Immediate Reactions: Vikings 38, Bills 14

(WECK 1230) — Bad teams that work hard earn themselves emotional capital with the fans, something they don’t always spend.

The Bills used a lot of those reserves on Sunday in Minnesota.

Buffalo’s defense bend and broke, its offensive line was pitiful and if there is such a thing as Fitzmagic we’re in a period of the film where the warlocks have the wizard chained up. Let’s put this 24-point road loss to bed as quickly as possible.

Mic’d up: “Holy moly, again??!?! Already?!!??”

On to the game…

– This was the offensive line’s worst game in a very long time, and Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t do them any favors early on. He’s not exactly “take a sack” guy, and even if he was it wouldn’t have been prudent to take sacks on play after play after play after play. Demetrius Bell has improved this year, but Jared Allen made him look like cement shoes with lead laces were a bad choice.

– CBS’ broadcasting team did not have a good day. Solomon Wilcots may think Fitz is the Bills quarterback of the future, but I’m not sure that should make anyone comfortable. Kevin Harlan, who I normally don’t have a problem with, conducted this broadcast if he made a bet he could call an entire game pretending to not understand the sport of football.

“Rising star Paul Posluszny” was a beaut (London Fletcher constantly found himself in the league top tacklers list as well), but the best was not acknowledging that while Donte Whitner was touched while making his interception, the refs could also be reviewing whether the ball touched the ground. As the review wore on, it felt comical hearing them discuss how “to me, it seems he was definitely touched.” Yes, to you and everyone with functioning eyeballs.

– About Posluszny, what do we make of him? He’s been healthy all year and made a bunch of tackles, but he’s also too slow to be a feature linebacker. Do we accept that he can be the weaker of two middle linebackers on an average defense? Too many times we’ve seen him make the right read on a play but be too slow to catch the runner.

– Leodis McKelvin, what the heck? We know you can’t catch the football when it’s thrown by the other team’s quarterback, but can you start treating returns with a modicum of common sense? I’m not even talking about running into Arthur Moats in overtime last week… I just want you to stop fumbling. Thank you.

– Speaking of Moats, I think this may qualify as a “hit” for Buddy Nix (and you know I don’t say that often). He’s got a bit of nasty in him as we saw in his finishing the sack of Ben Roethlisberger for about two hours last week, but he’s also transitioning from a college defensive end to linebacker. Over the last two weeks, it seems he’s really starting to make plays.

Moats is miles away from being a stud, but three or four times this week he made bonafide Joey Porter plays (though admittedly I think he’s a step slower than Porter or Tavaris Jackson is the fastest man on Earth). He also may have ended Brett Favre’s career. Don’t cross the Moats, Wrangler man.

– I wonder what the record is for most rookie undrafted free agent receivers with a touchdown in a given season is after David Nelson joined Donald Jones in UFAs to corral a score from Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2010. If it’s three or less, they may as well aim at Naaman Roosevelt for the rest of the year just to write a record.

– Speaking of Roosevelt, he had a big hit on special teams… the kind of hit that shows he played offense for most of his life. His helmet-first hit on a kickoff will make highlight reels because there was no flag thrown, but I feel great that the UB grad contributed on the NFL level. This happens the same day James Starks makes his NFL debut by gaining 73 yards on his first 18 carries for Green Bay. Get ready for a Buffalo kid to be talked about on national shows as a new surprise key to the Packers’ attempt at an NFC title.

– C.J. Spiller has had a pretty good game… if you count all of his carries this season as one contest. Spiller now has 48 carries for 199 yards to go with 20 receptions for 182 yards a score in 10 games. His talent superiority to bulldog Fred Jackson was on display today and only served notice that Chan Gailey is not going to waste the team’s wager on Spiller as an every down back on a poor team. Spiller may be a real two in a 1-2 punch next year before becoming the one come 2012.

– You know what’s funny about Fitz’s tough day? One could argue it was barely inferior to Minnesota slinger Tavaris Jackson. Fitz turned the ball over thrice, but so did Jackson, and Minnesota’s wide receivers and running backs bailed out their man far more often than the Bills helped No. 14. Fitzpatrick didn’t do much good today, but neither did the majority of his teammates.

–The Andy Levitre snap off his middle ground to Fitz’s hands to the turf at the one-yard-line was the opposite of fun.

– If that was Adrian Peterson at 65-70%… what does 100% AP do to this Bills run defense? NFL record numbers? Guy runs like he’s ticked off at the world and the only thing that will make him happy is smashing things and getting touchdowns. In other words, he’s the Hulk.

– Someone on the Vikings staff should talk Favre into retiring this week and saying it’s to “allow Leslie Frazier to see what he has in Jackson.” He won’t, but it would be cool and his first good PR move in a long, long time.

– The Stamp showed up late to make three grabs for 72 yards. Lee is really fast and here’s hoping next year brings him big numbers as he hopefully goes 100 percent.

– Good to see Stevie Johnson make a big play, though the nerves of coming back from last week’s gaffes probably lead to his first drop. I expect good things next week at home, and a nice cheer from the Ralph Wilson Stadium crowd.

This week’s cut…

Quinton Ganther, who tackled the punter… illegally…. 40 yards after the line of scrimmage. Congrats.

Stat line I liked…

The secondary, four interceptions

– I’m not saying I liked the secondary, as Jairus Byrd is either playing hurt or without the gumption to take risks to make picks, but when all was said and done the Bills gave the ball away five times and still managed to only be a minus-1 in the turnover battle.

Stat line I didn’t like…

Bills offense, 3-12 on third down

– No, this figure isn’t Edwardsian in futility, but it’s still subpar. Fitz even tossed in a quick checkdown four-yard pass on a 3rd-and-8 for good measure. Ugh.

Lastly…

No magic = no win.

Next week…

Home to a Cleveland team that has won four of six and boasts wins against New Orleans and New England, but also Miami, Cincy and Carolina. I’d look for this to be a pretty solid contest, but Jake Delhomme didn’t throw an interception in Sunday’s win over Miami. In his other three games for the Browns, he’s thrown two interceptions in each. The Browns completed 10 passes to tight end Ben Watson and saw an off-day from running back Peyton Hillis in the win. I’d look for the Browns and Bills to take this right down to the final drive… with the Bills winning 25-24.

Email: nickonweck@gmail.com

6 Responses to Immediate Reactions: Vikings 38, Bills 14

  1. Olga Tennis says:

    Demetrius Bell. This puts an end to the “He’s good now! He hasn’t allowed a sack!” poppycock. He’s improved a lot, but still, the Bills desperately need to obtain real OTs.

    Posluszny. His athleticism and speed are the least of his problems. He continually is undisciplined on the run, and struggles in coverage. He’s a good tackler, speedy, and plays with a “high motor”. But, the Bills are forced to play him at Mike LB, which places enormous responsibility on him, and Paul just is not good enough for that.

    McKelvin. He had a rough game, and showed the lack of awareness and intelligence he has. But, he’s a great physical talent. Guy can cover anyone, he just needs to play smarter. Also, he needs to never return again. Rule #1 of returning, you must be secure with the ball.

    Moats. I cannot disagree more. He routinely gets blown off the line on the run. His only skill is decent pass rushing and special teams effort. He’s cut fodder on teams that aren’t braindead with defensive personnel.

    Roosevelt. Great mention on his tackle. That was too similar to Eric LeGrand. Please coach him up, Bruce.

    Seeing Ganther play steams my buttons. He can’t block, and that incredibly undisciplined play. This team lost Joique Bell for no reason. Yell at me again, Intern boy.

    No Lions or Bengals = No win. The Bills are bad at football. Fitzmagic is not of the 50th percentile of starting NFL QBs.

  2. Brian The Intern says:

    Olga Tennis. I actually agree with most of what you say today, for once. Except for a few things.

    For example, thank you for recognizing what we all know in that the Bills are not exactly good at football. They are 2-10. Bad. They aren’t “better/worse than how they played against said opponent.” Two wins. Ten losses. Bad.

    Arthur Moats. Why must you crap all over one of the few bright spots on defense today. Sure, the defense as a whole was horrendous. Moats was arguably as bad as any player against the run, but at least he was disruptive in the backfield on some pass plays. Not to mention knocking out Favre. For a sixth round pick who converted from defensive end, he has played fairly well. I’d go so far as to say he’s the best JMU alumni to wear a Bills jersey since Scott Norwood. Cut fodder? Please. Quit being such a Negative Nancy.

    Speaking of “cut fodder”, your husband Joique Bell has been waived twice since September. He hasn’t been active for one game this season. I’m not defending Quinton Ganther, that was a bonehead play. I just refuse to get worked up over our 4th string running back. If you wanna complain about braindead personnel, talk about Aaron Maybin. I bet you were crushed when the Buccaneers claimed Lionel Gates from us in 2006… but I digress.

    By the way, no love for Drayton Florence today? 2 INT and a TD. Maybe that’s why Tarvaris Jackson only looked to Sidney Rice and Leodis McKelvin the rest of the game? Maybe. I just feel he had a strong game worth mentioning.

    Go Bills.

  3. Olga Tennis says:

    Once Moats is out of Buffalo in ~2 years, I guarantee he’s never on another roster. Playing scrubs like him is why the Bills have the absolute worst run defense in football. He does not get a gold star from me for knocking out Favre.

    Joique being picked up by 2 teams is quite impressive, actually. It represents that he’s a better option than whoever these teams have on their practice squads. And, no, Lionel Gates stunk. Dwayne Wright stunk. Ken Simonton stunk. Don’t give me that sass, boy. Bell has value because he’s a fine blocker with hard running ability. Now just teach him to play ST.

    Maybin is a major part of the braindead personnel that is allowing Arthur Moats to get playing time in the NFL. A Buddy Nix selection, btw.

  4. Olga Tennis says:

    Also, I must comment that Solomon Wilcots is the currently the worst announcer in sports. Well, maybe behind Harry Neale. In addition to that Fitzmagic comment, he said that Chris Kelsay was so good at rushing the passer and didn’t even pause or chuckle. It’s like he copied a few lines of notes from Chris Brown and says them in the most robotic voice possible. And what’s with those damn ’88 Bengals being all over TV and football these days. Screw them. The Bills should have had home field!

  5. Usher says:

    A little late but every I hope the Bills pick up some western new yorkers in the draft, probably a dumb draft philosophy but I always pull for it. Imagine if they did pick up Rob Gronkowski, Mike Williams and James Starks, all players they had a shot at. I thought Moats was great in the preseason, seemed like he was always forcing fumbles and I’ve been wondering what’s been taking him so long to get his chance.