It was one of those days, Bills fans. The offense continued to be awful, and what had been a strong defense laid a giant egg. An all-around uninspiring performance in a perfectly winnable game. Here are my four takeaways from today’s loss.
A very “Billsy” afternoon
Everything went wrong on a day where the Bills needed exactly the opposite. Starting an almost retired QB who was on vacation with family two weeks ago and barely knows the playbook, Buffalo lost their best offensive player, LeSean McCoy, to a head injury in just his second snap of the game. That was only the beginning, but it set the tone for the rest of the bout.
Charles Clay fumbled the ball on what was the best offensive drive at that point, and the defense was outsmarted by Frank Reich and Andrew Luck. The Colts moved the ball successfully for most of the day with running back Marlon Mack finishing the day with 126 yards on 19 carries and one TD. He showed why he’s so important for Indianapolis’s attack.
Even when it looked like Buffalo would have a lucky play turning things in their favor, Lorenzo Alexander wasn’t able to recover a fumbled snap by Luck in the endzone, and it became just a safety instead of a TD. The Colts quickly recovered the ball after one of Derek Anderson’s multiple turnovers and scored another touchdown with seemingly no resistance. This was a forgettable day for Western New York’s team, to put it mildly.
New QB, same struggles
Given the difficult circumstances, Derek Anderson did a decent job, for the most part. He was noticeably better than Josh Allen in terms of reading the opposing defense, being on time with his throws and giving better chances to his WRs with better ball placement.
Unfortunately, some of his limitations, in addition to the lack of help from his offensive line and receivers, resulted in four critical turnovers, three INTs and a fumble. The team falling way behind in the scoreboard surely didn’t help the veteran, who was tasked to do just enough to let the defense win the game for the team. Today, it never was close to happening.
Anderson finished his day completing 20 of 31 pass attempts for 175 yards, no scores and the turnovers mentioned above. He didn’t look like a guy who will be able to win many games for the Bills, but hopefully he can help in Josh Allen’s development. Honestly, I think he performed better than I expected, especially early in the game.
After a slow start and great work, week after week, to eventually become the number three-ranked defense in the NFL, the unit laid a giant egg in Indianapolis this afternoon. The start of the game was promising, confusing Luck on clear passing downs and getting off of the field early on the first two drives. But just like past games, the group couldn’t stop the opposing rushing attack, and it opened up the way to a successful offensive performance for Indianapolis.
The offensive turnovers didn’t help, giving the Colts’ offense good field position most of the time, but it became clear Reich made adjustments to his offense during the game and Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier had few answers. Misdirection and play action plays caused confusion, especially for the Bills’ young linebacker duo, and the Colts were able to efficiently run up the score.
Signs of life by Benjamin
After weeks facing major criticism from Bills fans and media members in general, Kelvin Benjamin had a good game, catching four of the five passes thrown his way for 71 yards. When the QB can give him a shot, he will haul in the ball most of the time, using his big body to shield smaller defenders away from the ball. Anderson was this QB today, and KB’s production grew immediately.
With rumors about the Cowboys potentially looking at Benjamin’s situation with the trade deadline approaching, it’s a great time for KB continue to play better every week. I don’t like the idea of trading him for less than what Beane gave up to get him. I know I’m in the minority, but I really like Benjamin’s skillset and don’t see the team getting better without him. It’s only a matter of Allen improving his ball placement and consistency to have KB putting up numbers like today his the floor every single week. With him and Zay Jones being the only actual NFL receivers on the roster at this point, I’d rather keep him long-term.