Before Buffalo's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, I muttered words to myself that would soon come back to haunt me.
"Well, at least things can't get any worse."
Bad move, Spence.
As the game started, things looked good. After a tumultuous week at One Bills Drive, it's conceivable that the Bills could have ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. A new head coach, a new (sort of) starting quarterback and key injuries spelled D-O-O-M.
But to start off, it was the exact opposite. Ryan Fitzpatrick took command of the offense, targeting Terrell Owens early and often. The defense, ranked last in the league in rush defense, continuously stuffed the deadly Maurice Jones-Drew.
Before the game, interim head coach Perry Fewell said that the Bills must keep themselves in the game until the final whistle blows. Being outscored in the fourth quarter has been a major issue for Buffalo this season. The team will keep itself in the game until the defense runs out of gas.
Was this the game that the reborn Bills would come through and shut the Jags out in the fourth?
It looked like it. Right up until Jags' quarterback David Garrard led his squad down the field to score the game-winning touchdown.
Another week, another heartbreaker.
Buffalo had the game in the bag. The offense — for once — was clicking. Fitzpatrick tossed a Bills' record 98-yard touchdown bomb to T.O. – after calling an audible at the line of scrimmage. It was the second time this season that Buffalo has achieved over 300 yards of total offense. Owens had his best day as a Bill, catching nine balls for a whopping 197 yards.
And then, the injury plague came swarming along the Bills' sidelines like a swarm of angry locusts.First to fall? Running back Marshawn Lynch, out with a shoulder injury. Rookie Eric Wood – broken leg. Offensive lineman Seth McKinney – season-ending knee injury.
Injuries continue to kill Buffalo this season, on both sides of the ball. An already struggling offensive line is now in even more trouble.
However, there are some bright spots. The "shattered" secondary is not so shattered. Buffalo's defensive backs continue to haul in interceptions and break passes. At times, Garrard looked as if he could only concentrate on one side of the field because the coverage was so good. The defense, decimated by injuries, effectively shut down Jones-Drew to only 66 yards.
Things are looking up for Buffalo…for next season. When all of guys on injured reserve are back on the field. And when there's a new coach. And a new quarterback. And a new general manager.
This season looked good from the start. Just over halfway in, it looks like four or five wins.
Stay strong, Buffalo. This team will get better. Eventually.-------------------------------------------------
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