This is my first season of watching the Bills without game day writing duties in close to a decade, so I’m going to try something new: little to no social media during games. While in many ways this could hamper me, I expect it will allow me to avoid narratives and going with the crowd. Here goes nothing…
It’s easy to be flustered, even exasperated, by the Bills’ 13-7 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.
There are so many little things that can gnaw away at any optimism you might have, but the big picture stuff hasn’t necessarily embedded itself in the result.
- The slow start when your offensive genius coordinator and newly-extended quarterback had an entire season to plan for the 19th-ranked defense in last season’s NFL, and one that would be without Elvis Dumervil, is a genuine cause for deflation.
- That said, Taylor didn’t miss too many passes when his line gave him some time to operate. He needs to find a way to produce more out of nothing, but the Bills could’ve easily been blanked without his “escapability”.
- Richie Incognito had a very, very poor day. For a guard who may’ve been as effective as any Bill at his respective position last season, he was not too professional on Sunday.
- Sammy Watkins’ second-half drop of a Taylor bullet through traffic. Watkins is a freak show, but that’s a catch you’d love to see your No. 1 come down with 8 times out of 10. Pretty big letdown.
- LeSean McCoy’s failure to pick up a missed Incognito block on the third-down designed quarterback run left was abysmal.
- Solomon Wilcots had one of the least effective games I’ve seen from an analyst, and that’s saying something. I wonder what his game prep is… playing Madden? Electronic football? Watching “Little Giants?”
- The Bills have to make Charles Clay more of a priority. It’s easy to say on a day where the line didn’t do much to give its QB time to operate, but Buffalo did allow Taylor to work the middle of the field more than last year. His three targets were behind Sammy Watkins (fine), Robert Woods (meh), and LeSean McCoy (it happens). Your well-paid, fancy tight end should be a bigger part of that.
- I have major concerns beyond Woods at wide receiver. I have little understanding for the Greg Salas roster spot — 27 of his 46 career catches came in 2011.
- Unsure whether blame can be assigned for this, but Shareece Wright looked like the second coming of Antoine Winfield out there. His 11 tackles, all solo, are three more than he’s made in a game. He’s 29.
- Missed field goals are not fun.
- Neither is world class inconsistent refereeing.
- The Bills defense was fairly strong despite the absence of Marcell Dareus. Four sacks and two further tackles for loss works for me. Jerry Hughes was decent until his missed tackle on the final Ravens’ drive, though I’d like to see his late hit on Joe Flacco to see the buzz — thanks for nothing, TV.
- Ronald Darby wasn’t perfect, but seven solo tackles to go with his passes defensed account for a fine start to the season. I know both Spero Dedes and Wilcots wanted to see him corral an acrobatic interception on a bullet after he was turned around, but that would’ve been a play of the week (not a given).
- Good to see ageless Kyle Williams back and effective on the line. Wall of Fame material, to be sure.
Not an inspiring start, but also no time to panic. The 0-1 Jets come to Orchard Park on Thursday with a chance to banish one AFC East team to an 0-2 start with an 0-2 conference and 0-1 division record.