After watching the game today, it is clear that the Bills are not the same team that they were in the first 7 games. However, pinpointing the issues and trying to figure out why they are doing so poorly is not necessarily a mystery. It boils down to a couple key issues and how they hurt the team and cause this spiral to continue.
Injuries Influencing Play Calling
Yes, every team has injuries, but Buffalo cannot overcome them because the injuries cause match-up problems. I would say that Chan Gailey has been so successful with this offense because he was able to take a single strength from each of his players and maximize that in his game planning. For example, Donald Jones was a good blocker, Scott Chandler is really tall and has good hands and Roscoe Parrish was a speedy slot guy. Each of these strengths created match-ups that are advantageous to the Bills. With these guys out, it becomes harder to create those match-ups and the play calling cannot be as creative.
I honestly feel like the lack of talent on the offense is contributing to the Bills calling screen passes and the Stevie slant 3-5 times a game even if it doesn't seem to be warranted. No one on that offense can create the match-ups needed to make plays work. It should be noted that with Chandler out, not a single throw went to the TE.
The team has to be able to execute, and Fitz hasn't been able to execute. I think he was a great story last season/first half of this season, but if the Bills want to be an elite team, we need an elite QB. Nothing against him, and I really do appreciate his bringing the offense to respectability for a time, but a better QB would make some of the throws that cost the Bills games and would be able to take advantage of the D stacking the box.
What We Need: Not Necessarily In Order
1. CB: You can say that the pass rush needs to be improved, but today showed that Florence getting owned was a bigger issue than the pass rush, and this was not the first time we have said that. A shutdown corner to go with Williams, Rogers and the safety duo of Byrd and Wilson would be amazing.
2 OLB: Say what you want about the pass rush, but the Bills played with a little fire today. Seeing Kelsay get a strip of Moore makes me think it could just be that play calling brings down the quality of play as much as lack of talent. However, Courtney Upshaw would be a sweet 1st round pick.
3. QB: Even if you are happy with Fitz, there are some good prospects in this draft and a better QB will give the offense more consistency and production for a full 16 games and can make our WR corp look better.
4. WR: This isn't a need so much as a want, as Stevie can get deep and beat CB's down the field. However, a really good second option would help. Hopefully Marcus Easely fills this role next season.