Everyone loses as Bills defeat Giants, 14-9

10/16/2023
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The Buffalo Bills narrowly escaped a second straight loss with a Week 6 win over the New York Giants 14-9. It was an ugly, boring, sloppy, downright bad game from start to finish. Neither team looked overly prepared on any side of the ball, and neither team seemed to be willing or able to take advantage of mistakes made by the other team. Brian Daboll’s return to Buffalo was anything but exciting. It was a dull slop fest from two teams that do not look to be heading in the right direction. 

We will break down the little bits of inspired play from the Bills last night, inquire about a new player in a tough position, see which position group requires a better performance, and lay into the Bills offense as they deliver another irksome performance.

Inspire- Very little, but let’s say the defense.

The Bills, for a second straight week, came out flat, listless, and uninspired. The defense on the whole didn’t play poorly; a few great throws from former Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor kept the Giants offense moving before Saquon Barkley began to explode in the fourth quarter. Some poor execution in critical moments kept the Giants from scoring more against the Bills, but overall this was a game where the defensive line should have been more dominant. Plays were made throughout the game, including a critical third down stop by Greg Rousseau (who looked solid overall in his return) to force the Giants to kick a field goal. It also has to be said that Taron Johnson, once again, is one of the best players in football, and his play at the end of the game was clutch to keep Darren Waller from scoring. In the end, the defense did what it needed to do, and holding any NFL to nine points should be more than enough to give your offense opportunities to score points. The problem is simply that the offense isn’t stepping up and taking advantage of those opportunities. Special teams also didn’t help with Tyler Bass missing both of his kicks tonight, from 52 and 53 yards, with the first looking like he started his steps too early, getting himself out of rhythm. 

Require – Dorian Williams:

It seems on initial viewing that the Giants knew they had a clear mismatch of putting some sort of receiver against Dorian Williams, and they would find yards. In particular, Wan’Dale Robinson and Darren Waller seemed to find quite a few first downs hitting the underneath zones where Williams was defending. Now of course it may not be quite so easy as that, and the Film Room and the rest of the Cover 1 crew will certainly have some more answers throughout the week *cough* *cough* subscribe, follow, and share our content *cough* *cough*. Regardless though, it seemed to be a rough outing for the rookie linebacker, who has the unpleasant task of filling in Matt Milano’s shoes for the rest of the season. It’s also worth noting, like any other NFL team, that the Bills don’t have any better options outside of Williams either, so whatever learning and improvements need to be made, they’re going to have to be made quickly. 

Require – Bills’ pass catchers (not named Stefon Diggs): 

Stefon Diggs had 16 targets with 10 catches for 100 yards. Ironically, he did not score a touchdown on any of those catches, with Allen’s scores going to Deonte Harty and Quintin Morris, which were also their only targets in this game. In the end, the Bills struggled to get anyone other than Diggs consistently involved in the passing game. Dorsey tried dialing up plays to Dawson Knox, who made some decent catches and dropped a critical third-down conversion that would have sealed the game. Gabe Davis looked like he would be a beneficiary of more targets tonight until an early fumble killed a Bills drive and the targets went away from him for the rest of the game. It seems that Josh Allen’s main focus right now is to feed Diggs the ball, and if he isn’t open, then Davis will get the ball. But with going away from Davis early, it suddenly becomes Diggs or bust. Whether it’s due to poor scheming or Allen not having trust in his other receivers and locking in solely on Diggs, and not following the progression of the offense.

Irk – The offense:

There is something wrong with the offense right now. It’s easy to blame offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, and he absolutely shoulders responsibility for some of this. He’s the coach, he’s the play caller, and he needs to have his team better prepared for this. It also falls on Allen, who looked lost and sporadic for most of the game. It also falls on the offensive line, being inconsistent against the Giants. This is the reality when a football team struggles at any level: it’s seldom just one thing or another that’s to blame. The offense has to be better, collectively as an entire unit. There’s no single, simple solution to whatever is happening to the Bills’ offense right now, but there will be plenty of radio hosts, writers, and talking heads who will try to make it seem that way. The reality is that it’s more than one thing, and calling for Allen to be benched, or for Dorsey to be fired, or whatever extreme reaction might be simmering in the Twitter drafts and group DMs right now is foolhardy, and not an actual solution. There are legitimate questions to be asked: Why does it take so long to commit to running the football? Why is the offense being funneled through Diggs? Why is the offensive line struggling after starting hot against opponents of equal or greater talent? At the end of the day, this is a talented team that is going through problems right now. The best teams find a way to work through those problems and come out better on the other side. We will see exactly how good these Bills are moving forward.

The Bills will be playing against the New England Patriots on the road at 1:00 PM next Sunday. The Patriots, who are in the middle of one of the worst stretches of football in Bill Belichick’s coaching career, are desperate for another win after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders. They are a team with an offense that looks like it has few answers and a defense that’s been devastated by injuries. Sound familiar? If the Bills want to be the cream of the crop, they have to continue winning in the division, and taking care of easier games on their schedule, and the New England Patriots fall squarely into those categories. The Bills need to start figuring out how to get back on track fast, before the gauntlet of their schedule approaches. 

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