BBD Staff Writer: John Maher
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Buffalo Bills looked to rebound against a 3-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team in order to keep any slim playoff hopes alive.
Those hopes quickly died Sunday.
BBD Editor: Dan Hope
While the Buffalo Bills have lost eight games, including two in overtime and four by seven points or less, it seems no loss this season (at least judging off the tweets in my timeline and in my mentions) has been a tougher pill for Buffalo fans to swallow than the team’s 34-31 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
This sentiment from the Bills fan base comes understandably, both because of the implications and manner of the loss. As the defeat drops Buffalo to 4-8 on the season, it puts a stake through the heart of the Bills’ slim playoff hopes. But the loss might be an especially tough pill to swallow because this was not a game Buffalo lost decidedly, but rather let slip away on the verge of victory.
As has been the case in many losses this season for the Bills, late-game penalties and mistakes proved costly. But it is unfair and inaccurate to pinpoint blame for Buffalo’s loss, and furthermore its failure to make the postseason, on those responsible for calling those penalties and making those mistakes.
BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski
Sitting at three wins and five losses at the midpoint of the season, the overall numbers might not seem to be working in the favor of the Buffalo Bills, yet it seems clear the Bills are generally moving in the right direction. Of the team’s five losses, three of them were by seven points or less — including two on game-winning field goals — and one, against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5, came when undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel was the only option to finish the game at quarterback after EJ Manuel suffered an LCL sprain that has kept him out ever since.
The new coaching staff led by Doug Marrone, and general manager Doug Whaley, have acquitted themselves well. Even with a losing record, there is more reason for optimism with the Bills than there has in the past. But, as I learned in history class: if you don’t study your past, you’re destined to repeat it, which means it’s time to look back at the Bills’ first half and see what mistakes they can learn from to make positive progress.
BBD Editor: Dan Hope
20 penalties for 168 yards.
That’s how many penalties the New York Jets had against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. They still won the game, 27-20, in a game the Bills should be embarrassed about losing.
The Jets showed an incredible lack of discipline, especially on defense, picking up stupid penalties at inopportune times. Of the 18 first downs the Bills picked up in the game, eight of them were a result of Jets’ penalties.
Between 20 penalties and two turnovers (both Geno Smith interceptions), the Jets shot themselves in the foot throughout the game. When a team makes that many mistakes, they should never win the game. They did, however, because the Bills didn’t make the plays to capitalize on many of the Jets’ mistakes.
BBD Staff Writer: Glenn Gifford
On two consecutive drives between the third and fourth quarters of the Buffalo Bills’ 24-23 victory over the Carolina Panthers, EJ Manuel looked like a rookie. The quarterback fumbled then threw an interception, which led to two Carolina possessions deep in Buffalo territory.
In the stands, there were a few groans in my section about Manuel’s errors. Groans are to be expected as Buffalo ventures out into the 2013 season with a rookie quarterback. Those groans quickly turned to thunderous cheers when Manuel led the Buffalo Bills on a late 80-yard drive for a game-winning touchdown.
In the Week 2 installment of “First Downs and Flags,” some of Buffalo’s best and worst efforts from Sunday’s win will be highlighted.