Sammy Saves Season and Other Bills Musings

The Buffalo Bills won't get any style points, but they found a way to win on Sunday. The team lost some key players along the way, but currently sit at 4-3.

Sammy Saves Season

There are some people who believe the Buffalo Bills gave up too much to get Sammy Watkins. Don’t include me in that group.

Watkins has been as good as advertised for the Bills in 2014. In Week 7, he may have saved Buffalo’s season. The Bills struggled on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Buffalo looked sloppy on both sides of the ball at times and didn’t do themselves any favors with turnovers and penalties. It was a game the Bills probably should have lost.

Despite this, Watkins willed the Bills to victory. In the first half, Watkins got the Bills on the board with a 26 yard touchdown reception from QB Kyle Orton. On the final drive, Watkins reeled in three catches. The receptions went for 19 yards, 18 yards and 2 yards. The dynamic receiver picked up two first downs when the Bills needed them most, and the two yard reception went for a touchdown with one second remaining. In all, Watkins finished with 9 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Watkins is on pace for an 80 catch, 990 yard, 9 TD season per Joe Buscaglia of WGR550.

Superstars find a way to help their teams win. That’s exactly what Watkins did on Sunday when he saved Buffalo’s season and helped the Bills pull off a come from behind victory.

A Costly Win

Buffalo won a game they had to win, but lost some key players along the way. Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller and Aaron Williams all left the game with injuries. All three players were key players for the Bills entering the season. Fred Jackson suffered a groin injury against the Vikings and according to Ian Rapoport, the worst case scenario is that Jackson misses four weeks. Jackson is the heart and soul of Buffalo’s offense and his leadership will be missed while he’s out.

C.J. Spiller suffered the most serious injury. The elusive running back broke his collarbone on a 53 yard rush, his only carry of the ball game. Spiller will be having surgery today and is out for the season. There’s a good chance that today was Spiller’s last rush with the Bills. He can become an unrestricted free agent after the season if he declines his $2.2 million player option.

Aaron Williams, Buffalo’s best safety, returned from wrist and neck injuries that held him out of action in Week 6.  In his return against the Vikings, Williams reinjured his neck. He didn’t return to the game and his status going forward is unknown. Buffalo would depend on the likes of Duke Williams, Da’Norris Searcy, Kenny Ladler and Corey Graham to pick up the slack for Williams if he’s out for any extended period of time.

As for Buffalo’s backs, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown will be expected to carry the load for the Bills. Dixon has shown to be a good runner between the tackles and will see an expanded work load. Brown has been inactive all season, but has shined when give the opportunity in his career. It’ll be very interesting to see how Buffalo’s run game fares going forward.

Random Musings

-As of Sunday night, the 1-6 Jets are three point favorites over the 4-3 Bills. New York played on Thursday night and will be coming off of extra rest. The Jets will be playing at home to save their season so the line isn’t too surprising. Buffalo’s sloppy play and injuries certainly weighed into the initial line.

-Following the game, Doug Marrone stated that he’d be looking at the offensive line this week and may make some changes. Hopefully this means the return of Kraig Urbik. Buffalo has started Chris Williams, Cyril Richardson and Erik Pears at guard this season and all three struggled. Urbik, Buffalo’s right guard in 2013, replaced Williams following his injury against the Chargers but hasn’t played since. For whatever reason, Urbik has found himself in Marrone’s dog house. He may be getting the opportunity to work his way out this week. Honestly, he can’t be any worse than Richardson or Pears. The current guard duo played a big role in Kyle Orton getting sacked and hit multiple times.

-Mike Williams was active on Sunday but saw limited time on the playing field. He also appears to be in Marrone’s dog house, but there’s more to this story. Williams has simply been outplayed by WR Chris Hogan. The former lacrosse player has developed good chemistry with Orton in the last two weeks. In Week 6, Hogan caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. This week he caught five passes for 63 yards. His biggest reception was a 28 yard reception that set up Buffalo’s game winning touchdown. Mike Williams may find himself back on the inactive list upon Marquise Goodwin’s return. If he does, his lack of production should be cited as part of the reason.

-Buffalo’s defensive line is scary good. Jerry Hughes, Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams combined for 4.5 sacks on Sunday against the Vikings. For the season, Dareus leads the way with 7 sacks. Hughes and Williams are close behind with 5.5, and Kyle Williams also has one sack on the season. The foursome may be the best defensive line in the NFL right now.

-It hasn’t been pretty but Kyle Orton finds a way to keep games interesting. Orton helped bring the Bills back against the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. He was also able to get the Bills within eight points of the Patriots before New England finally pulled away in Week 6. Orton threw his third interception in three weeks, had a costly fumble when the Bills were driving in the second half and showed little ability to evade pressure. Yet, his record sits at 2-1 and he has the Bills in the thick of things in the AFC. As long as the Bills keep finding ways to win, fans will be able to shrug off the veteran’s mistakes. 

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