Despite keeping it a close game early on, it proved to be impossible to contain Drew Brees and the Saints for more than 30 minutes of a game. In an unsurprising loss, the Bills were fell 35-17 thanks to poor ball security and a QB that can literally pick apart defenses. At times, the Bills played wonderfully, but as we have seen (despite being much improved from last year), too much inconsistency hurt. It won’t be easier against an undefeated Chiefs team next, but who knows? We are halfway through with a rugged 3-5 record. Not great by any means, but the Bills at least are hanging in there and are working some magic.
Keep your eyes out for my Q2 Report later this week.
Rushing Offense: F
Credit Fred Jackson for doing as much as he could with a couple of injuries. Fred had a rushing TD, but was limited to 15 carries for 45 yards (3 per carry) while Choice had 7 touches for 35 yards. I feel Marrone abandoned the run too much in the second half which did not help Thad Lewis. Thad needs to take better care of the ball having two costly fumbles deep in our territory. No Winging it this game…
Passing Offense: D
Stevie hung out there despite a nagging groin injury and made 7 catches for 72 yards a TD. Incidentally Scott Chandler also had 7 nabs for 72 yards too. Goodwin erupted with a three nice catches for 56 yards. T.J. Graham had a deep TD called back on a Chandler holding call. Thad Lewis played poorly today; I give him props for surviving several big hits, but a 56.4% completion rate and a pick coupled with holding on to the ball too long hurt.
Run Defense: B
The run "D" was not spectacular, but did shut down the Saints offense in the first half until Brees fired up the big guns. Still they kept the Saints to 77 rushing yards (65 by Pierre Thomas). The Bills limited upstart RB Khiry Robinson to just 9 yards on 7 touches. Kyle Williams had 1.5 sacks and 9 tackles while Alonzo had 11 tackles.
Pass Defense: F
For an hour, I thought "Holy Cow! They’re doing the impossible…" Then Brees, despite a lot of pressure and 4 sacks from the front four, picked apart the secondary. Coverage overall was not bad, but Brees is known for fitting the ball in impossible windows. A few TDs came on horrible coverage especially when Stills got left with Hughes for a 69 yard TD. Gilmore was good playing off of Jimmy Graham for part of the day (not responsible for either of his TDs). Still, Brees finished with 332 yards in the air, completing 76.5% of his passes for 5 TDs and an insane QB rating of 146.1; for that you have to fail them.
Special Teams: B-
All in all it was a quiet day for special teams. No big returns by either team, Dan Carpenter made 1-2 field goals (the Saints missed both of theirs), while Moorman finished with a net average of 45.7 yards on 3 punts.
Playing without 2 key offensive players hurts any game plan. I don’t even fault the two challenges, Marrone was sticking up for his guys, but there was not enough to overturn the calls. I do fault the second half adjustments (or lack thereof) and not being able to solve the inconsistencies of giving up big plays on defense and not making them offensively. Sorry to have your pseudo-home-coming spoiled Marrone, but for what it’s worth, I like you a lot still.