Jackson because this season may get away from them real soon if Fitzpatrick keeps playing the way he does. Jackson was not brought here to challenge Fitzpatrick but his play has made that more of a reality
-S.Chandler had a great game. Great catches through out the game. He has really turned into a weapon.
-Glenn and Urbik going down are huge losses for the Bills, especially with the 49ers coming up. Good news is for the first time in what seems like a decade the Bills actually have decent depth at both of those positions
-D.Jones and TJ Graham both flashed again for the second week in a row, hopefully this is a sign of things to come for both
-I’m Glad we are seeing more and more of B.Smith at WR for the Bills. Like I said when we signed him, he is a far better WR then he has been given credit for and I would much rather have him split out wide then running a wildcat
-Fans are likely going to overreact to this game and why shouldn’t they it was yet another blowout against a team that has been blowing the Bills out for a decade. I’m not to overly concerned however though. I went into the season thinking we were a borderline playoff team, would be 2-2 after this game, sub .500 before our break, and then make a run the second half with a more favorable schedule. I still think all those things. What’s going to be hard for Bills fans is its likely going to get worse before it gets better this season.
AFC East Thoughts
-Patriots finally found a running game and a good portion of the credit goes to T.Brady for checking to run plays to exploit a matchup on the field with the Bills defense.
-If you’re the Patriots you still have to be a worried about your secondary and especially the middle of the field. The Bills had most of their success in this area. For them to get back to the Super Bowl their play in the secondary has to improve drastically
-Gronk started off slow but then really picked it up in the second half. The Bills tried to use B.Scott on him with a Safety over the top and that was enough to keep him in check for the first half but the second half he seemed to run tighter routes and the Bills couldn’t cover him
-The Patriots looks like they have hit on DE C.Jones. He gave the Bills issues all day and is getting better every week.
-Sanchez is likely going to take a lot of heat and he should, he has been pretty bad. Consider this stat. Sanchez has produced 1 TD the last 34 drives and has a completion 43.5% over the last 3 games.
-Now while Sanchez has been bad he can’t shoulder the entire blame. He has arguably the worse set of skill position players in the league. Holmes has become erratic, Keller is having injury problems, and after those two it’s a massive drop off in talent.
-The Jets defense got gashed a bit but again, much like with the Bills and the Patriots, there are only so many times your D can bail your offense out before that defense begins to crack
-Miami is proving to be a tough out for good teams. Their play is a bit inconsistent but that is to be expected with a young team and a new coach.
-B.Hartline has really taken to their offense and has emerged as a real weapon for their offense.
-C.Wake finally exploded this week with a 4.5 sack performance. They need him to be a constant pass rush presence if
Miami hopes to make any run this year.
-Tannehill found himself in a shootout on Sunday and did reasonable well. With over 400 yard passing and getting multiple WR’s involved in the game the Dolphins should be encouraged through the first quarter of the season.