Monday, October 14, 2013

Bungals 27 Bills 24 - Coast's Reaction

Thaddeus Lewis threw 2 touchdown passes and rushed for another. He threw for 212 yards and did not throw an interception. His QB rating was over 100. He completed a deep ball to Graham AND Goodwin (for a TD). If you would have told me Saturday that all of this would have happened, I would have given the Bills a 95% chance of winning. The other 5% was the Bills defense just completely laying an egg.

Unfortunately, the Bills D didn't show up until the 4th quarter. Prior to that, they were a complete disaster. Andy Dalton threw for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns. Sounds like a great day...but I disagree, Andy Dalton is average at best. The Bills defense played like it had never seen a screen pass before. AJ Green had a 54 yard reception on a WR screen. Marvin Jones had a 42 yard reception on a WR screen (and a 34 yard run on a reverse). Gio Bernard had a 23 yard reception on a swing pass and another 20 yard reception for a TD on a shovel pass. You add all of that up and you get 139 yards on 4 passes that traveled a combined 5 yards from scrimmage in the air. The remainder of Dalton's 22 completions were for less than 200 yards combined. The Bills also could not stop the run. They allowed 165 yards rushing. Benjarvis Green-Ellis averaged 4.8 YPC which is 1.9 YPC more than his season average up until this game. In all, the Bengals had 483 yards of offense and kept the ball for 42 minutes, compared to 25 for the Bills. I will give the Bills some (very little) credit for stiffening in the 4th quarter, but at the same time, they were going up against Marvin Lewis who tries to lose whenever possible & they were due for at least one stop after going three quarters without even forcing a punt.

So why did the defense suck so bad? Some may blame Byrd and Gilmore for impacting the "chemistry". That is garbage...if you can get pro bowl caliber players back, you take them. I do question Gilmore's effectiveness though playing with just one hand. Did that contribute to the long WR screen plays? I know he was out there for at least one & the play was thrown towards his side of the field. It was just a poor performance by a defense that had high expectations from me coming in...very disappointing. I will say, although not really jumping off the screen yesterday, Kiko Alonso had 22 tackles. He seems to constantly be around the ball (he did get burnt on a Andy Dalton scramble though for a first down).

On offense, the Bills scored 24 points with a guy that was on the practice squad 9 days prior at quarterback. CJ Spiller was obviously not 100%. Steve Johnson didn't play. They were going up against a very good defense. All in all, they did their job. The worst moment of the game for the offense was the goal line stand. 1st and goal from the right, run right, run right, play action pass. Not once did they QB sneak (2nd and 3rd down were from the 1). Not once did the spread it out. They ran the play action on 4th down, not 2nd or 3rd. It was a horrendous job by Nate Hackett...just absolutely terrible. To make matters worse, the Bengals marched 98 yards for a touchdown after that stop. I do 1000% completely agree with Marrone to go for it there. You go for it 100% of the time from the 1 yard line in that situation.

Lewis did well throwing the deep ball, no question about it. That being said, I cannot wait for EJ Manuel to get healthy. Lewis was not accurate on the short/intermediate passes. I have never played quarterback, but I would imagine the deep ball is the least risky/easiest pass to make. You see man coverage, and just throw it up. If it is caught, great. If it is incomplete, fine. If it is intercepted then you defend it by saying you gave your guy a chance. Lewis did not show me that he could read a defense and complete 10-20 yard passes in the middle of the field into tight windows. Teams had no film on Lewis. I am nervous after a few games, teams will figure him out, take away the deep ball, and he could then struggle.

The officiating was horrible. The missed PI call on the Goodwin deep pass was incredible. He was basically horse collared by Pac Man Jones & they didn't call it. The penalty on Kyle Williams for unsportsmanlike conduct was terrible. Calling Moorman's first punt a touchback was embarrassing. The ref was literally right next to the ball. It was clear it landed out of bounds yet he somehow still called it a touchdown. I know they got the call right, but the fact he missed it was brutal.

The punt coverage sucked. Easley whiffed on the tackle on the final long punt return setting up the game winning field goal. The punt coverage killed them in Cleveland. New punter (who did punt better than Powell) but same result. Punt team killed them.

Finally, I will cave in and agree with some people who killed the Bills front office/coaching staff for the Tuel situation. Thad Lewis proved on one drive he was better than Tuel. He was definitely good enough to win the Browns game for the Bills as all they needed was one play. Now Matt Flynn is getting worked out presumably to replace Jeff Tuel. If Jeff Tuel was so good that they didn't want to lose him, why are they completely giving up on him after one half of play. The more I think about it now after yesterday's performance, the more maddening it is. I gave them the benefit of the doubt until yesterday, but Lewis' performance proved he is substantially better than Tuel.

The Bills are now 2-4. The season is probably over. They will be without Manuel for another 3 games at least, all against good teams. The fact that they brought Flynn in for a workout can mean one of two things. First, it could mean Tuel might be history. Second, it could mean Manuel is going to be out much longer than we hope. Let's hope it is the former.

Next week is a must win...not for the playoffs, but for keeping things at least somewhat interesting for another week. Plus I hate the Dolphins. Go Bills.

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