The Buffalo Bills finally managed to put together a real stinker. It took eight games for someone to truly befuddle Chan Gailey and the Buffalo offense, Rex Ryan certainly did a number on them on Sunday.
Buffalo’s defense wasn’t even close to the weak point against the Jets. In fact, had they received some support from their offense, the defense may have given the Bills a very good chance at a victory. Unfortunately the Bills struggled to throw the ball, run the ball and generally move the chains against one of the NFL’s top defensive units.
It looked as if Gailey was coaching scared on Sunday. He knew the Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromatrie were waiting in the weeds on his outside receivers while the remaining nine players were packed in the box ready to stop the run. Gailey took some shots down the field, but not enough. That allowed the Jets to leave their corners on an island while coming heavy with blitzes and different run packages. It was clear that Gailey wasn’t going to challenge the Jets’ two all-pro corners and he paid for it, the offense never got rolling and the Jets time of possession squeezed any life the Bills may have had.
Sunday’s contest was the first loss for the Bills in which they didn’t have a punchers chance. It was also the first loss in which their talent level appeared to really burn them. Donald Jones is a fine special teams contributor and sixth wide receiver, he is not a number two deep threat. The same can be said of Naaman Roosevelt. Defensively, Arthur Moats was good but not great – although probably still a pass rushing upgrade over Shawne Merriman – and the rest of the no-name rush linebackers looked lost. Relying on cast-offs and undrafted free agents will not win games in the NFL, Sunday proved that in spades.
Buffalo has three legitimate receiving options, Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson and David Nelson. Scott Chandler is a fine contributor and doesn’t seem to merit replacing. However, there is not much left after those three (or four) players. Simply put, the Bills do not have the talent to threaten a truly talented defense. The Jets were able to saw off one leg (Johnson) and lean on the other (Jackson). Sure, Johnson had some limited success against Revis, perhaps they should have thrown that way a few more times. Regardless, they created a one-dimensional attack that was quickly snuffed out and turned the offense into a three-and-out turnover machine.
Heading into Dallas the Bills have the potential to face a tire fire of a team, or a well oiled division leader; you never know which team will show up. Either way, Buffalo needs to establish their run game early and be willing to take risks down the field. If they stray from that type of game plan they will be staring at 5-4 with quite a bit of meat left on the season.