Lynch getting very little room to run (buffalobills.com)
Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills extended their winning streak to four games by taking care of business in St. Louis in a 31-14 win over the Rams. It wasn't pretty, but it was effective, and the Bills are 4-0 for the first time since 1992. Here are some more observations on the game that I didn't post in yesterday's recap.
I'm sure that Ron will have more to say about this later in the week, but I was impressed with the run blocking... in the second half. Buffalo made a tweak to their blocking schemes at the half yesterday, and the result was a solid half of rushing as the Bills put the Rams away. This is still easily the biggest area of concern for the Bills, however - the unit has been the model of inconsistency to date, looking awful at times and brilliant at others. Consider this: in nine starts last season, Trent Edwards was sacked 12 times. He's been sacked 11 times through this season's first four games. I still think our run blocking will be improve; for now, I'm much more concerned about the Bills' ability to keep that #5 Bills jersey clean, and the guy who wears it healthy.
Oh, and I'm not placing all of the blame at the feet of Jason Peters, either - Melvin Fowler and Langston Walker weren't particularly wonderful yesterday, either.
Lynch and Reed
People already know how awesome Marshawn Lynch is. He's only averaging 3.5 yards per carry on the season, but nobody outside of Buffalo realizes that he's literally doing it all by himself. I can't recall a Bills running back - or a Bills player, for that matter - that was tougher to bring down or more adept at picking up yards after contact. The guy's a stud. People only half realize it right now; when Lynch gets some blocking, he's going to have some monster games.
Not as many people are as appreciative of what Josh Reed does for the offense, however. Currently the team leader with 17 receptions, Reed is, quite simply, a first down machine. He had a few more key conversions yesterday, and is obviously Edwards' go-to-guy in clutch situations. We have ourselves a heck of a slot receiver. He's in for a career year if he keeps this up.
McGee loss could be critical
I'll probably expand on this more in the week - once things are more "official" - but the loss of Terrence McGee to a sprained left knee could end up being a critical loss to the defense. I'm hearing that McGee's injury could require 3-4 weeks of rest, and the Bills will probably give it to him - just as they encouraged Roscoe Parrish to have thumb surgery. McGee has been Buffalo's best defensive back, and the Bills are about to enter a two-game stretch in which they'll take on a powerful Cardinals aerial attack and a ridiculously effective Chargers offense. There's going to be a lot of pressure on Ashton Youboty and Leodis McKelvin to play well in McGee's absence if it turns out that his knee will keep him out for multiple games.
Defense close to exploding
There's no doubt that Buffalo's defense has been the one constant in their four victories. They struggled in the first half yesterday, but dominated in the second half as the Bills finally got over the hump and coasted to a win.
Where they've been (slightly) lacking, however, is playmaking. They finally got a big one when Jabari Greer won the game with his 33-yard pick-six. Donte Whitner also had a nice sack, and the defense in general was in St. Louis' face for the entirety of the second half. Through four games, the Bills have registered 10 sacks and forced 5 turnovers. That's not bad production at all, but does anyone else feel like they're thisclose to much more? The unit seems to be on the verge of having a game where they force a bunch of turnovers and make a lot of big hits. Think they won't relish the chance to face the suddenly turnover-happy Kurt Warner? Think again.
The AFC East
You have to love the position the Bills are in within their division. We're 4-0, and we have a game and a half on the Pats, two games on the Jets and two and a half on the Dolphins. To say that the Bills are in the driver's seat is an understatement. Each of our three foes has played at least one divisional game, and the best part of it is that all three of them have at least one division loss already (the Jets lost to the Pats; the Pats lost to the Dolphins; the Dolphins lost to the Jets). Good stuff - but that three-week stretch of divisional games loom as the largest yet for these Bills.
I'll be doing my usual film review as always this week; however, I'll be detained at work a little longer than usual on Monday, so please don't be surprised/upset if you have to wait a little longer than usual for analysis on one of the units. I'll try my best to get through it all tonight, however (at least, I will right up until 9PM - any more 'Heroes' fans out there?).