The Bills were easily the better team today, that was obvious coming into this game. It was more obvious given that the Bills’ biggest opponent today was themselves. Miscues, dropped passes, fumbles, missed kicks, penalties, all those were the result of the Bills beating themselves, shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly, emptying the clip, reloading, and shooting again. The Bills gave one of their worst performances of the year, and are now no longer leading the AFC East, and have the toughest stretch of their schedule remaining. It’s a bad time for them to have a demoralizing performance.
Below we’ll take a look at was minor inspirational things there were, inquire (again) about the OL, ask who requires a better performance, and show all the irksome things that came from this game.
Inspire: Not much
Hard to find anything good here. Normally the defense gets a default “inspire” here, given how well they’ve played this season, but this is by far their worst performance. Tyler Bass missed two FGs after making 16 straight for the season. Allen and the offense did nothing to make anyone feel confident about them moving forward. I suppose Matt Brieda deserves a mention given he had some of the best runs the Bills have had all season.
Inquire: OL plan
Last week the “inquire” was about the OL, and how important the combination of Dawkins, Boettger/Feliciano, Morse, Williams, and Brown was to the success of the offense. Turns out, it’s pretty important. The Bills had all sorts of issues offensively, Williams struggled at RT, Cody Ford struggled yet again, and overall, it’s important to wonder what the plan was during the off-season.
Spencer Brown, a rookie 3rd round pick from UNI, should not be the tipping point for the success of the OL. The interior was a problem last year, masked by Josh Allen’s MVP level play. The Bills chose to do nothing about it, hoping Cody Ford would develop, and that Boettger and Feliciano would be good enough. Injuries have taken their toll, but the Bills were simply too content to run it back with their iOL, and they’re paying the price for it now. When Brown is healthy and Williams is at Guard, they will likely be fine for the rest of the season. But health is not a guarantee, especially in the NFL. While the season isn’t close to being over for this team, it’s obvious that this is a major issue that needed to be addressed last offseason, and wasn’t; it will continue to be an issue for the team for the rest of the season.
Quite literally, everyone needs to play better. The OL struggled, the WRs were out of sync other than Stefon Diggs. Allen misfired often, the DL was dominated, and the backups were put in for both teams by the middle of the 4th quarter. Plain and simple, the Bills sucked on all 3 phases, they got punched in the mouth from the start, and couldn’t get back up after that. There’s not much nuance to a brutalizing loss like this, sometimes it’s just as obvious as saying everyone sucked.
What a mess. Whatever the worst-case scenario was for this game, it happened. The Bills got bullied on both sides of the ball, pounded by Jonathan Taylor for 5 TDs. Allen and the offense were wildly out of sync all game, with penalties compounding all the issues on both sides of the ball for them. They might have had a shot to keep it close before halftime, but an Isaiah McKenzie fumble killed any chances of that happening. The Bills’ offense has been up and down for most of the year, but the defense has generally been very strong, 1st in DVOA coming into this game. They’re gonna take a pretty solid step backward after this performance, especially given how poorly they tackled.
The Bills are on a short week and need a shorter memory to get themselves back in order for a Thanksgiving game against a depleted Saints team. The Saints aren’t a good team at the moment, but their defense can create all sorts of problems. I don’t expect a Sean McDermott lead team to lose to a Saints team led by Trevor Siemean, but after today, frankly, anything is possible.