QB Edwards watches from the sideline with groin injury (AP)
Is it April yet?
With slim playoff hopes on the line, exactly one half of your 2008 Buffalo Bills showed up for today's contest with the San Francisco 49ers - plus Marshawn Lynch. Despite a borderline dominant defensive performance and a 16-carry, 134-yard performance from its top back, the Bills ended Sunday's game with just a field goal to their names in an absolutely embarrassing 10-3 loss to the visiting 49ers.
The standings will say 6-6, but if you're savvy, you'll realize that these Bills are 2-6. They've lost six of eight games, with this one the crappy icing on the cake. With four very difficult games to finish the season approaching, including three against division opponents, the Bills are once again staring a losing record in the face.
Don't Blame the Defense
Despite giving up a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, Buffalo's defense once again accomplished more than enough to put a victory up on the board. After that initial drive, the Bills surrendered just 123 yards, forced four fumbles, registered three sacks and surrendered just one more field goal. Problem was, that initial touchdown was all the Niners would need to notch their fourth win of the season.
There isn't much more a defense can do for your team. 10 points surrendered at home should be enough to win handily. On this day, it wasn't.
Buffalo's opponents have now drawn first blood in six consecutive games, and the slow starts collectively rank as a big reason the team has won just one of those six contests. Add it up, and the Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Browns, Chiefs and 49ers have thrown up 50 points on us before we've countered. You're not going to win a lot of ballgames when you're buried early.
That's Mister Lynch if you're nasty
Exactly one offensive player showed up today, and it's not shocking that that man was Lynch. San Francisco had no answer for Lynch, as the second-year back piled up 134 rushing yards, averaging 8.4 yards per rush. This was his best game as a pro.
Unfortunately, Turk Schonert didn't realize it. Despite the fact that Buffalo never trailed by more than 10 points, Schonert reverted to his old ways, dialing up 38 throws as compared to just 21 rushes between Lynch and Fred Jackson. It didn't matter who was playing quarterback; Trent Edwards (with his injured groin) and J.P. Losman were equally ineffective on a terrible day for the passing offense. Receivers weren't open. The trickle-down effect was coverage pressure and 3 points. If Schonert can't figure out how to beat eight-deep coverage, the Bills are staring 6-10 squarely in the face.
Long story short: I'm not sure what energies Lynch channels prior to each game, but he needs to share the mojo. The rest of the group was terrible. Lynch is an absolute pleasure to watch week in and week out; no other Bill can make that claim.
Lindell's woes continue
And that's really all that needs to be said about that. The special teams unit wasn't great, and Lindell's two misses were the highlights. Moving on.
I'm too indifferent about this team at the moment to consider myself "nasty", so Mr. Lynch, this game ball's for you. The rest of you can take a hike.
Thanks to Ron and K for keeping the game threads going while I was storming out of The Ralph early. 42 of y'all made 1374 comments, with the three least surprising guys - norcaliangelsfan, WABillsfan and Kurupt - leading the way with 200+ comments apiece. A special thanks to the 42 of you commiserating together, as listed below:
twoeightnine, norcaliangelsfan, WABillsfan, Kurupt, D.O., BuffCrunch, ccthemovieman, savedbychrist, SebastianPruiti, jj24, kaisertown, rjamesd08, macfresh, Ron From NM, geno227, Thronsen, Cinga, Memphisbillsfan, keuka121, Tatunka, Zumone, NJBill, LeClaireBill, BuffaloBrewed, NJBillsfan, Hassanali181, silverstreak3k, thejamootz, williamherbert, BillsNorth, StuckInNJ, McDole72, chaosthepitbull, mavadjdj, Dyl, Gino Parilli, aranearum, billsfor4, jdol1568, spavery, SSreporters, MARVelous
I'll repeat the question at the top: is it April yet?