— First: Ryan Fitzpatrick. If you’re looking for me to barbecue the non-franchise quarterback after he nearly overcame the world of slop that was his defense and early offensive line play, look elsewhere. You have to hate the interception at the end of the game, but I cannot commit to blaming the quarterback on a throw to a project wide receiver who was seemingly blamed by the color analyst before taking the blame himself.
“They were playing Cover Two, deep half safety. I thought I’d be able to get TJ and wasn’t able to get him,” Fitz said.
Here’s what Graham said, “That was a rookie mistake. I was supposed to cross his face in the front. It was a good pass.”
I don’t expect Fitz to take the blame and even if it’s the fault of Graham, Fitz chose to throw it to the rookie. Still over the past three games — where the Bills have allowed 35, 21 and 37 points — he is 79-of-113 for 801 yds with 5 TD, 2 INT and two fumbles. Try telling me that shouldn’t have at least a ‘W’ on an NFL playoff team (team being the key word). Buffalo should be 4-5 at worst right now and I’m not putting it on No. 14. Not a chance. Four times this year the Bills have scored 28 points or more and lost. Weak sauce.
— Who am I putting it on? Well, despite a historically bad group of linebackers and some horrendous secondary play, I’m going with Chan Gailey. His personnel choices are flat-out mind-boggling. I appreciate Fred Jackson, but right now C.J. Spiller is one of the best, if not the best, non-quarterbacks in the NFL. His understanding of the game and what plays are designed to do has advanced to the status of star.
Yet Gailey consistently gives Fred Jackson the ball more often. Maybe Ralph Wilson has dictated that “restructuring that deal better be worth it”, but 16 carries to nine when the average per-attempt is 5.0 for Jackson and 7.8 for Spiller is just embarrassing. Jackson is not Marshall Faulk and Spiller is not Justin Watson. Jackson is not Willis McGahee to Ray Rice. This is Spiller as a bonafide No. 1 talent and Jackson as an unfortunate 1a. Sorry, but seven more carries is nuts.
Then you take into account how often they pass in “and-goal” situations. The NFL has made moves in that direction and yes, the Bills were 3-for-3 in “and-goal” spots, but why risk it? Well, maybe because Jackson fumbled twice (including the second being on a head shot). He’s fumbled four times and lost three of them this season. All of that brings you back to Jackson getting more carries than Spiller. It makes little sense.
— Somebody page Mario Williams, mostly absent in another big spot. For the most part I cannot get behind a rip on the defensive line, especially Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams. The Buffalo Bills linebacking corps is one of the worst in the history of the franchise.
— Not much to say on the Pats, but looking forward to hearing Tom Brady called a fiery leader for yelling at Julian Edelman, as opposed to Jay Cutler being a horrible teammate for doing the same thing.
Stat line I liked…
Scott Chandler, 8 catches, 65 yards, TD
— He’s had his share of drops, but Scott forking Chandler (30 catches, 350 yards, 5 TDs) should probably be an All-Pro this year.
Stat line I didn’t like…
Bills, 14 penalties, 148 yards given away
– A couple of the offensive holding and defensive secondary penalties were borderline ridiculous, but when the calls amount to 14 and 148 yards you cannot ignore that the referees and the Bills produced more yards on the ground than the Patriots.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, 27-of-40 for 337 yards, 2 TD, INT, fumble lost
– The Bills set a franchise record for first downs with 35.
– UB’s on a two-game winning streak and is 3-7 with games at lowly UMass and solid Bowling Green to go. The Bills are 3-6 and their next three are home Miami, at Indy, home Jacksonville. Honest question, who has the better record after both have played 12?
– Miami at home in four days. Honestly, the Bills should throttle the Dolphins on a short week at home but who can count on this Buffalo defense to do anything?