It has become a trend in Buffalo. The defense shows up and does its best to keep the team competitive, but the offense is so atrocious that makes it impossible for the team to have any shot at a win. This time, it resulted in the Bills’ 7th loss on the year, another one that is leading a lot of fans to question head coach Sean Mcdermott’s and general manager Brandon Beane’s “process”. Here are my four takeaways from yesterday’s game:
Trust the Process?
After ending the drought in 2017, a lot of Bills fans believed “the process” was a plan destined for success. Now, in year two, with the presumed franchise QB in the picture and the defense strengthened, the team should take the next step and at least be competitive again. The 2018 season has been eye-opening so far.
The playoff appearance in 2017 was the fluke, not the 2018 struggles we’re seeing now. It’s year two of the rebuild and, despite the expected improvement on the defensive side of the ball, the unpolished rookie QB and the dismantled offensive line were expected to face adversities. With all the dead money on the books for this season, Beane and McDermott chose to bet on young mid-to-late round picks to grow with Josh Allen and Zay Jones on offense, but no one has emerged as a viable option so far. Add the QBs’ injuries and some veteran pieces underperforming, and the result is one of the worst offenses in the history of the league.
So, is it time to move on from McDermott, Beane and “the process”? Obviously not. They have a plan, and clearly 2017 and 2018 were expected to be tough seasons. Last year surprisingly wasn’t but 2018 has been, thanks to the lack of offensive firepower. It will likely result in a high draft pick and, with all the cap space in the world next year, pieces will be added to allow OC Brian Daboll to have a chance. No, I don’t agree with every McBeane move, but they have a plan and are executing it. Next season will be the year to start to be consistently competitive, to show the “sustainable success” the head coach always talks about. If it doesn’t happen, then will be time to think about moving on.
Enough of Peterman
Nathan Peterman looks like a nice guy, a hard worker, fine teammate, a bright young man. Unfortunately, at this point, he has no business quarterbacking an NFL team. He started the game with zero confidence throwing the ball into small windows, and we know the Bills’ WRs will rarely be wide open any time during the game. With no running game to rely on, Peterman hesitated too much in clear passing situations and tried to gain yards with his legs more than he should have. Even on the last play of the first half, he refused to throw a hail mary, preferring to run the ball and stepping out of bounds, an awful decision.
they really keep putting this man on the field pic.twitter.com/3YPEsKIIze
— charles (oh no) mcdonald (@FourVerts) November 4, 2018
The second-year pro finished the day completing 31 of 49 passes for just 189 yards and three INTs. You can argue about some of those being bad luck or not his fault. At the end of the day, he continues to be a turnover machine, which gives no chance to the team to be competitive in any game. The mistake of going into the season with just Allen and Peterman as the QBs is done; now it’s time to correct it any way possible. Play Anderson if possible, Allen or even Barkley. Bring Sam Bradford in. Just don’t start Peterman again this year. He’s just in his second season and has already faced more adversity than a lot of 10-year veterans. Even if the coaching staff still loves him, it’s time to sit him and let him work behind the scenes. He can’t continue to start for this team. It’s impossible for the other players to still have any confidence in Peterman at this point.
One hole in a strong unit
The Buffalo Bills’ 2018 defense is a playoff-caliber one. Despite being a really good unit, it’s a group that still has one major hole: the number two CB. Phillip Gaines has been the top choice so far, but it’s clear he’s the weak link in an impressive secondary. Yesterday, he was burned by the Bears’ WRs two times, panicking and committing pass interference on both plays. It’s one position Beane will need to find another option for in the future, via the NFL Draft or free agency. For now, I would like to give another look at Ryan Lewis. He replaced the injured Gaines for some weeks and was solid, with some impressive moments. Maybe he’s not the answer either, but he offers a better upside than the veteran.
Some positives on a forgettable day
Despite losing a costly fumble, TE Jason Croom is looking like one of the few bottom-of-the-roster young players taking advantage of their opportunities. With Charles Clay (shocker) struggling with nagging injuries, we should see more of Croom going forward. He finished the day with three catches for 36 yards. Another positive on the offense was running back Chris Ivory. He continued to be the most effective option on the ground, running hard for 36 yards on seven carries, a healthy 5.1 yards per carry average. It’s becoming clear he’s the best option running behind this awful OL.
On defense, Tre’Davious White continued his strong play and caught his first interception this year. The defensive line played well, containing and pressuring Mitch Trubisky. Defensive end Shaq Lawson impressed stopping the run. He was very active and disruptive in this area of the game, finishing the day with seven tackles. The former Clemson Tiger is far from the pass rusher the Bills expected when they made him the 19th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but he has developed into a really good run stopping DE.