This week’s Water Cooler features QCS writers Mike Bundt, Ryan Talbot, Brandon Hess and Robert Quinn
Mike Bundt: What’s up everybody! It’s nice to have close to the full crew back so let’s dive right into things.
The Bills beat up on a very poor Jaguars squad on Sunday. What stood out to you guys from the contest?
Brandon Hess: What stood out most is how the Bills have become the definition of a mediocre team. They are leaps and bounds better than the dregs of the league like Jacksonville, and yet are not even in the same stratosphere as the league’s elite teams. I can’t say I was overly impressed by any of the individual performances because it’s simply not impressive to show up against Jacksonville, it’s just doing your job.
Ryan Talbot: The defense. Over the last three weeks the defense has given up 30 total points. The Dolphins, Colts, and Jaguars aren’t offensively explosive, but it’s still very impressive!
Mike Bundt: Moving on to some Mario Williams discussion. His play and the play of the Bills defense has really stepped up since he had an operation on his wrist during the Bills bye week. Is he finally playing like you guys expected him to and is he the reason Buffalo’s defense has improved?
Robert Quinn: This is definitely the Mario Williams all Bills fans expected when the franchise signed him to the lucrative $96 million deal at the commencement of the free agency period. He now has 9.5 sacks on the year, needing just .5 more so match Aaron Schobel’s total from 2009, and could easily hit the 13 sack mark if he continues his dominant play. I am also really impressed with his ability against the run, which I wasn’t expecting.
Brandon Hess: Mario Williams has seemed to finally have turned a corner and is putting in the 60 minute efforts that I expected to see from him. While the sack totals are beginning to pile up with a double-digit sack season likely, it’s still difficult for me to say he’s earning his contract. The money he is getting paid is the kind of money you pay game changing players like Clay Matthews or JJ Watt, Mario is simply too one dimensional to be put in that category.
Mike Bundt: Chan Gailey finally relied on the Bills running game Sunday instead of focusing on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Was this a one-week thing or can we continue to expect the Bills to use a heavy running attack into the future?
Robert Quinn: Sadly, I believe it will just be a one week thing. The weather didn’t call for 35 pass attempts, and Chan Gailey even stated that it was easier to run the ball when your team is winning, and let’s face it, the Bills aren’t usually ahead in ball games. I’d really like to see a bigger focus on the run game, given the productivity of our two running backs, but Gailey is a pass-first coach.
Ryan Talbot: I’d like to think the team would depend more on the run, but the weather was his excuse this week. Hopefully the weather is awful for all of our home games so we have to rely on the run!
Mike Bundt: The Rams come into Buffalo at 5-6-1, having just beaten the San Francisco 49ers in overtime. How much of a challenge will they present the Bills on Sunday?
Robert Quinn: The Rams will present a big challenge to the Bills. They have the potential for a strong run game, despite Steven Jackson’s inconsistent play throughout the year. Wideout Danny Amendola is a Wes Welker like receiver, and could be a huge mismatch against our linebackers. On defense they have a really strong front four in Quinn, Brockers, Langford, and Long, and they can get to the quarterback. They also have a pretty good secondary and two standout cornerbacks in Cortland Finnegan and rookie Janoris Jenkins, who has three defensive touchdowns in the past two weeks.
Brandon Hess: The Rams are a much-improved squad under Jeff Fisher, but this week’s match-up is out of their comfort zone. St. Louis is 1-4 on the road, 1-6 outside of their division, and 0-3 against the AFC East. Those numbers are certainly in Buffalo’s favor, but the Bills must be wary of the Rams pass rush which is tied with the Green Bay Packers for the most sacks in the NFC (34).
Mike Bundt: Taking on a mediocre dome team at home in December, the Bills will win as long as they ______________.
Ryan Talbot: Feature the running game and limit Ryan Fitzpatrick’s throws per game!
Brandon Hess: The Bills will win as long as they continue to lean heavily on the rushing attack, keep Fitzpatrick upright, and slow down Steven Jackson.
Mike Bundt: That does it for another edition of the QCS Water Cooler. Come back again next week where we’ll recap the Rams game as well as preview the Seahawks/Bills game in Toronto. Until then, remember to continue checking out queencitysports.net for your latest Buffalo sports news.
Feature photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images
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