The Buffalo Bills lost another close one. They played well in defeat against a tough Bengals team. If this season is yet another rebuilding season, at least the games have been exciting. Keep in mind that this is a young team with a rookie QB and coach. Temper your expectations and you may be able to enjoy this season. If you have delusions of playoffs you will be very disappointed, once again. However it is Dolphins week, so let’s get behind Thad, Flynn, Tuel or whoever they put under center and Squish the Fish.
The Bills entered the game against the Bengals with their starting QB and #1 WR unable to play. While the offense was losing players, the defense was getting healthier as Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd were both back in action (albeit on a limited basis). You would have thought that to keep this game close, the defense would have had to turn in an awesome performance. The Bills did keep this one close, taking it to overtime despite the defense laying an egg at home in front of their fans.
The defense should be ashamed of itself as they were gashed for 483 total yards. The Bengals exploited the Bills run D early and it was the pass defense that suffered late. Mario Williams stated “They did something a little different from what was expected on our defensive side,” a sign that the Bills defense was not ready for this game despite having 10 days to prepare.
The offense was better than expected and Thad Lewis certainly did more than enough to win, completing 19 of 32 passes for 216 yards and 2 TDs. He also ran for 17 yards and another score. With Stevie Johnson out, rookie Robert Woods was outmatched as a #1 WR and was only able to catch 2 balls for 9 yards. T.J. Graham was forced into a starting role and did manage to catch 4 balls for 74 yards, including a 47 yarder. He also dropped a few that he should have caught. Marquise Goodwin’s return saw him catching a 40 yard TD pass.
This team still needs to learn to play 60 minutes on both sides of the ball if they want to win games. Most games in the NFL are decided by less than one score so no one should be taking a moral victory out of the fact that the Bills kept it close. They still lost a winnable game at home.
It is Miami week! If the Bills could only win 2 games all year, this would be one of the 2 that I would hope they would win. The rivalry does not have the luster as it once did when Kelly and Marino were battling it out for AFC East titles and Conference Championships but maybe Tannehill vs Manuel will develop into a competitive rivalry. Unfortunately that story will not be played out this week.
Manuel will miss at least a few more weeks and all signs point to Thad Lewis making his second consecutive start for the Bills. If Lewis can perform at the same level that he did against the Bengals, it could be a long day for the Dolphins 27th ranked pass defense.
The Bills run defense is once again bad, ranking 28th in the league; however Miami’s 29th ranked rushing offense does not pose much of a threat. If the Dolphins cannot get it going on the ground, Mario Williams and company will have a field day against an offensive line surrendering 5 sacks per game.
A reason for optimism as the Bills matchup very well against the Dolphins. The ‘phins record is much better than they are. Bills roll in South Florida 24 – 13.