Bills O Unimpressive in Rout Over Pathetic Browns

<B>In a Sentence: </B> <P> Y-A-W-N!

Q: Why do I keep focusing on the offense?

A: Because it is where 80+% of the resources of the team went this past offseason towards correcting the issues of this team.

Game Grades:

QB: D Classic Humpty! He even did it in the absence of much pressure. Why, oh why, oh why anyone on the coaching staff truly believes that Losman could not provide at least what Humpty does continues to puzzle and dismay many Bills fans far and wide. Instead of looking forward, the Bills have clung to ridiculous odds of making the playoffs in a playoffs in which they would have slim to no chance of advancing with Humpty regardless in absurd notions that the team has better chances with Humpty than with Losman. Why!

A golden opportunity to give Losman enough playing time to overcome "first year jitters" has now passed. Has it been worth it? Were the miniscule odds of simply "making the playoffs" worth the far more real and obtainable benefits to getting the Bills franchise QB of the future some direly needed playing time if the Bills expect to be competitive next season? Or will Humpty be back perhaps? Hmmmm? On the Commander Tom Show it's anyone's guess.

RB: B Many fans somehow get the impression that I am not a Willis McGahee fan. I have high hopes for Willis, particularly since his acquisition required many resources of varying sorts in order to consummate. I simply stand in disagreement as to the picture that the media has painted of him to date. This game did nothing to alter my impressions here. This should have been a very easy game for him to dominate.

At a very critical juncture just prior to the half with the Bills leading by only ten, 17-7, and with the Browns still very much in the game given the absence of solid Bills offense, McGahee had an opportunity to shine. The result, on 1st-and-4 at the Cleveland 4-yard line McGahee lost a yard. Then on 2nd-and-5 he lost six yards setting up an ill-fated Humpty classic sack for a loss of four on 3rd-and-11 which in turn set up a botched punt attempt turned failed pass-try on a noble effort by Moorman.

The impression that I've gotten with Willis McGahee is that the team is bending over backwards to "turn him into a superstar" vice having his performances precede his accolades. It makes sense since this is exactly how Humpty built his career and given the Commander Tom media methodology to management. McGahee was good but definitely not great in this game. It was an average performance vs. a well below average and injury-decimated team against which he should have been able to perform much better if all they hype is justifiable. Shaud Williams was more consistent and more impressive in relief quite frankly.

One good example in point was the Bills effort to ensure that McGahee got his 100-yard performance on the game. No big deal really. But the mantra continues that "when McGahee rushes for 100-yards…blah, blah…" This game was over long before McGahee ever got close to 100-yards and quite frankly his getting 100-yards again had very little to do with the win directly. Rather it was the D that set up multiple TD drives with ridiculous field position.

Yet, the mantra is blindly asserted as if in this game, or the others in which McGahee has amassed 100-yards for that matter, that it was "his attaining to that 100-yards" which was the primary factor in getting the win. It has not been the primary factor, even offensively in a single win. As well, did the Bills really need 100-yard rushing performances to beat the Dolphins (2-11)? The Browns (3-10)? The Rams (6-7)? The Seahawks (7-6)? The Cardinals (4-9)? If so, then I might suggest that this team is not nearly as good as many seem to believe it is. If not, then why the charade? The answer: pure marketing.

At present, Willis does not often break tackles, is not good on 3rd-downs, and generally struggles in goal-to-go situations. Quite frankly, I've seen better big-play potential out of Shaud Williams while he's been out there. McGahee has yet to dominate a game via his rushing performance and he certainly was far from accomplishing this to date. The lack of a passing game surely was no help to him in achieving that goal, notwithstanding however, it does not alter the facts. This oft-repeated mantra that "Willis is capable of breaking the big one on any play" carries no weight since it has simply not happened yet to date. In fact, his longest run was the 41-yarder which was primarily successful due to the play design vice anything that McGahee did.

In hindsight, my position has not altered itself. McGahee's acquisition was not wise given the plethora of other more prominent needs on this team. Travis Henry was far more adequate than the talent the Bills had at numerous other positions least of all certainly not the offensive line. At present, and as stated in the past, McGahee must be far beyond what Henry ever was and to date that is not the case. He's good and certainly sufficient for any team, but to date not worth having discarded Henry like a used Kleenex coupled with all of the opportunity costs and time costs associated with his acquisition. Fans will hope that an offseason of rest and a second season of play will elevate McGahee's play to such a level that 2,000 yards is always a distinct possibility. As of yet he is still not looking like that RB.

WR: C+ Lee Evans continues to grow and show signs of being a future first wide receiver. Having said that, this was no superlative game for the WRs by any stretch. It wasn't a huge game for him or for any other WR. The receivers, meaning Evans, Moulds, and Reed, were a combined 8 for 77 and a TD on the day.

TE: C With Campbell and Euhus out, Neufeld, Trafford, and Peters picked up the slack.. Low expectations, low yield.

OL: D The offense, particularly given all the hype in recent weeks, should have been able to run roughshod over this Brown D. The defense did the offense's work for them in this game, ….again!

DL: A+ It does not matter that it was Cleveland, but 17 net yards on the game is impressive!

LB: A+ It does not matter that it was Cleveland, but 17 net yards on the game is impressive!

DB: A+ It does not matter that it was Cleveland, but 17 net yards on the game is impressive!

Coaching: B- The D was superb but the O was dicey at best. Goal-to-go conversions were low. Red zone percentage was also not high. The offense had to rely far too heavily on the defense to score points again. The average starting field position for touchdowns scored by the first-team offense was a "T-Ball"-like Browns' 27-yard line.

Overall: B Even though it was entirely predictable, and even though the Browns are awful given all of the injuries that they have sustained, this game was a rout. It is discounted due to strength of opponent, or perhaps "weakness" of opponent.

Offense: C- Once again, the offense was nothing apart from the defense in this game. Same-old, same-old! The average starting field position on drives on which touchdowns were scored with the first team was the Cleveland 27-yard line with two TD producing drives having been set up at the Brown 23 and 6-yard lines and the third set up near midfield. The most impressive drive of the game was the 71-yard last touchdown producing drive with Losman and Shaud Williams in for Humpty and McGahee. That drive was ten yards shy of the combined total of the drive lengths of the three touchdown drives by the first unit. The time consumed was nearly a minute more than all three drives as well. With the first team offense in the game, the Bills only had three drives longer than 23 yards vs. this pathetic Brown defense. Those three drives yielded only 13 points.

As well, on 1st-and-5 at the Cleveland 13-yard line, why would the Bills throw the ball defies reason. The frequency with which the Bills refuse to run McGahee in traditionally typical rushing situations should cause fans to raise an eyebrow to be sure. Nevertheless, Willis McGahee was given the rock on the following play for a TD on a beautifully executed play. Again, following a turnover and establishing clear momentum on 1st-and-10 at the Brown 21-yard line following a Bills defensive fumble recovery, the Bills opted to throw the ball. McGahee still has not proven an ability to dominate a game on the ground, but why the Bills would not work towards establishing that ability raises questions.

In spite of utterly lopsided time-of-possession, the Bills' offense was unable to dominate this game as it should easily have been able to do. It took quite a bit of assistance from the defense to put up any significant amount of points.

Defense: A+ After a pathetic week last week, the Bills rush D was absolutely smothering! They had the hapless Brown offense walking on eggshells all game long. They also set up just about everything that the offense did from a production standpoint scoring wise. The first Bills' touchdown was set up by a Bills' defensive fumble recovery placing the ball at the Cleveland 23-yard line. The second touchdown was set up by the defense forcing a Brown loss of 18 yards forcing them to punt from deep within their own territory setting the Bills offense up near midfield at the Bills' 48-yard line. The third touchdown was set up by yet another forced fumble handing the ball to the Bills' O at the Brown 6-yard line.

The defensive front-7 blitzed and pressured the young McCown all day long making it impossible for the Browns to establish any sort of rhythm at all offensively.

Special Teams: C- Nothing special, nothing costly other than Clements setting up the Browns only TD on a fumbled punt. The special teams are entitled to a mulligan, or two, or three!

The Good:

The defense was superlative in its second four-quarter game of the season. They dominated and were 90% of the reason for the rout.

7-for-37 yards on penalties.

215 rushing yards.

5 takeaways.

37 points.

8 sacks: Adams (2), Schobel, Kelsay, Posey, Spikes, Milloy, Vincent

Greater than a 3-2 time-of-possession edge.

The Bad:

This was Cleveland who was decimated with injuries and led by a rookie 4th-round QB starting in his second game with no viable running game, few options at receiver, and a ridiculously banged up defense.

Only two long sustained drives by the first-team offense.

The inability of the offense to take a more prominent role in dominating this game vs. a well below average and bottom tier defensive team when it should have happened.

Humpty's ineffectiveness.

Only 40%, 2-of-5, in goal-to-go efficiency.

Summary:

This game was like the star senior jock in high school beating up a freshman on the first day of classes. Anyone watching this game likely had the words "He's dead Jim!" resonating within their head sometime during the second quarter when it was obvious that if the Brown defense wasn't going to put up points for them, then it was simply not going to happen in this game.

Cleveland is horrible which should be obvious to anyone having watched this game. The game was tedious to watch for those expecting a football game. The Browns were doomed before this game even began and interim coachTerry Robiskie should have thrown the towel in on this game if it were possible shortly after the half. The result of this game is what should have happened as the Browns are exactly that bad.

My Take:

The current four-game winning streak notwithstanding, I still see this Bills team as a team with too many issues to beat any decent team and no different overall than they have been in recent seasons in terms of ability to beat the better teams with anything even approaching consistency. The present combined won-loss record of teams beaten in this streak is 18-34 with none of the teams beaten of playoff caliber even though by default either the Seahawks or Rams will win their weak division.

Other than the Rams beating the Seahawks, that collection of four teams has only beaten two winning teams on the season. The Browns as a very different team beat the Ravens in week one. The Jets beat the Chargers in an offensive shootout in week two. Otherwise not one of the four teams in this streak has beaten a team currently above .500 since week two. This clearly raises issues to the quality of this streak and to the true competitiveness of this Bills team. Of the teams beaten in the Bills current four-game winning streak, the composite record of the teams that they have beaten including the Ravens and Chargers is 80-140 or a winning percentage of .364. Not good.

My expectation is for the Bills to drop both of the games to Cincy as well as to Pittsburgh if the game has any meaning for the Steelers whatsoever, which at present it seems as if it will. Whether those expectations and analyses fall short remains to be seen. The next few weeks will certainly paint a much clearer picture of exactly where this Bills team stands. The final analysis could very well impact the Bills this offseason to a large extent.

Next week the Bills play a Bengals team that is a veritable dichotomy of the Bills in terms of its season. More on that in the pregame piece for that game.

Comments: mweiler.billsreport@cox.net


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