Well, that was a pleasant game to watch, wasn't it? It's rare for us Bills fans as of late to just kick back and enjoy a stress-free thrashing of the opponent. It happened in week one vs the Chiefs and yet again this Sunday. This game was never in doubt and even if the Bills weren't perfect at all aspects of execution, it was more than enough vs a sad Redskins team. Great all around effort in our first victory in Toronto.
- Redskins win coin toss but go three and out. Bills do the same on their first possession, followed by another by Washington.
- Bills capitalize on 2nd shot at it, with a 20 yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to TE Scott Chandler. David Nelson had 32 yards receiving and Fred Jackson 23 rushing on drive.
- Despite some positive yardage, including a 23 yard completion from John Beck to Leonard Hankerson, the Bills stop the Redskins again.
- Fred Jackson runs twice for ten yards to end quarter.
The Bills 1st scoring drive highlighted the balanced attack with Nelson & Jackson leading the way before Chandler scored. The opponents' defense know to focus on Fred and Stevie by now and it's opened up avenues of opportunity for the other players. Undrafted or not, the skill level of our offense is deep.
Andy Levitre did a solid job for the whole game at LT. It's amazing how anyone put over there, be it Demetrius Bell, Chris Hairston, or Levitre, have all held their own. As I've said before, we did a lot of hand wringing in the preseason for pretty much nothing over the line. Speaking of preseason overreacting, remember when everyone jumped to conclusions when Levitre was subbed out of the lineup for Chad Rinehart briefly? Much ado about nothing. Andy has played effectively all year at guard and showed no issues vs Brian Orakpo Sunday. He had some solid blocks on outside runs by Fred and didn't crumble under the pressure in pass protection either. He may not have the greatest size and reach but he makes up for it by good positioning and aggressiveness.
Whether or not the Redskins had injuries, the defense started off the game in fine fashion with the initial three and outs. This was a battered group due to poor play the previous few weeks and after losing Kyle Williams and Shawne Merriman, so they needed something to spur them on confidence wise. It would only build throughout the game as they were able to hit Beck with relentless pressure and make some key interceptions. 9 sacks is terribly impressive no matter who you're playing against.
- Fitzpatrick starts quarter with 8 yard completion to Stevie Johnson, but on next snap bobbles snap from center and Orakpo recovers at Bills 31 when Jackson can't pick it up.
- Redskins get ball down to Bills 16, but 2 sacks in 3 plays (Barnett and Moats - 1/2 sack and Byrd 1), halt the drive. Graham Gano's 49 yard field goal attempt is then blocked by Spencer Johnson.
- Bills then move ball down to Washington 19 and add 3 to score with a 37 yard Rian Lindell field goal. Key play is 32 yard pass interference call on a bomb to C.J. Spiller.
- Another three and out for Redskins on next possession as Marcell Dareus records a third down sack.
- Bills move ball down to Redskins 8 yard line namely through the air with pass completions to Spiller (11), Johnson (10), Roosevelt (22). But on 3rd and goal, Fitzpatrick's pass is intercepted by former Bill London Fletcher.
- Redskins can't make anything out of turnover, though, as they have another 3 and out. Sp. Johnson has sack of Beck.
- Bills add to lead as half ends with Lindell 44 yard FG. Fred Jackson had a 46 yard catch and run on drive. Fitzpatrick was hurt on that same play when the wind was knocked out of him, but he returned after a time out.
More on the sacks. While the Bills were able to get a great push mostly with a 4 man rush, I did notice them dialing up more blitzes as a whole. They made getting to the quarterback a priority in the time off and certainly made it work. Kudos to George Edwards and Dave Wannstedt for creating opportunities for these guys and just letting them get at it. Maybe Arthur Moats' persona was blow way out of proportion based on a couple decent games last year and the whole "Don't Cross the Moats" moniker, but the guy can rush the QB plain and simple. Makes the Bills experiment of playing him at ILB a little dopey.
Speaking of dopey, it's kind of becoming clear that Dareus should have been playing DT the whole time. I hate when the Bills take players out of their natural spots just to fit a certain scheme. He was an absolute beast this week and showed why he was so admired coming out of college. Perhaps we keep him in the middle if and when Kyle comes back and go with more 4-3 looks? Not sure but with the quick burst Marcell showed up the middle time and again on Sunday, I don't think moving him back to the outside is a good idea at all.
And should we just completely convert Spiller to WR? Freddy continues to play like a league MVP at RB, so I don't think the carries are coming C.J.'s way any time soon. And one thing you forgot about #28 with all his juking and deking as a RB is how darned quick he is. He showed that on the long pass that caused pass interference and on the 11 yard reception later. He can be a burner, and I'd like to see some more long passes to him in the future to start stretching the defenses. Our offense has done a hell of a job with the mid range throws but down the line vs better defenses we'll need to take some shots vertically.
- On 1st possession of 2nd half, Bills add to lead with a 15 TD yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Chandler. Jackson dominated drive with 58 yards on the ground, including a 43 yarder.
- Next time with ball, Redskins convert a first down but are then backed up by penalty and negative plays, including sack by Chris Kelsay. Their punter had busy day.
- Bills and Redskins trade 3 and outs (Buf - 2 Wash - 1), and Washington ends quarter with ball on own 44 yard line. 17 yard completion from Beck to Terrence Austin helped move the chains.
Nice to see Chandler back in the groove with 2 TD's. He tied a Bills record with 6 TD's on the season Sunday, which once again speaks to the Bills futility in utilizing the TE. I think Antonio Gates had 6 in one game once! Being a little facetious there, but I might not be far from the truth. One humorous side note on Chandler. It cracked me up when he did the Toronto leap after his second Touchdown over that little wall and freaked the heck out of the guy on his laptop. One of the many reminders that they weren't playing at the Ralph!
Fred Jackson is pretty good, right?
Not a lot happening in this quarter point wise but the defense continued to be stout and not give an inch. One thing overlooked was that there was no running game at all for Washington. Granted the Skins were missing Tim Hightower, but Ryan Torain had some solid games on the ground last season so he wasn't exactly a no talent bum. The pass rush was absolutely fun to watch but stopping the run is vital as we progress closer to December.
- On 1st play of 4th quarter, Beck is intercepted by George Wilson, who returns ball 12 yards to 50.
- Jackson gains 39 total yards as Bills drive down to Washington 26 but Lindell misses 44 yard FG attempt as it hits upright.
- Beck intercepted again on next possession by Jairus Byrd on goal line. Bills start on own 37.
- Bills score for final time after the turnover with a 41 yard Lindell FG. Biggest play was 17 yard completion to Johnson.
- On Redskins final possession, Beck throws incomplete to Jabar Gaffney on 4th and 17. Fred Davis had 4 catches for 57 yards before Bills held firm. Dareus and Kirk Morrison recorded 2 more sacks, to officially bring the team total to 9.
- Bills kill clock with one kneeldown.
Like the final quarter in week 1, this was a nice "kick back in your recliner and chill" 15 minutes of football. The one thing yp really keep a lot of our interest was the hope of shutting out Mike Shanahan for the first time in his career. As Joe noted in this post , Mikey kind of used the Bills a few years back by feigning interest in being our coach to drive up his price in the bigger markets. Well, all the "second choice" Bills, their coach included, kicked his butt up there in TO. Shanahan's arrogance and ego of thinking he can get by with a such a terrible QB situation makes me dislike him even more. Give me humble and hard nosed Chan Gailey any day.
The interceptions were nice to see yet again, The Senator making plays on the ball as usual, and Byrd's athletic grab at the end zone was quite impressive. For a team that didn't take the ball away hardly at all last season, the ball hawking and awareness of the LB's and secondary of this Bills team is a terrific asset. Speaking of the secondary, Leodis McKelvin played a solid game (along with the rest of the CB's). I just wanted to mention it as I've bashed him several times in this weekly series and it's easy to just ignore certain players when they're invisible. For a corner that's a very good thing.
Did you guys hear that Troy Aikman doesn't like the Wildcat? Just wanted to pass that along.
- Fitz celebrated his new 59 million dollar contract by throwing the ball really well. He was accurate and had a nice zing to his passes. Although, right before his interception, I said, "Just don't throw an INT down here, Fitz." And of course he did. Ah, the gunslinger mentality. You got to take the bad with the good. Truly I love this guy and am glad he's the face of the franchise for the next several years.
- The Toronto crowd sounded a lot more alive for once. It's still not exactly a home game, but I'm sure part of the problem was the terrible Bills teams that were coming in to play there. The jury is still out on this whole experiment, and most true Bills fans can't stand it, but at least there was more energy and cheering for the boys in blue on Sunday.
- London Fletcher is a player and leader out there. I wouldn't say he was one of my favorite players when he was a Bill as I liked Takeo Spikes a lot better, and he had the whole stigma of having a lot of tackles a few yards down the line of scrimmage a la Poz, but he's a baller no denying. Wouldn't mind having him next to Barnett in the middle of our defense right now. Although I think Kelvin Sheppard does show a lot of promise and was glad to see him start.
- Tyler Thigpen getting bonked in the side of the helmet by the ball while warming up was priceless.
- The offensive line just allowed one sack while playing another great game and the Bills had only their first fumble of the year. Color me impressed as I am every week.
In what is quite clearly the biggest game at The Ralph in many years at this point in the season, the AFC East rival Jets come to town next week. If the Bills win, we're 6-2 and 2 games up on NY. If we lose, each team is tied in the division and NE probably goes back into first. The place is going to be loud and I'm pretty confident that a true Bills home field advantage will carry the day. I'm jazzed just thinking about it now. Go Bills!
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TEAMS: Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers
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