I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a season ticket holder at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I'm afforded the opportunity to see the Bills live at least seven times per season; I know that's an opportunity that many of you would just about die for. I felt the pain many of you felt this Sunday, however, while trying to do my usual film breakdowns; there's only so much Cincinnati Bengals football I can handle. Mercifully, we don't play that team this season.
So, with the power outage ultimately leading to a lot of useless time and data on my DVR, I'm shortening up the film sessions to some more general observations this week. With any luck, we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming next week after the Bills face the Dolphins.
C Duke Preston vs C Melvin Fowler
I can appreciate what y'all are saying about the Duke Preston vs Melvin Fowler debate, but please understand that this is one of the weakest debates I've ever seen when it comes to Bills personnel. Let me assure you that even though Preston was part of a line that performed admirably against San Diego (at least when it came to pass protection), the Bills hold Fowler in much higher regard. I wasn't too impressed with Preston; I doubt Fowler would have played worse. Fowler is the starter when he's healthy, and that could be as soon as this week.
Marshawn vs Fred
I saw some folks asking why it was Fred Jackson and not Marshawn Lynch in the game while the Bills were trying to kill clock against the Chargers. First of all, I didn't see anything different in the way the two backs normally rotate; by the terms of that rotation, it was Jackson's turn to be on the field. Clearly, Buffalo's coaching staff is every bit as comfortable with Jackson as they are with Lynch to depend on him in that situation.
To add to this, however, I think it's pretty clear that Jackson was giving the Chargers more problems. Lynch has trouble getting going sometimes; Jackson's a one-cut guy that hits his top speed relatively quick. Jackson's numbers weren't as gaudy, but he was consistently having much more success running the ball than was Lynch, including up the middle. Lynch had some long runs to boost his average; Jackson was churning out yardage better. That may have played into the decision as well. Combined, these two guys present a ridiculously challenging matchup for our opponents.
DT Kyle Williams
I mentioned prior to the start of the season that I thought DT Kyle Williams was getting ready for a break-out season. Some of you scoffed. Williams has been nothing short of Buffalo's best defensive lineman this season; when he's not double teamed, he's exploding into opposing backfields. Nobody has made more plays in opponent's backfields than Williams this season. When he's on, he's an absolute monster. Nothing changed against San Diego; it took two guys to block him most of the game, and when they singled him up, he was highly disruptive once again.
DT John McCargo
Let's give this kid some credit - coming off of his botched trade, McCargo played a surprising amount, and he played pretty well. He won't pick up much in the way of stats in his current role, simply because he inexplicably demands double teams when he's on the field. He looked good against San Diego; he drew a double team that helped Copeland Bryan apply serious pressure on Kawika Mitchell's interception.
DE Contain vs Misdirection
This is a recurring problem for the Bills, and if memory serves me correctly, Buffalo's opponents have exploited it at least once in each game this season. Buffalo's defensive ends make one major mistake in contain per game, and the usual culprits are Chris Kelsay and Bryan. This week, the mistake came on a 31-yard reverse run by Chargers WR Vincent Jackson. Buffalo's ends, by and large, played pretty well against San Diego, but it'd be nice if they started playing a bit more disciplined on misdirection plays.
FB Corey McIntyre
I was impressed with Buffalo's new fullback. He didn't look great as a lead blocker, but he hasn't been allowed to do much of it yet, either, so I won't pass judgment there yet. Where he looked outstanding was as a wedge-buster on Buffalo's kick coverage units. McIntyre is like a little bowling ball of pain out there (well, as "little" as a 258-pound man can be, I suppose), and routinely destroyed the Chargers' blocking schemes. He looked very good in this role. Another quality signing by Bobby April. As a result, the Bills were able to quite easily contain one of the NFL's most explosive return men in Chargers RB Darren Sproles.
P Brian Moorman
Let's give our punter some love. He had a punt nullified by a penalty in the fourth quarter, and during said punt, he developed a pretty serious cramp in his left (plant leg) calf. While the refs were taking care of the penalty, George Wilson helped Moorman stretch out on the field - but he was clearly bothered. Moorman stayed on the field, punted a rocket with his left leg in a knot, then hobbled off the field after some excellent punt coverage. Who said 172-pound punters weren't tough?