Thoughts on Bills/Giants

The Bills lost their second game of the season by a field goal on Sunday, both times in the final two minutes.  While the Cincinnati game was solely on the defense you can’t totally put this one on the D as Ryan Fitzpatrick channeled his inner Tony Romo and gave the ball away to the Giants defense while he had them on its heels.  Here are my thoughts…

  • Injuries are a poor excuse but it’s awful tough to play your game up front when you are missing Kyle Williams, Chris Kelsay, and Shawne Merriman and have a nicked-up Nick Barnett.  Eli Manning had all day to throw and that is when he is at his most dangerous.  They need at least most of this unit back healthy after the bye week if they want to contend for a playoff spot in the second half of the season.
  • Drayton Florence was just brutal yesterday.  God awful.  This has been a problem all year with the CB’s where McKelvin strings together a few good games and then puts up a tinker, then he recovers and it’s Florence’s turn.  If these guys can get consistent than we might see the 300-400 yard games by the QB’s every single week go away.  Terrence McGee did look good in his first full game of the season yesterday.  He was beat a couple of times but that’s too be expected.  The Bills really missed his run defense on the corner in the first five games.
  • Marcell Dareus was a man among boys out there.  As a testament to how poor the rest of the front 3 or 4 played all game I saw Dareus consistently getting double and triple teamed and still wind up being the guy closest to Manning when he got off the pass.  Danny Batten particularly was invisible out there and I suspect he may lose playing time to Moats when Kelsay and Merriman are back in the lineup.
  • George Wilson was quiet after his coming out party last week.  Hope to see a big second half of the season from him.
  • Fred Jackson is a beast, plain and simple.  His 80 yard run may have been the slowest 80 yard touchdown that I have ever seen but you’ll rarely see a running back put a move on a DB chasing him down like Freddie did at the end of that run.  Jackson is known for such an unconventional running style and that summed it up right there.
  • While Jackson had the slowest 80 Yard Touchdown run ever, Naaman Roosevelt had the slowest 60 yards Touchdown catch and run ever.  Still congratulations to the kid for his first NFL TD.
  • C.J. Spiller played Wide Receiver all day yesterday and he actually looked like a receiver out there.  He ran good routes but I’d like to see them let him fly on a couple after the bye.  I see him staying on the outside predominantly until Donald Jones comes back from injury.
  • David Nelson was shut out in the first half but was a huge difference maker in the second half.  I think Chan Gailey will need to start designing more plays specifically to get the ball into Nelson’s hands.
  • Whither Scott Chandler?
  • The offensive line played galliantly despite injuries against a tough D-Line this week.  Hairston took on Osi Umenyiora all day and Levitre held his own when he had to switch over there.  Erik Pears’ play has been unoffensive but I’m wondering if you don’t look to get your two best offensive tackles on the field at the same time when they are both healthy and that would be Bell and Hairston.  I guess we’ll find out in a month when Hairston recovers from his injury.
  • Now onto Fitzpatrick, I think there was more good than bad to be honest.  This was definitely his toughest test to date with an attacking Giants defensive line.  He took a few bad sacks but he stood in there and made some throws.  He missed the same pass twice and it ultimately cost them the game.  He took the loss on his shoulders and rightfully so.  Gailey made the call that had a match-up he thought he could exploit and Stevie Johnson beat his man.  Fitzpatrick didn’t make the throws.  It will happen and you just have to elarn from it and move on.  We’ll see how Fitz bounces back in two weeks.
  • Regarding the play call on Fitzpatrick’s interception, I for one have no problem with it.  As I just said, Gailey saw a weakness and Stevie exploited.  Perfect execution gives you 7 points and Eli Manning with the pressure to score a TD in the final minutes.  You either play to win or play not to lose.  Dick Jauron played not to lose.  Yesterday in the Cowboys/Patriots game Jason Garrett played not to lose.  Chan Gailey played to win.  His quarterback didn’t execute and it goes in the loss column.  Maybe next time he does and it’s a win.

So there you have it, the Bills are 4-2 at the bye week and only a soft game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East.  It’s a surprise to most but at the same time a disappointment, with two losses on last second field goals in winnable games.  Even so, they are 4-2 with an opponent’s win % at .600, not bad to say the least.  The bye week comes at a great time for the Bills as they need many key contributors to heal up from their injuries.  The two weeks rest will do the team good until they head up to the Great White North for their annual excursion to Toronto for a “home game” against the Redskins.  But, hey, this team is 4-2 and the game is almost sold out so maybe we will see what the Toronto series was supposed to be when they made this deal in the first place.

Twitter @ErikVenskus