The Buffalo Bills were eliminated from playoff contention after a disappointing 26-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The loss to Oakland Sunday is a painful one because was a bit of a long shot for this team to make it, but to even be in the hunt in December is a great sign for the future. As a Bills fan if there’s one thing you can do, it’s learn to take the little victories. So while they’ll no longer be playing for the post season there is still plenty I want to see from this team in the last game and I’ll still be grading them the same way I did all season.
Beginning with the offense, it was once again a struggle to watch that unit. I’m not sure if the team overlooked the two-win Raiders, but Kyle Orton struggled mightily after an early highlight-reel TD catch by Sammy Watkins. Orton threw an interception and lead the Bills on five consecutive three-and-outs. Although a strong drive right before halftime, which ended in a FG, along with the strong play of the defense, had the Bills down just 3 the offense just wasn’t able to do enough.
This week it isn’t on Orton as much as some other weeks though. The run game was abysmal. 13 yards on 13 carries, that’s it. I know Fred Jackson had a career day catching it, but we could have used some better between the tackles running. Seldom will you win a game in the NFL with a split like that. That’s why despite the two fourth quarter touchdowns that made it seem like a closer game than it was watching it, I’m grading the offense at a C-. The pass yards were impressive at over 300, but the turnovers and lack of points are again flaws the team couldn’t overcome for a victory.
On the defensive side of the ball, things went south for the Bills when Marcell Dareus left with a leg injury in the second quarter and got even worse when Stephon Gilmore left to be evaluated for a concussion. It just wasn’t the same Bills defense without those key cogs as Derek Carr was able to do something Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers couldn’t… throw a TD pass.
They also gave up more rushing and passing yards than they did against either of those QBs high-powered offensive juggernaut of teams, in the Broncos and Packers. With the offense often going three and out and failing to control the clock it made the defense be on the field too long. Those the only excuses I’ll give them though. They just didn’t play as well as they needed to either and grade out as a C-. They didn’t give up a ton of points but they didn’t get sacks or turnovers at the rate they needed to..
Samuelson Slant Grade: C-
Not a great showing for the team in a must-win. Bills eliminated from playoffs is not the headline I thought I’d be writing and C- not the grade I hoped to give, but as we’ve all gotten to used to saying, there’s always next year. We can still prove we belong by beating the Pats!