BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
FINAL THOUGHTS: Yes, the crowd in Toronto was pathetic. Yes, the referees made several questionable calls that cost the Bills yards and points. Yes, the Bills should have won this game.
However, when everything was on the line, we saw the same ol’ Bills. The Bills who haven’t made the playoffs since 1999 had a chance to win in regulation.
Stevie Johnson took an EJ Manuel pass to the Falcons 30 before having the ball stripped out. If Johnson simply falls to the turf, Buffalo can run the clock down and set up a chip shot field goal for Dan Carpenter. Instead, Johnson carried the ball loosely and had it stripped. The play cost the Bills an attempt to win in regulation, but the defense did their job and sent it to overtime.
After winning the coin toss in overtime, EJ Manuel found Scott Chandler for 22 yards on 2nd and 7. The Bills would have had the ball on their own 45 yard line but Chandler, just like Johnson, had the ball stripped out. While Chandler attempted to protect the ball more than Johnson, he still found a way to cough it up.
It only took Atlanta four plays to drive the ball to Buffalo’s 17 yard line. In a dome, a 36 yard field goal is pretty much an extra point. Buffalo lost to the woeful Atlanta Falcons and once again we’re stuck talking about next year and the NFL draft.
Let’s face the facts. the Toronto series is a failure for the actual Buffalo Bills team. Yes, the deal brings in a ton of money, but today, in a game that mattered for the Bills, there were more Falcons fans in attendance. It’s inexcusable that Buffalo is literally finding itself playing nine away games a year. The Bills are now 1-5 in the series.
It’s so frustrating and heartbreaking to be a Bills fan. Every team that needed to lose today did. The Jets? Smashed by the Dolphins. The Browns? Upset by the Jaguars. The Titans? No Fitzmagic to bring them back against Indianapolis. The Bengals also defeated the Chargers.
However, it was the same ol’ Bills today. Even though other games worked in their favor, the team couldn’t defeat an inferior moment when it mattered.
There’s plenty of young talent on this team and the coaching staff has me optimistic about their future but we can chalk up the 2013 season to the same ol’ Bills.
Matt Bryant kicks in a 36 yard field goal and the Falcons defeat the Bills at “home.”
Jackson gains one yard on second down and Matt Bryant comes onto the field to win it.
Jackson adds four yards on first down and the Falcons can just get the ball into position for a short Matt Bryant field goal.
Harry Douglas catches the screen and takes it to the 22 yard line.
Steven Jackson picks up three yards on first down.
You’ve got to be kidding me. Scott Chandler makes a big catch but fumbles the ball and Atlanta recovers the ball and Falcons return it Buffalo’s 45 yard line.
Fred Jackson picks up close to three yards on first down.
Goodwin wants to run the kick out of the end zone, but Frank Summers stopped him in his tracks. Buffalo starts at their own 20.
Buffalo wins the coin toss and will receive the ball to start overtime.
Steven Jackson takes a screen and gains nothing on the play. We’re heading to overtime in Toronto.
Atlanta calls a timeout with 20 seconds remaining. The team will attempt to get the call into field goal range for Matt Bryant.
Stevie Johnson catches the third down pass and takes it to the Falcons’ 30 yard line before fumbling the ball away.
Jackson picks up another yard on 2nd down. It’ll be 3rd and 1 for the Bills.
Fred Jackson gains eight yards on first down and Buffalo calls a timeout.
Scott Chandler catches a pass and takes it 23 yards to their own 47 yard line.
Manuel almost throws an interception to Robert Alford on a pass intended for T.J. Graham.
Buffalo starts the drive on their 24 yard line and Jackson takes a short pass back to the line of scrimmage.
Steven Jackson ties the game at 31 with a one yard run.
Harry Douglas actually pushed Nickell Robey on the play!
Matt Ryan throws to the endzone and a flag is thrown after the ball falls incomplete. A pass interference call is called upon Nickell Robey.
Buffalo accepts a 15 yard unnecessary roughness call on Harry Douglas. It’s now 3rd and goal from the 16.
Jackson gets stopped at the one yard line but there are flags on the play.
Matt Ryan’s second down pass hits the crossbar.
Matt Ryan is forced to throw the ball away on first and goal.
Darius Johnson catches the ball and takes it to Buffalo’s five yard line.
An EXTREMELY late flag comes in on Aaron Williams for illegal contact.
2nd and 5 for Atlanta is a tipped ball off of Harry Douglas’ hands. Unfortunately, there was no Bills defender to intercept the pass.
Atlanta has the ball on Buffalo’s 28 yard line.
Roddy White finds himself wide open for a 19 yard gain.
A first down pass to Harry Douglas falls incomplete.
Tony Gonzalez catches a 13 yard pass to move the chains for Atlanta. It was too easy for the Falcons.
Gonzalez gains eight yards on second down. It’s 3rd and 9 for Atlanta.
Corbin Bryant sacks Matt Ryan on first down as he enters untouched.
Moorman punts the ball 51 yards and Atlanta will take over on their own 35 yard line.
Jackson gains 14 yards on a short pass on 3rd down. Buffalo will be forced to punt.
Buffalo gets called for delay of game on third down.
Manuel throws the ball away on second down and was dangerously close to intentional grounding.
Spiller loses three yards on first down after trying to bounce out a run.
Bills get the ball on their own 10 yard line.
Antone Smith drops a touchdown with Kiko Alonso covering him. The pass was perfectly thrown.
Aaron Williams breaks up a pass intended for Tony Gonzalez on second down. It’s 3rd and 10 for the Falcons.
Nickell Robey breaks up a first down pass intended for Harry Douglas.
Snelling picks up the first down on a shovel pass.
Roddy White gains eight on second down. Third and one for the Falcons.
Jackson gets stopped for no gain on first down.
Harry Douglas catches a 14 yard pass as he was wide open on the play.
Correction: Jackson was given credit for a 1 yard gain.
Steven Jackson with no gain on first down.
A 34 yard Brian Moorman punt will give the Falcons the ball on their own 31 yard line.
A sideline pass to Marquise Goodwin lands out of bounds and the Bills will be forced to punt after their own three and out.
Manuel almost throws a pick six to William Moore on second down. The pass was a bad idea as Manuel tried throwing it to Chandler in tight coverage.
Spiller gains three yards on the ground on first down.
Buffalo will start out on their 32 yard line after forcing the Falcons to go 3 and out.
Buffalo sends a blitz and Ryan has to pass it quickly to Roddy White. The receiver was stopped by Aaron Williams after gaining six yards.
Ryan looks to throw downfield to Harry Douglas, but the ball flies out of bounds.
Matt Ryan throws incomplete to Roddy White on first down.
Buffalo leads 31-24 with 11:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Spiller breaks off a 36 yard touchdown run to give the Bills the lead!
A huge catch by Robert Woods as he’s hit immediately upon catching the ball. An extra fifteen yards will be tacked on for unnecessary roughness.
Spiller gains two yards on a first down rush.
Leodis McKelvin fair catches the ball at Buffalo’s 13 yard line. Mario Williams’ sack was huge as it drove Atlanta out of field goal range.
Mario Williams sacks Matt Ryan on third down for a loss of seven.
Jackson picks up five yards on second down. A big 3rd and 5 for Atlanta.
Marcell Dareus knocks down Matt Ryan’s first down pass attempt.
Jackson picks up the first down after gaining three yards on the play.
Mario Williams bats down a 2nd and 1 pass. That was certainly a ball that Williams could have intercepted.
Douglas gains 9 yards on a first down pass.
Buffalo is forced to punt again, but Moorman hits a nice 50 yard punt. The Falcons take over at midfield.
Manuel throws deep again and once again there is no flag on the play. Goodwin appeared to be held.
Spiller gains two yards on second down. Third and eight for the Bills.
Manuel throws deep on first down, but the ball goes incomplete on a pass intended for Marquise Goodwin.
Atlanta’s punt gets downed at the 2 yard line.
Ryan throws the ball short on third and three to Harry Douglas. The Falcons punt team is taking the field.
Jackson adds 2 yards on second down to lead to a 3rd and 3.
Roddy White picks up 5 yards on first down and their balanced attack is keeping the Bills off-balance.
Rodgers gains 2 yards on 2nd and 1. It’s another first down for the Falcons.
Rodgers gains 9 yards on a first down rush.
Matt Ryan scrambles for an easy first down. Ryan gains 17 yards on the play.
Jackson gets stopped on second down after gaining one yard. It’s 3rd and 9 for Atlanta.
Leodis McKelvin breaks up a first down pass intended for Roddy White.
Atlanta will start their drive at their own 19 yard line.
The Bills and Falcons are tied up at 24.
It took one play after Buffalo recovered an Atlanta fumble to tie the game. Fred Jackson takes a short pass 21 yards for a touchdown.
Matt Ryan fumbles the ball on second down and Kiko Alonso recovers the fumble. The whistle blew early as Alonso did not appear to be touched.
Steven Jackson gains five yards on a first down rush.
Not a fan of the deep pass on 3rd and 2. Buffalo needs to air it out, but the team needs to choose when to do so wisely.
Buffalo throws long on 3rd and 2 but it falls incomplete. The Bills will be forced to punt.
Scott Chandler gains eight yards on 2nd and 10.
Manuel tries to drop off a pass to Spiller, but the running back cannot catch the ball.
Manuel starts Buffalo’s drive with a pass to Stevie Johnson for 15 yards.
In an injury update, Stephon Gilmore was getting stretched out on the sidelines.
Tony Gonzalez catches the 11 yard touchdown pass on 3rd and goal. Complete mismatch with Gonzalez on Ron Brooks.
False start on Atlanta pushes the Falcons back five more yards.
Matt Ryan falls down on 2nd and goal and Marcell Dareus gets credit for the sack.
Stephon Gilmore is down on the play and is in significant pain.
Jackson gets stopped on first and goal.
Harry Douglas is ruled down at the one-half yard line. First and goal Atlanta.
Harry Douglas catches a 14 yard pass and takes it in for a touchdown. Douglas bounced off of a Byrd tackle.
Six yard pass to Harry Douglas on first down. Jackson gains one on second down.
Roddy White looks like he pushed off of McKelvin, but the refs don’t throw a flag. First down for Atlanta.
On 2nd and 6, Jackson gets bottled up for no gain. This is a big play for Buffalo’s defense.
Stephon Gilmore gets called for illegal hands to the face on the Branch pressure so Atlanta gets an automatic first down.
Alan Branch pressures Matt Ryan and forces the QB to throw the ball away.
Ryan finds Smith for six yards on an out pattern. 2nd and 14 for Atlanta.
Jackson gains five yards on first down, but Atlanta gets called for holding.
Moorman kicks a 38 yard punt and McClain returns it to Atlanta’s 45 yard line. Great field position for Atlanta.
Manuel throws incomplete to Scott Chandler and the Bills goes three and out. Awful way for Buffalo to start the second half.
Manuel drops it off to Spiller for no gain.
Spiller gains three yards on first down.
Buffalo will start with the ball on their own 20 yard line.
Buffalo will get the ball to start the third quarter.
Editor’s Halftime Thoughts:
Though the Buffalo Bills started out dominantly against the Atlanta Falcons for much of the first quarter, they need to play much better than they did the rest of the first half to secure a victory as the two teams will go into the second half tied at 17-17.
Both the offense and defense started out very well for Buffalo in a game they led 14-0, with a 128 to minus-5 total yard advantage, after two possessions for each team. The Bills found immediate success running the ball. A C.J. Spiller 77-yard run, the longest non-scoring run in team history, set up Buffalo’s first goal-to-go that was capped with a 1-yard run by quarterback EJ Manuel. In total, Spiller ran for 105 yards on nine carries in the first half, while fellow running back Fred Jackson scored on a 4-yard touchdown on the second series.
The rushing offense, however, began to lose its way in the second quarter. The offensive line, which asserted its will impressively on Buffalo’s first two drives, gave up too much penetration late in the first half. Meanwhile, Spiller appeared to aggravate his ankle injury after slipping while stopping before a cutback on a second-quarter; though he returned to the game, he was tackled for loss on his only two carries since leaving with injury.
The bigger concern for Buffalo thus far in this game, however, may be the defense. The run defense has had two major cases of being out of position on blown assignments, and on both cases, it has allowed the Falcons to score rushing touchdowns untouched (Steven Jackson for 27 yards, Antone Smith for 38). The Bills’ pass defense has also softened over the course, making things look too easy for the combination of Matt Ryan and Roddy White, who have connected five times for 72 yards thus far.
The Bills have stayed competitive in this game and still have a very good chance to win in the second half, but they must avoid giving up big plays on defense and must re-assert themselves in their rushing offense, regardless of Spiller’s health. If Spiller is unable to run as well as he had been on the Bills’ early possessions, in which he has built a very impressive game thus far, the Bills need Jackson, who only ran for 30 yards on eight carries in the first quarter, to step up his game.
— Dan Hope
Matt Bryant kicks in a 49 yard field goal as the first half expires. We’re all tied up at 17 in Toronto.
Roddy White catches the pass for 9 yards and the Falcons will attempt a field goal to end the half.
It’s 3rd and 16 for the Falcons and Atlanta calls a timeout with 30 seconds remaining.
Jerry Hughes picks up his second sack of the game as he tries to strip the ball away.
Matt Ryan attempts a deep pass to Darius Johnson, but the ball was thrown out of bounds. 2nd and 10 for the Falcons.
Rodgers picks up the first down on a pitch pass.
On first down, Ryan throws the ball away. We’ve now reached the two-minute warning.
On 3rd and 10, Ryan finds Roddy White for 22 yards. Gilmore cannot keep up with White.
Ryan targets White on second down, but White cannot pull it in.
Matt Ryan throws the ball away on first down after getting pressured by Mario Williams.
Atlanta takes over on their own 33 after a fair catch is called.
The Falcons defense stops Fred Jackson for one yard on a screen. Awful series by Buffalo as Atlanta has plenty of momentum it appears.
Spiller loses three more on second down. Suddenly, Buffalo’s offensive line is non-existent.
Spiller loses two yards on first down.
Marquise Goodwin takes the kick return to Buffalo’s 28 yard line.
It’s 17-14 Bills with 4:49 remaining in the first half.
Antone Smith runs 38 yards for a touchdown for Atlanta.
Matt Ryan connects with Roddy White for the first down and Kyle Williams gets called for illegal hands to the face. The penalty is declined and the Falcons are moving the ball.
Darius Johnson catches a screen on second down and is three yards short of the first down. It’s 3rd and 3 for the Falcons.
Steven Jackson gains four yards on first down.
Toilolo catches a jump ball of sorts over Gilmore on second down to get the first down.
Darius Johnson drops a Matt Ryan pass on first down.
Carpenter kicks the ball short and DiMarco takes the ball to Atlanta’s 29 yard line.
Dan Carpenter’s 29 yard field goal gives the Bills a 17-7 lead.
Manuel attempts a pass to Stevie Johnson, but it falls incomplete. The play was very close to being pass interference.
Choice gets bottled up on 2nd down for a minimal gain.
Manuel avoids pressure and throws a pass to the end zone but it’s a bit too far for T.J. Graham. Manuel appeared to have some room to run.
EJ Manuel picks up the first down on a quarterback sneak.
Spiller cuts back to his right on 2nd and 10 and gains nine yards.
Manuel scrambles and tries to throw the ball to Spiller, but Spiller’s foot was out of bounds.
Frank Summers gets a second down catch and barrels over a Falcons defender for a first down.
Jackson does a nice job of gaining three yards on a play where he could have lost a few yards. Jackson stiff armed Umenyiora to get positive yards.
On 3rd and 5, Manuel finds Stevie Johnson on the slant for the first down.
Manuel throws incomplete to Stevie Johnson on first down and the ball flies backwards but harmlessly hits the turf.
On first down, Jackson stretches the ball to the right and gains five yards on first down.
Scott Chandler gains 10 yards on a first down pass to move the chains.
Spiller picks up the first down by gaining four yards.
EJ Manuel finds C.J. Spiller for a short 7 yard pass on first down.
McKelvin brings the Falcons punt back to Buffalo’s 32 yard line before getting tackled. It looked as though he had an opportunity to return the punt for a big gain.
Roddy White slips on 3rd and 2 and Leodis McKelvin almost intercepts the ball. The Falcons will be forced to punt.
Rodgers gains two yards on second down to bring up a 3rd and 2. Atlanta’s offensive line is pushing Buffalo back a bit.
Steven Jackson picks up six yards on 1st and 10.
Mike Smith is already inserting some younger players into his lineup.
Steven Jackson picks up the first down on 2nd and 2.
Roddy White catches an eight yard pass to end the first quarter.
Atlanta will start at their 22 yard line after an illegal block in the back.
Desmond Trufant breaks up a pass intended for Marquise Goodwin and the Bills will be forced to punt. Atlanta seems to have quite a few fans in Toronto as the crowd is rather loud on their behalf.
Manuel completes a second down pass to Robert Woods for 6 yards. It’s 3rd and 9 for the Bills.
Manuel fumbles the snap on 1st and 10 and cannot pick it up. He lays on the ball and takes the five yard loss.
Jackson picks up the first down on 2nd and 1 picking up 4 yards.
Buffalo takes over from their 20 and Spiller gains 9 yards on first down.
Buffalo 14 – Atlanta 7
Matt Ryan was able to complete some passes on the drive and Steven Jackson took the ball 27 yards on 3rd and 1 to pull the Falcons within 7 points.
On 3rd and 1, Steven Jackson blew right through Buffalo’s defense for a 27 yard touchdown.
On the next play, Lawson stops Rodgers for a loss of two yards. Ryan finds Douglas for a gain of 11 on second down. It’s third and 1.
Matt Ryan connects with Roddy White on first down and Mario Williams gets called for roughing the passer. Atlanta has the ball on Buffalo’s 36 yard line.
Matt Ryan finds Tony Gonzalez on first down for a gain of 11 yards. Atlanta’s offensive line gave Ryan enough time to throw on that play.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons are out on the field for the third time today.
Buffalo leads 14-0 with 5:00 remaining in the first quarter.
Fred Jackson bulls his way into the end zone and does his InFredible Hulk celebration.
Buffalo calls a timeout with 5:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Manuel gains one yard on a scramble and holding is called on Robert McClain. The Bills get half the distance to the goal and an automatic first down.
Jackson picks up one yard on first down.
Manuel finds Johnson on a slant on 3rd and 1 and the Bills move the chains again.
On 2nd down, Spiller adds six yards. It’s 3rd and 1 for the Bills.
Spiller gains three yards on first down.
Manuel completes a pass to Stevie Johnson for 15 yards on 3rd and 1. The Bills did a nice job of protecting Manuel on the play.
Fred Jackson gains a little over a yard so it’s a long 3rd and 1 for Buffalo.
Manuel is standing on the sidelines and Lewis hands the ball off to Spiller for a gain of seven. Manuel is back in the lineup.
Thad Lewis is warming up as Manuel is down on the field. Hopefully Manuel just had the wind knocked out of him, but it could be a rib or sternum injury.
Manuel throws incomplete on first down, but the Falcons are called for roughing the passer. Manuel is down after the play.
Buffalo will start their second drive on their own 37 yard line.
Jerry Hughes sacks Matt Ryan on 3rd and 9 and the Falcons will again be forced to punt.
Marcell Dareus breaks through on second down and drops Steven Jackson for a loss of four yards.
Steven Jackson gets the carry on first down and picks up close to five yards.
In other news, the Jaguars, Colts and Dolphins all won today, which is exactly what Buffalo needed for their playoff hopes.
Buffalo couldn’t ask for a better start against Atlanta. C.J. Spiller’s 77 yard run is encouraging as it appears he’s close to 100 percent. Buffalo leads 7-0 with 10:54 remaining in the first quarter.
The referees overturn the call and reward the Bills with a touchdown. This was the first challenge that Doug Marrone has won this season.
Marrone is challenging the play and there’s a great chance the call will be overturned.
Manuel attempts to run in for the touchdown, but the referee says he stepped out at the one. Manuel did not step out of bounds and he hit the pylon with the ball.
Fred Jackson gets his first carry and runs it down to the 2 and gets a neutral zone infraction on Atlanta on the next play.
Spiller rips off a huge 77 yard run on second down.
Buffalo tests Atlanta’s run defense on first down and C.J. Spiller picks up 2 yards.
Buffalo will start with the ball on their own 14.
Manny Lawson gets a big sack on 3rd and 2 after the Falcons had gained eight yards on first and second down.
The desperate Falcons start out with a little trickery on the kickoff return and gets the ball to midfield.
Atlanta wins the coin toss and will get the ball to start the game.
The stadium doesn’t look very full, and that’s an understatement. Very disappointing “home field advantage” for the Bills.
As we get closer to the Bills game, let’s take a look at the Wild Card picture. Buffalo needs plenty of help to get the sixth seed and today, Bills fans should be cheering for the Dolphins, Colts, Jaguars and Bengals.
The Dolphins appear to have the game in hand up 23-3 with less than six minutes remaining.
The Colts-Titans game and Jaguars-Browns games are extremely close. The Colts and Jaguars each hold one point leads over their opposition.
While getting help is nice, Buffalo obviously needs to do their part and win today.
The Atlanta Falcons’ inactives for today’s game:
RB Josh Vaughan
S Kemal Ishmael
LB Omar Gaither
G Harland Gunn
OL Terren Jones
OL Sean Locklear
DT Travian Robertson
Inactives for the Buffalo Bills:
QB Jeff Tuel
RB Ronnie Wingo
CB Brandon Smith
LB Ty Powell
G J.J. Unga
G Antoine McClain
TE Chris Gragg
The big news is that Kyle Williams is active after suffering a back injury late in the week. Williams has arguably been the Bills’ MVP this season.