The “Get That Guy Outta Town” Award
There was plenty of blame to go around from the loss yesterday, but plenty of it seemed to be directed at the Bills’ kicker, who made an extra point and missed from 49 on his only field goal try of the day.
To be clear, this award is based on who the fans seem to be irrationally directing their anger at, not who I think actually needs to be cut. Blaming the kicker for a six-point loss when he only attempted one field goal is the definition of “displaced anger,” especially when there are so many people who had so much more to do with the loss.
The “Why is That Guy Out There” Award
Was it just me, or did the Bills use a lot of tackle-eligible sets as soon as Cordy Glenn left the game? There were quite a few plays with Groy serving as the sixth lineman, and none of them seemed to work very well.
To be fair, most of the plays the Bills ran against Baltimore didn’t work very well, but when Groy was on the field there was absolutely no misdirection. The Bills loaded the field to one side, and the play ran to that side. It should be an easy fix, one that the team began working towards by bringing fullback Jerome Felton back into the fold.
The Unsung Hero Award
The ride-hailing service may not be available in Buffalo just yet, but it certainly helped the Bills out yesterday.
Jerry Hughes and Zach Brown missed their ride to the stadium with the team, so they had to catch a ride with Uber. As Sean Murphy pointed out yesterday, those two (especially Hughes) were two of the best players on the team in Baltimore. Without the Uber ride, things...probably would’ve turned out the same, but it was still a good bit of publicity in an area the company is trying to break into.
The “Worst Performance by a Guy Who Can’t Afford One” Award
One of the more interesting developments from the final round of cuts was the team’s decision to keep six safeties on the roster. While it does give them some flexibility on the defensive side of the ball, it makes each of the individual safeties more expendable than they might be otherwise.
On top of that, the solid outing by the defense yesterday makes their bad plays stick out like a sore thumb.
Williams was twisted around pretty good by Mike Wallace, a guy whose limited offensive repertoire makes him a relatively easy receiver to defend. The stiff arm at the end was just the icing on the cake. I’m not saying Duke is headed for the unemployment line just yet, but if there’s a cut to be made at the position his name could be at the top of the list.
Least Valuable Player Award
This was, quite simply, Taylor’s worst performance as a Bill. His deep ball was nowhere to be found, and he missed badly on throws to Greg Salas and a wide-open Reggie Bush that could have netted big plays. The throw to Charles Clay was special, but it was hardly enough to mask an otherwise atrocious performance.
His legs were also nowhere to be found. He ran five times for 11 total yards, highlighted by a six-yard pickup on fourth down that would’ve converted anyway because of a defensive holding penalty. On option rushes, Taylor seemed entirely reluctant to keep the ball and handed off when he had his own running lanes to work with. His legs are a big portion of his game, and hopefully he’ll remember how to use them to do things besides move around in the pocket.
I stand by my assertion that the Bills shouldn’t draft Chad Kelly, but if Taylor has a few more games like that I’m going to understand where the calls for a new quarterback will be coming from. He has 15 games to turn it around, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he did, but by no means is it a good start at his effort to convince the front office to pick up his contract extension for next season.
Most Valuable Player Award
I considered McCoy here, since he was the only player on the offense doing much of anything, but Hughes put in a monster performance yesterday that, while leaving room for improvement, is a reminder of why he netted a $45 million extension last season.
His two sacks, part of a rejuvenated Bills pass rush, put him 40% of the way towards equaling his total of five from last season. The total number of individual multi-sack performances dropped from nine in 2014 to only one last year (which was also by Hughes), and after yesterday he now accounts for five of the 11 dating back to two seasons ago.
If there was anything to improve on, it was clearly his performance against the run. There were multiple plays where he blew past the offensive line, only to find himself juked out by Justin Forsett or Terrance West. He’s never been known for his open-field tackling, but if he can improve on that he should be able to garner some Pro Bowl consideration, if not more.