After Sunday’s gut-wrenching loss to the New York Jets, it’s very difficult to try and muster up anything positive about the Buffalo Bills. Listed below are the grades I’m handing out to the team. We’ll start off with the offense first.
What stopped the grade from being an “F” was Bills Running Back (RB) CJ Spiller’s rushing performance. Spiller ripped off a 56 yarder for a Touchdown (TD) in the second quarter. But, the Bills would not get on the scoreboard again until the score was 41-7 in the third quarter. At that point in the game, New York Jets Head Coach (HC) Rex Ryan had put in most of his backup players in on defense, and eased up on their attack of the Bills offense. By Ryan doing such, the Bills were able to score three TD’s between the third and fourth quarters. By that time, it was too little, too late for the Bills as the Jets went on to win 48-28.
CJ Spiller had 169 yards (yds) on 14 carries and one rushing TD. Spiller had a 56 yd TD run, a 49 yd run, and nearly broke a few more for huge gains. Overall, the Bills had 195 yds rushing on the day. Currently, Spiller, as well as the Bills offense ranks #1 in the NFL in rushing yds.
Wide Receiver’s (WRs): C
When your starting Quarterback (QB) is either telegraphing his passes, throwing behind you or is late with his throws, it’s very hard for a WR to make any plays. Bills WR’s Steve Johnson and Donald Jones had combined for 9 receptions (rec), 96 yds and 2 TD’s. Jones was the best pass defender on the field as he batted down a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass that would have been intercepted by the Jets. Too bad Jones couldn’t play both WR and Cornerback (CB).
Tight Ends (TEs): B
Starting Bills TE Scott Chandler had 4 rec’s for 38 yds and 1 TD. Chandler played as efficiently as you could have expected from him, given the limited amount of throws from Fitzpatrick. Lee Smith had 1 rec for 5 yds.
Unfortunately, F is the lowest grade you can give a person. If someone could have the honor bestowed upon them with having a lower grade than F, the honor would belong to Fitzpatrick. Even though Fitzpatrick was late getting the ball out to WR Steve Johnson on the first pick, if that ball was thrown far enough to the outside, it’s either incomplete or caught by Johnson. The second interception was thrown behind an open David Nelson. Those were not bad decisions, those were just bad throws by Fitzpatrick. The third pick that the Jets returned for a pick six was indeed a bad decision from which you see from the likes of High School QB’s, not starting NFL QB’s. Fitzpatrick was either throwing behind his WR’s, slow to throw the pass or telegraphing his passes.
Offensive Line: A
The Offensive Line gave Fitzpatrick enough time in the pocket on Sunday to make his throws, and did not allow a sack. Also, the line opened some good holes for Spiller to blast through.
When it takes almost to the fourth quarter to force a punt, then you know your team is in trouble. When your offense turns it over four times, it makes everyone’s job on defense that much harder.
Run Defense: B-
The Bills run defense, especially in years past against the Jets was putrid. But on Sunday, the Bills run defense held the Jets to 118 rushing yds at 3.3 yards per carry. While the run defense showed significant improvements, mainly due to the highly touted defensive front four of Buffalo, they could not hold the Jets in 3rd and short situations.
Pass Rush: F
No sacks on Sanchez, and there were only a few times where the Bills were able to chase Sanchez out of the pocket. In week 1, the $100+ Million dollar investment to shore up the pass rush did not payoff.
Pass Defense: F
The Bills CB’s and Safeties were either giving the Jets WR’s & TE’s a 10-15 yard cushion, or being physically manhandled at the line of scrimmage. By far, this was the Bills weakest group of the entire team.
Special Teams: D-
Just like Fitzpatrick, if anyone deserves a lower grade than F, then that honor should be shared with Chan Gailey, Bruce DeHaven and Dave Wannstedt. The Bills looked like they were still in preseason mode. The Bills defense looked very vanilla, and barely brought any blitzes. Wannstedt did a very poor job of making changes throughout the game.
Here are some post game quotes from Gailey: '“We need to tighten up our coverage which will help our pass rush,” why thank you, Captain Obvious!
"This is a cliché and I understand it. It is one of sixteen and if you win enough, you get in the playoffs.” I have two problems with this quote. First off, Gailey has been preaching since day one as Bills HC that he doesn’t hope to win, he expects to win. So, now Gailey has either lowered his expectations, or has been blowing smoke up our collective butts. Second, while Sunday’s game was only one of 16, it was against a division rival [Jets], and the game is only one of six. Right now, the Bills are 0-1 in the AFC East. Last season, the Bills were 1-5 in the division. The better your win/loss record is in the division, the better the chances you’ll have of making the playoffs.
One thing is for sure, the entire Bills team, both players and coaches need to straighten this ship out quick before there is a mass mutiny among the natives [Bills fans].