September 12, 2012 Leave a comment
After an off-season of hope this one was a bitter pill for Bills fans to swallow. The Bills were coming in with a wave of momentum and the Jets looked to be a mess on and off the field. he Jets came to play and they shocked the Bills early, going up by 21 points in the 1st quarter en route to a 48-28 opening day win. To many in Buffalo the bubble seems to have burst already. Maybe they aren’t who we thought they were but the truth is that they have a heel of a lot of time to make up for it. Here are some individual thoughts on the game:
Regarding CJ Spiller, the lone bright spot for the Bills. It looks as if CJ has finally figured out the tempo of the pro game. If he continues to progress and improve as he has he could truly be an elite offensive weapon. Earlier in his career Spiller was doing too much dancing and spending too much time finding the hole. Spiller is shifty and quick. Once he finds a hole he has to attack it. That’s exactly what he’s started to do. Between last week’s performance in relief of Fred Jackson and the last 5 games he started last year for the injured Jackson he is averaging just a hair under 7 yards a carry. That’s a huge number for an NFL running back. Spiller stills ahs some growing up to do but the Bills can win without Fred Jackson if they have to, provided other things go right. Spiller will not be the problem.
- Where is the new and improved defense? Dave Wannstedt was hired to fix the Bills defense. Clearly the Jets had an effective offensive game plan. Use quick drops before the 4-man front can get to you and take advantage on the Bills young CBs who were playing 5-6 yards off of the receivers. So where were the adjustments. Despite Sanchez getting rid off the ball too quickly for the 4-man front to get to him the Bills brought extra guys only 4 times the entire game. Stephon Gilmore has a reputation for being a physical corner yet he was giving the Jets receivers a cushion. When you hire a coach with Super Bowl winning experience you except Super Bowl caliber coaching. Wannstedt needs to bounce back this week against the Chiefs.
Give credit where it’s due. Mark Sanchez was ridiculed since the day the Jets acquired Tim Tebow. He had a lot to prove. The entire team did but Sanchez in particular. And he put his money where his mouth is. He shook off a very bad INT on the opening drive and played a great game. He spread the ball around and threw the ball confidently. For weeks we heard about a QB controversy leading up to week 1. Entering week 2 there is no quarterback controversy. This is Mark Sanchez’s team (for now). The Jets locker room has become a happy place (for now).
- Fitzpatrick was Jekyll on Sunday. He still has the potential to be Hyde. There is no way to mince words. Ryan Fitzpatrick single-handedly put the Bills in a deep, early hole in the 1st quarter with two bad passes. Then, while they still had a chance to come back in the 2nd half, Fitzpatrick gave up a pick-6 on the 1st drive. He’s had bad days like this in the past. Sometimes he’s bounced back, sometimes he hasn’t. Losing David Nelson is a big blow but Donald Jones seems ready to step up and rookie T.J. Graham will get some important time early. I said this last year but the Bills should really work tight end Scott Chandler more into the offensive game plan. He’s a tremendous mismatch for most linebackers and safeties with his 6-7 frame. And he catches pretty much everything.
- The Bills offensive line is a good unit. I know what that says about Fitzpatrick’s day but the truth is that Fitzpatrick’s mistakes weren’t because he had people in his face all game. They opened up huge holes for C.J. Spiller. The middle of the line is stout with center Eric Wood and guard Andy Levitre. Rookie Cordy Glenn held his own at left tackle.
- Football isn’t everything. Marcell Dareus had a bad day on Saturday in the Meadowlands but it pales in comparison to what him and his family are dealing with now. On Sunday Marcell’s brother Simeon Gilmore was shot and killed in his native Alabama. Gilmore was 20. Obviously football seems very small in light of the tragedy and while Marcell is a big part of the Bills team I hope that he takes all the time that he needs to deal with this tragedy. Condolences to the family of Simeon Gilmore.
The Bills open the home docket of their schedule this Sunday in Buffalo against the Chiefs.