The Bills got bullied Sunday by the best team in football. The effort was good but I think the discrepancy between where Baltimore is in it’s roster development and where the Bills are, especially on offense, was exposed. I don’t think there was a time at all during the game that I felt comfortable the Bills were going to make a play on offense.
The Ravens D attacked and suffocated the Bills offense. Occasionally there was room to run for Devin Singletary, but otherwise the receivers weren’t open, the quarterback was under duress, the quarterback was inaccurate, the receivers dropped passes and on and on. Pressured all day, it was clear the Bills offense was never going to get into a comfort zone and it was chuck it and hope for the best nearly all day.
The Bills D played very well overall against a very high powered Ravens offense. They seemed very well prepared to handle the option attack of Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram. The failure on the one big play touchdown the Ravens had was a killer but they had no margin for error given how badly the Bills offense was outplayed.
Here are the things I didn’t like:
- The Bills seemed to have no clue when and where the Raven free rushers were coming from nor did they have a plan to beat it. I don’t have the all-22 film to look at, but I would guess Allen was confused, hesitant and if receivers were open, he didn’t see it. Other times I expect the receivers were totally blanketed by an outstanding Ravens secondary leading him to throw things away or take sacks.
- Deep ball inaccuracies reared their ugly head again for Allen much like in the earlier part of the year. He was consistently 5 yards overthrowing open guys. Any one of the early throws he missed might have made a difference in a tight game and in perhaps changing how the Ravens approached playing defense.
- Dropped balls were also a killer in a tight game. The situation with Dawson Knox is reaching critical mass. It is now pretty much every game. Beasley and Singletary combined with Knox for a hat trick of drops in the 2nd half.
- I think the Bills are in dire need of a physical wideout who can get off press man coverage and make plays down the field. He would compliment smaller receivers like Beasley and Brown. Some will scream for more Duke Williams but he doesn’t get much separation and he isn’t particularly fast.
- It is NEVER a good idea to have your tight end block the best pass rusher from the other team 1 on 1. The Judon strip sack on Allen, after roasting Knox, was a critical play in the game. The Bills were behind the game momentum from that point forward.
- As noted above, the Bills defense played quite well. They were victimized on one play when Poyer seemed to cover the wrong guy leading to a 60+ yard touchdown (I don’t know who’s assignment it was though) but bad field position, Bills offense 3 and outs and the Bills’ killer turnover deep in their territory was too much to overcome. The Bills D did not get a complimentary effort from the offense to keep them off the field and out of bad field position against the most explosive offense in football in the Ravens.
- The red uniforms. Call me a “boomer”. I don’t care. The Bills primary color is blue and their blue on whites are classic. (Maybe the reds make Allen jumpy. It’s my new theory and I’m sticking to it).
- Giving up a long touchdown right after halftime, much like the game vs the Eagles. When the fans aren’t seated yet, it seems like the visitors have a big advantage after halftime.
- The officiating was “interesting” all game. Lots of chippy play all around as the Bills fought to stay in the game. The Bills had some bad ones against them but the pass interference call against the Ravens on Beasley was horrific….was it a make up for the non call on the pass to Foster? Suffice it to say, the refs seemed to have a tough day.
Things I liked:
- Per Marcel Louis Jacque (ESPN): Josh Allen was: 1-of-11 passing 15+ yards downfield.
– 0-of-11 from outside the pocket (all under duress)
– 1-of-16 when under duress.
– Blitzed 30 times & completed 29% of his attempts against it (7-of-24) And the game *still* came down to the final minute.
- The Bills D gave up 24 points, including 7 on a very short field (Baltimore averages 33); 257 total yards (Ravens average 420); 118 rushing yards (Ravens average 207); 3.6 yards per carry (Baltimore averages 5.6); and converted 27% of 3rd downs (had averaged 48%); Ravens punted 7 times (previous high was 3).
- Hauschka, on a windy day, was rock solid.
- Really nice tipped pass by Lorenzo Alexander on a 3rd down in the 4th quarter to force a punt and give the Bills the chance to stay in the game.
- Going for 2 when they did. The analytics experts insist that is the correct time to do it. I’m not going to argue with them. That play was the only time all day the Ravens looked confused and out of position.
- Tre White trying to read the Ravens play sheets that blew on the field. The Tre White school of goaltending guru has an outstanding sense of humor and it was a welcome respite from the game.
- The game did not end the Bills playoff hopes.
The Bills need to regroup and get ready for the biggest game of the year in Pittsburgh Sunday night. I think this is a huge one. As much as I enjoy the attention the team is getting, I think their task would be easier if it were Sunday at 1PM. They need to shore up the pass protection and ball security as the Steelers thrive on sacks and turnovers. That will be something to worry about after this game is digested.
Editor’s babble: Big thanks to Joe Tauriello for putting together a postgame report while under the weather and for all his great contributions to our blog. We hope you get back to feeling better soon! You can find Joe on Twitter @Joe_Tauriello.