"Disappointed Bills" fortunate to be 4-2 at bye
As the Bills head into their bye week, they sit in second
place in the AFC East at 4-2, one game behind the New England Patriots.
For a team that was expected to battle with Miami for last place in the
division, it's quite a surprising start.
Just not for the players who expressed aggravation
that they don't have a better record.
"Anytime you're above .500 you're doing something
right, so we're 4-2 heading to the bye, but the two losses we have, we
beat ourselves so it's frustrating and I'm not satisfied," third-year
free safety Jairus Byrd saif after the Bills' 27-24 loss to the New York Giants in Week 6. "We should be better than we are."
In reality, the Bills probably are fortunate to be
4-2. After blowing out Kansas City in Week 1, they rallied to win
back-to-back home games, overcoming an 18-point halftime deficit to
defeat Oakland and then coming from 21 points down in the second
quarter to stun New England and end a 15-game losing streak to the
Buffalo then went on the road and blew a 14-point
lead at Cincinnati in a last-play, 23-20 loss before returning home to
knock off the scuffling Philadelphia Eagles. In the game against New
York, the Bills were up 14-7, fell behind 17-14 and 24-17, then pulled
even and were driving for a potential go-ahead score when Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a critical interception near the goal line. The
Giants proceeded to march to the game-winning field goal.
The Bills go into their bye with plenty of
injuries, and plenty of things to work out. They were down three
defensive starters in New York (defensive tackle Kyle Williams and
linebackers Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay), and on offense the
continued absence of injured wide receiver Donald Jones seems to have
stunted their downfield passing game. Also, both left tackles -
Demetrius Bell and Chris Hairston - are now injured, though the bye may
be enough time to get everyone (Jones excluded) back on the field when
Buffalo plays host to Washington in its annual "home" game in Toronto
As for what needs improving, clearly the Bills
have to start finding ways to stop opposing offenses. They are allowing
420 yards per game, and have recorded only four sacks in six games,
worst in the league. The pass rush has been a huge problem, and the
only way the defense has stopped teams is by creating turnovers, and
there were none of those against the Giants.
"We still have a lot of work to do," said Fred Jackson, who is clearly the team's MVP at this point.
Bills scramble to cope with injuries on defense
The Bills played without three key starters on
defense against the Giants. Tackle Kyle Williams (foot) and linebackers
Shawne Merriman (Achilles) and Chris Kelsay (calf) were all sidelined,
so Buffalo went with Kellen Heard at tackle and Danny Batten and
Spencer Johnson at linebackers, and all three are severe downgrades.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 - Times in Bills history,
including Sunday against the Giants, where they had a rushing touchdown
and a pass touchdown of at least 50 yards in the same game. Fred
Jackson ran 80 yards for a score, and Naaman Roosevelt caught a 60-yard
pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
-- RB C.J. Spiller may be changing positions. He
worked primarily as a wide receiver in multiple-WR sets and caught five
passes for 39 yards against the Giants.
-- WR Stevie Johnson had five catches for 39 yards
and a TD, and he was the intended receiver on two passes that were
intercepted by New York's Corey Webster.
-- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 30 passes
for 244 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two pivotal
-- CB Terrence McGee returned to play for the
first time since the opening defensive series in Week 1 and he was in
on a team-high 11 tackles and had two pass breakups.
-- RB Fred Jackson had a career-long 80 yards
touchdown and gained 121 yards on 16 carries, plus caught five passes
for 47 yards.
-- QB/WR Brad Smith ran four times from the
Wildcat formation and gained 26 yards including 18 on one play.
-- CB Drayton Florence was targeted often and was
flagged for three pass interference penalties against the Giants.
AFC East: Bills Stumble, But Still Competing
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