The Buffalo Bills settled for three field goal attempts and just six points on two trips inside the Houston Texans' 20-yard-line during Sunday's 21-9 loss. Despite being able to generally move the ball in an effective manner, the offense stalled at the worst times. Head coach Chan Gailey said it was the difference in the 21-9 loss.
"It looked like to me in general they turned their drives into touchdowns and we didn’t," said Gailey after the game. "We both made some plays during the course of the day, but they were able to get the ball in the end zone and we weren’t able to get the ball in the end zone. That’s the bottom line."
"The story for us was just our inability to score touchdowns," echoed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. "We had three field goals and another field goal attempt. Something this team over the last few years has been good at is converting those drives into seven points, not three. To me, that’s where our issue was today, not being able to get the seven points, driving it down the field and doing different things and not being able to convert."
The Bills were able to gain over 300 yards of total offense against the NFL's third-ranked defense. Coming in, Buffalo had an outstanding conversion rate inside the red zone, but wasn't able to get the job done on Sunday. The Bills didn't even have a pass attempted past the end zone pylon.
"We tried to run it a couple of times and we didn’t make any yards," said Gailey of the red zone. "Now you’re behind the sticks. We normally throw the ball in the end zone down there and today we couldn’t get it thrown in there."
Buffalo's running game was shut down for the majority of the second half, giving the ball to a running back for the final time with 8:23 remaining in the third quarter per WGR 550's Howard Simon. It will likely be the most frequent question answered of Gailey this week following the lowest rushing output of the season.
"I’m not worried about that," said C.J. Spiller after notching just six carries and five catches for a very respectable 102 yards. "I just try to go out there and execute."
Wide receiver Stevie Johnson was limited during the second half after sustaining a thigh bruise in the second quarter. Still, he was in the game running pass routes as the Bills continued chucking the ball.
"They did a nice job with the personnel they had in, basically taking us out of a lot of our three wide receiver run game," said Fitzpatrick. "They did a good job of that. We tried to run a little bit early with two tights and they did a good job of taking that away. We felt like we had a better chance getting the ball in the air a little bit, trying to go against those one on one matchups."
Fred Jackson carried the ball six times for 21 yards, but 13 came on one play. He added five receptions for 13 yards as the Bills continued using screen passes to get their backs in space.
"We’ve got to get C.J. more touches," said Fitzpatrick after the game. "I think everybody knows that and we’ve got to find ways to do that.
"We had a lot of stuff that we didn’t get to do because of how they were playing us," added the quarterback. "That’s just the way it is with our team and the things that we do. Teams, when they play against us, the biggest thing is to stop the run. Stop C.J., stop Fred, and make us beat you with the pass. That’s what the Texans came into the game saying and that’s what they did."
Buffalo heads to New England this Sunday to face a Patriots team that held them under 100 yards rushing earlier in the year. The Patriots are seventh in the NFL in rushing defense, having the benefit of playing with big leads. They also have a suspect secondary, which may prompt the Bills to dial up more passes. Fitzpatrick amassed 340 yards in the previous meeting, easily his top output of the season.