Why is it the Bills are the 6th highest scoring team in the NFL and the Bills have given up more points than all but 3 teams in the NFL? What is going on? How is this possible? The team is investing heavily in the defense and yet the defense is, basically, bad to horrific. The offense is scoring at a very high rate by any measure, Fitz leads the NFL in TD passes, CJ Spiller leads the league in yards per carry and we have one of the best punt returners in the game. Why do we continue to bash Fitz when, despite all his shortcomings, he leads one of the best offenses in the NFL, while playing for a team with one of the worst defenses in the NFL by any measure, be it points or yards allowed per game. Below I discuss the tendency of rumblers to focus on the problems with Fitz while ignoring a stunning statistic: the Bills are becoming an elite offensive machine. The only obstacle is turnovers and a defense that cannot get off the field.
It is fascinating to watch a Bills meltdown against the Patriots. The sense of doom that overcomes the fan during such a spectacle deepens as one realizes the defense cannot stop the offense of the opponent. As this realization sets in, one also realizes the panic will begin to spread to the Bills offense, bringing the entire team down in the process. This defensive collapse followed by offensive collapse and on field embarrassment and humiliation has been a pattern throughout the Chan Gailey regime. Fans thought this would change after the perfect off season of free agent acquisitions and draft picks, but alas, four games into the 2012 season, it appears to not be the case.
I believe the Bills have an elite offense despite having a less than elite receiving core and a QB with a tendency to throw interceptions. But it is hard to complain too much when your QB is averaging 3 TD passes per game and leads the league, even if those 12 TD passes are offset by 7 interceptions. If he lacks Brett Favre's arm, he seems to mimic some of his statistical habits.
Fitz needs to get better, obviously, especially if the Bills expect to win consistently with an at best average to poor defense. This has been the case for Fitz since he became the starting QB, and most likely has something to do with the high number of interceptions he has thrown. But it would be the height of dishonesty not to admit that Gailey has developed an impressive offense, that has shown an uncanny ability to score TDs.
Averaging more than 28 points per game, the Bills unfortunately are surrendering over 30 points per game. The weak defense has put tremendous pressure and arguably, unrealistic expectations upon the QB and the offense to perform at an extraordinary level, which is to say, to perform at the level of a finely tuned scoring machine. And it is precisely because short of the offense doing almost everything well when they take the field, it appears there is little chance for the Bills to win the football game.
I am not certain Fitz can be a so called elite franchise QB, but if he is the QB of a team that is in the Top 6 in scoring at the end of this season, which is to say, if he continues to average close to 28 points per game over the course of the rest of the season, I hope we finally put to bed the idea that the team's problem is Fitz, and not a defense which performs at a below average to horrific level, game in and game out, over the course of a 16 game season.
For those who consistently tell us how inconsistent Fitz is, I ask: how many points scored by the Bills offense is enough? Do we have to have Fitz score more points per game than every team in the NFL before we cut him some slack and admit that he does more things well than his critics will ever acknowledge.
Or perhaps Chan Gailey is so amazing an offensive genius that despite his misplaced faith in Fitz, his team is close to the NFL lead in scoring per game. Perhaps Chan has done a piss poor job of evaluating Fitz as a QB, but is still so brilliant in devising offensive game plans that he overcomes bad QBing to come close to leading the league in scoring.
Whatever the case of Chan and Fitz and the developing offensive scoring machine, the Bills' problem is clear: it's the stupid defense!