Many chairs in Western New York have arms it would seem, and a lot of quarterbacks are sitting in them right now. There are a plethora of disgruntled mafia members with a myriad of complaint points ready to fire away at anyone willing to listen. After the last-second loss in Week 7, they may well have more than a few legitimate grievances. Let’s take a look at four takeaways from a tough loss in Foxboro.
Where Do The Bills Go After Losing in Week 7?
The Defense, and its Holes, Have Been Exposed
Especially at the end of the game, the defense HAS to come up big. At the very least, they must bend but not break and force a field goal that could be missed. And, even if it’s made, you go into overtime and give the offense a chance. To give up a touchdown, after the offense had fought back in the fourth quarter and stole the lead away, was just backbreaking.
That last-second touchdown to Mike Gesicki was just head-scratching. Letting the tight end release clean and getting inside leverage dooms you every time. Travis Kelce makes a living off of it, and the Bills got killed by it. But the defense looked somnambulant all game long, sleepwalking through a game that they should have dominated against a 1-5 squad.
The sack-happy defensive line that had led the league in that category had a grand total of one sack Sunday. One. Mac Jones was only hit four times. Where was Von Miller? If you look, his name doesn’t appear on the stat sheet. New England’s 29 points? The most they’ve scored all season.
The Deep Ball Should Officially be Buried
At best, this play ended up as a push. Allen threw a pick on the first deep ball, which was the first play for the offense. That turnover was turned into seven points for the Patriots. Late in the game, Diggs scored on what was considered a deep ball, but Diggs really did the work, jumping back up and weaving his way to the endzone.
How many deep balls went incomplete? Nine. Even if four of those nine plays had been changed to short passes or runs, this game may have been different. The field goal attempt would have been closer and Tyler Bass slips it inside the upright; A drive continues and the Bills score points.
The Bills don’t need to be explosive, they need to be effective. Until the staff and players figure out how to make the deep pass a play worth running, it shouldn’t be called. Diggs, Knox, Davis: all were targeted. It’s just not working.
The Offense is Bill Murray and it’s Groundhog Day
The last three first halves for the Bills? Seven points, zero points, and three points. Yikes. Once again the ‘high octane’ touted Bills offense just couldn’t get into gear. It was difficult to watch. The blame cake is equally shared in this case. Josh Allen gets a piece. Ken Dorsey gets a piece. Dawson Knox, grab your fork. Stefon, yes, take a plate, son. Even McDermott gets a slice. No finger-pointing, just choke down the disappointment and then get to work. The offense needs fixing, not finger-pointing.
Fourth downs. Why did the Bills go for it on fourth and two in the third quarter? Because all of a sudden, the right leg of Tyler Bass is not money. That fourth and two call sent a message to the whole offense: We can’t trust the kicker.
Let’s hope Bass is just in a funk and not a mental block. It would have been a long field goal, but that never bothered the coaches before, even he is stuck in a loop and he seems to be seeing his shadow.
If There Are Silver Linings in These Clouds…
When the Bills went no-huddle, they looked different. With 7:38 left in the fourth, the Bills were down 12 points. 5:40 later, Buffalo had a three-point lead. There were brief rays of sunshine in the offense, like Kincaid looking reliable, James Cook showing potential, and the fourth-quarter determination that should have won the game.
The defense at times seemed to at least push back and forced field goals instead of allowing touchdowns, and the stop of the Patriots two-point conversion was big. Just like the offense, the problems that are being seen can also be corrected. In this case, it may take a trade that includes a player and a pick or two to get that spark that this defense desperately needs. No one would accuse the defense of playing without heart (the offense however…). It’s taking that passion and turning it into results that will determine the reason for this season.
The Sunday night game gave the Bills a little joy as Miami fell to Philidelphia. That said, everyone knows you take care of your own business and never let your fate be decided by outside forces. The division is still up for grabs.
What may have hurt the most with this loss was the fact that it was a division loss. Buffalo is already chasing Miami, and that division record is going to mean something come late December. The Bills cannot afford another division loss.
What was up with that field at Gillette Stadium? With all the complaining about artificial turf, the surface in Foxboro looked as scruffy and gray as Belichick’s hair. At times it made the game strange to watch. Conspiracy theorists would claim it was just another tactic to gain an unfair advantage. I’d give that claim a solid ‘maybe’.
The sky is not falling for the Buffalo Bills. But the annoying squawking chicken is getting louder and harder to ignore. This becomes a watershed moment in the 2023 Buffalo Bills season. Draw the line and stand firm. Fix the mistakes or wave as the promise of the postseason and the possibility of glory passes you by.
Oh yeah, and you’ve got another tough game in four days. It’s a turning point. Turn it around now before you pass the point of no return.
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