I’ll admit, that was not a pretty game on Sunday and that’s what I was worried about. We* had just beaten the Broncos and Falcons in back-to-back weeks and I thought we would go into Cincy with the “our shit don’t stink” attitude and get shown up. I think I was half right. I’m going to break this down in reverse “Good, Bad, and Ugly” because I want to end on a high note.
We definitely got shown up, but I’m not sure it was an attitude problem, I think it was more of a personnel problem. We lost Jordan Matthews, EJ Gaines, and Ramon Humber to injuries during the Falcons game. Are any of those guys the absolute top player at their position throughout the NFL? No. But they are some of the top personnel in their positions on this team and that’s what’s important. To make matters worse, we lost Charles Clay during the game, who has been Tyrod’s favorite target this season.
But I’m not going to sit here and blame the entire loss on injuries, there is a lot of room for improvement on offense. Plain and simple, we cannot take the hard work of the defense and special teams and then not convert on offense. We had opportunity after opportunity to make big plays only to punt or settle for 3. Tyrod needs to be making his decisions a little quicker. There were plays when he had plenty of time to decide what to do only to take the sack or throw it away. Hey Tyrod, don’t forget that your nickname is T-Mobile for a reason. If you can’t find a play, make one.
There is absolutely room to improve on both sides of the ball. The defense, while forcing three turnovers, still has some work to do with a young secondary. The two big passes they let up to A.J. Green were concerning, especially because their pass defense has been lights out up until now. I’m hoping that was a combination of a fluke and injuries and we won’t see much of it going forward.
I also don’t know what is up with Shady. He has been nursing an injury, but even then he isn’t playing like he used to. He did break off a nice run (only to have it called back on a penalty) but for the most part, we aren’t seeing the explosiveness and the agility we’ve become accustomed to with him. I hope he takes the bye week to rest and get things figured out because we definitely need that run game.
I know I just listed the defense under the “bad” but hey we’re talking about an entire facet of the game, there is good and bad. And the good here was the forcing of three turnovers–two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Even with some of their biggest guys injured, this defense still finds ways to make plays. Micah Hyde and Tre White are playing out of their minds back there and our D-Line is doing a nice job of putting pressure on the quarterbacks.
And let’s not forget the kicker. Hauschka has been laser focused five games into the season. Dude is hitting 50 yarders like they are nothing, which is a welcome change after Dan Carpenter couldn’t hit 20 yarders. I’d prefer we get 7 as opposed to 3, but its nice to know that we can hit ’em if we got to.
Finally, I’m very happy with the coaching staff. There are certainly play calls I disagree with (I firmly believe we should be using Tolbert on 4th and short since that what his purpose is) but this coaching staff has completely changed the attitude of this team. Sean McDermott has a good head on his shoulders and win or lose, you know he is going to stay humble and work on improving for the next week.
Overall, I’m happy with where the team is at right now. 3-2 with victories over the Broncos and Falcons going into their bye week is not what anybody expected coming into the season. With the way teams have been playing across the league, I’m very optimistic about this team and really billeve they have what it takes to be a playoff team. They’ve shown that they are serious contenders and I’m encouraged by McDermott and the rest of the coaching staff. I think they will really make use of this bye week to study up and make each other better and you wanna know why? Because nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills!
*Yes, I refer to teams I root for by “we.” Before you ask, I don’t have a position, I don’t have a number. But what I do have is a lifetime of fan hood and any Bills fan, player, coach, or front office member will tell you that’s enough to be considered in the “we” #BillsMafia