BBD Writer Eric Samulski
Another week, another miserable football Sunday for Bills fans across the country. Growing up, I always wondered why girls constantly chose to go after assholes who left them feeling worthless and unsatisfied instead of choosing the guy who seemed to care more about their feelings. Now, I realize that being a Bills fan my entire life is a completely comparable experience. They say all the right things, promise us the world, but every time push comes to shove, we find ourselves feeling frustrated, sad, and ashamed at ourselves. Which is why, despite them showing us no reason for hope, we will inevitably come back next Sunday in hopes that they can at least beat the Jets.
Before I get into how the Bills answered the questions I posed before the game, I just need to take a second to vent about the terrible officiating in the game. I haven’t seen anything this bad since the replacement refs screwed up the Seattle and Green Bay game. The first touchdown by Reggie Bush seemed like a joke at the time. His toes seemed to clearly step on the sideline. I found it shocking that the play wasn’t overturned. Then later, the refs also seemed to botch Stevie Johnson’s non-TD. Dickerson and Johnson were ruled to have had possession and fumbled earlier in the game even though they only took one step. Yet somehow Johnson took two steps with the ball, lost it going to the ground, and was ruled to never have had possession. There was a roughing the passer call on the Tannehill TD pass to Bush that seemed illogical and then there was the infamous backwards pass that was a forward pass because Tannehill intended to throw it forward. Shocking.
Gailey is a bafflingly predictable play-caller
For being such an offensive genius, Chan Gailey continues to seem inept as a play-caller. He gets stuck on either the pass or throw and runs similar plays for an entire drive. Teams have begun to sniff out the Bills offensive plays before the ball is snapped and yet Gailey refuses to adjust his play-calling. The screen game has been inefficient for weeks because of it, yet the Bills keep running the same screens. He also constantly calls quick slants. Why else would Reshard Jones know EXACTLY where Fitzpatrick was going to throw that pass on the last series. He knew the play because it’s the only one Gailey calls.
Bills defense continues to get no LB play and struggle against the read option
(Question #1 was: Can the Bills defense rebound?)
The run defense had been looking great. Then people started using the read-option against us. The Bills have been gashed on the ground lately, even letting Ryan Tannehill get in on the action. Chan Gailey even admitted that the linebackers were out of position and unsure of where to be before the play began. How can you not prepare for that in the week leading up to the game? Poor performance and terrible adjustments by the coaching staff.
Another average day at the office for Fitzpatrick
(Question #2 was: Can Fitzpatrick keep the chains moving?)
Another 30+ passing attempts by Fitz, and another mediocre performance. It’s gotten to the point where there is little more to say. He made some solid throws and some terrible ones. He threw behind receivers, missed on long passes, but saved his statistical day with some garbage time numbers. With news that the Bills would save money by releasing him, you might only see Fitz is a Bills uniform one more time. On a positive note, TJ Graham is becoming more involved in the offense and might turn into a solid deep threat WR.
CJ Spiller is just as explosive as ever
(Question #3: Will Chan Gailey just give in and ride CJ Spiller?)
He’s just an incredibly talented player. There’s not much else to say about Spiller. His vision is impeccable, he runs with determination, and he’s incredibly tough to bring down. He’s easily one of the most dynamic players in the entire league and next year’s offense needs to be built around him.
Bills defensive ends were not able to get much pressure on Tannehill
(Question #4 was: Can anybody get to the QB in this game?)
Yes, Dareus had two sacks, but the Dolphins were without Jake Long and playing a back-up right guard at right tackle. Mario Williams got some pressure and Tannehill wasn’t able to do much, but it was not the type of performance that the Bills needed from their defensive line. Since coming on strong, Kyle Moore has been relatively quiet of late and Merriman has given next to nothing in term of pass-rush. Even if Mark Anderson comes back, the Bills needs to bring in another guy for the rotation.
Bills failed to capitalize all game long
(Question #6 was: Can the Bills convert in the red zone?)
It’s been the story all year long, but the Bills simply shot themselves in the foot; multiple false start penalties, three fumbles, and a pick at the end of the game in the Red Zone. This is simply not a disciplined team and is not a team that knows how to win. They actively look like they are trying to lose games. To me, that comes down to the coaching staff.