Found September 08, 2013 on
Queen City Sports:
New England Patriots
Fact: The Buffalo Bills have led the league in moral victories in the past decade.
Okay that’s not a fact, but my goodness you’d think the Bills were a perennial AFC powerhouse based on Twitter after the game. After Sunday’s heartbreaking, yet predictable, loss to the Patriots 23-21, everything was sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for some fans.
Following today’s loss I tweeted the following:
Personally I’m not encouraged by this game. We’ve seen #Bills teams lose close games to the Patriots a lot. I’m sick of moral victories.
Some instantly went on the attack. I received comments about how great E.J. Manuel looked, how BOTH running backs played well for the Bills, that the defense was much improved and how much different this year’s team is.
Let’s break this down one by one.
E.J. Manuel Looked “Great” Today
There were times when Manuel looked great, no doubt about it. His touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson? Absolutely unbelievable ball placement. It was a perfectly thrown ball. His touchdown pass to Robert Woods was also well thrown, although Woods had no one near him.
There were other pretty passes as well, including some that were dropped (See: Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson) but Manuel’s final stat line was very average: 18/27 150 yards and two touchdowns. Manuel added three rushes for 23 yards as well. Manuel’s completions went for an average of 8.3 yards. He was dinking and dunking the entire game. His longest pass of the day? A 19 yard completion to Chandler. He also had 18 yard passes go to Johnson and Woods. Take those numbers out of the equation and Manuel’s other 15 throws went for an average of 6.3 yards.
Manuel showed promise but had a few great throws, but his overall game wasn’t great.
BOTH Running Backs Played Well
I almost fell off my couch when I read this one. One running back played well and that was our backup Fred Jackson. Buffalo’s veteran back led the team in rushing (67 yards on 13 carries) and receiving (four receptions, 41 yards). The back known as “Fred-Ex” showed that he had plenty of gas left in the tank.
C.J. Spiller, the face of the franchise, was terrible. Spiller rushed the ball 17 times for 41 yards. That’s an average of 2.4 yards per carry. If you consider this as “playing well” then I guess you’ve really enjoyed the Bills for the last decade plus. Spiller’s five receptions for 14 yards didn’t exactly set the world on fire either.
Let’s not forget that fumble early in the game that led to New England’s first touchdown. Spiller wasn’t hit hit hard and the ball wasn’t torn out of his grasp. No, Spiller carried the ball loosely and had it get poked out from behind.
I fully expect Spiller to rebound next week against Carolina, but no one should be defending Spiller’s game against the Patriots.
The Defense Was Much Improved
If we’re talking about getting to the quarterback then I can’t argue that. Last season, the Bills defense played a lot like their defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, without a pulse. Buffalo certainly applied pressure at times, but overall Tom Brady picked apart the Bills with a very limited supporting cast.
Brady didn’t throw for 300 yards and he didn’t put thirty points up on the scoreboard, but he did enough to win.
Shane Vereen, technically the Patriots’ backup running back, had 101 yards on 14 carries.
Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman helped convert multiple third down conversions. Together the duo had 17 receptions for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Buffalo knew who Tom Brady was targeting, and the defense couldn’t stop it when it mattered most.
The Patriots converted 11-of-20 third down conversions. It’s the same problem the Bills have always had against Brady.
What about the interception and fumble recoveries though? Turnovers are turnovers, but Brady’s interception was a great throw to Zach Sudfield. The undrafted rookie free agent had the ball bounce off of his hands right into Justin Rogers’ hands. The two fumbles? One occurred where Ridley slipped and just let go of the ball. Great awareness by Da’Norris Searcy to pick the ball up and score the touchdown, but it’s not as though Buffalo actually forced that fumble.
The second fumble occurred after Brady mishandled a snap. Great job by Kiko Alonso to recover the ball, but again the Bills benefited from a Patriots gaffe.
This Year’s Team Looks Different
It’s too early to tell that at this point. Trust me, I want nothing more than the Bills to win and be a contender, but I need to see it first.
Against the Patriots, the Bills were undisciplined. The team finished with 10 penalties, many of which happened at inopportune times.
Stevie Johnson talked a big game leading up to the game, but who had a backbreaking drop in the 4th quarter? That would be Stevie Johnson of course. Why so serious? It’s simple, I’m tired of seeing the Bills lose.
Buffalo’s next matchup is against the Carolina Panthers, a team that lost a close 12-7 game to the Seattle Seahawks. If Buffalo wants to show that it’s a different team, they’ll find a way to leave Ralph Wilson Stadium with a win.
Move to 1-1 and then I’ll find something to be encouraged about.
The post The Buffalo Bills Lose But Apparently That’s Okay appeared first on Queen City Sports.
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