Drew Brees and New Orleans’ air attack did the Bills in on Sunday as the five touchdowns tossed by Brees accounted for all the scoring from the Saints on Sunday.
Buffalo held a lead for some time during the contest after a Stevie Johnson touchdown and Dan Carpenter field goal but Jimmy Graham scored a pair of touchdowns in the second and third quarters with a 69-yard bomb to Kenny Stills helping to recapture the lead for New Orleans.
Graham’s first score would be all the Saints needed, but his second score was followed by another late bomb to Stills that rolled up the final 14 points for New Orleans. It was a dominating performance by Brees who took control of the game while being sacked four times by the Bills.
Thad Lewis was as adequate as you might expect a backup to be – as he has been since he took over – but simply wasn’t on the same level as Brees on the day. His shortfall came in taking care of the ball after losing a pair of fumbles early on and throwing an interception in the second half. The fumbles may have had a larger effect on the outcome than the INT simply because of the rust the Saints, specifically Garret Hartley, were shaking off in the early going.
Lewis’ impact on the team has been exactly what an NFL team is looking for from their backups. Considering some of the backups that have stumbled through a game when being tapped after an injury. As much as I like the idea of bringing in Matt Flynn as a backup but I do feel that Lewis is precisely the type of player who can not only be trusted to manage a game or two in a pinch but step in and carry the Bills to a win if necessary.
Looking back, Sunday was perhaps his toughest performance as the Saints brought serious heat all game (4 sacks) and disrupting the pocket many more times. The pass rush and an altered rushing attack due to the loss of CJ Spiller likely hampered the ability to make him an effective passer, but he still made some impressive throws. Obviously the win against the Dolphins has been the highlight of his extended stay at QB but I think his performance against the Bengals might be most impressive work he’s turned in.
Defensively there were some serious shortcomings as a few lost coverages resulted in big plays – Stills bomb and even Alonso losing track of Graham at the wrong moment. It’s something that still needs to be cleaned up as guys like Stephon Gilmore heal and Jairus Byrd continues to acclimate.
Ryan’s got your number?
Yet another year is passing in which the Bills have struggled with the Ryan brothers. Obviously the new staff at One Bills Drive is new to Rex but he seemed to do a fine job disrupting the Buffalo offense in week three. I have a feeling that there’s some sort of communication between the two brothers when it comes to bottling up the Bills.
Mario Williams came away with yet another sack as he continues his torrid pace on the season and he had a handful of series where he was dominating his side of the line. You can see the moment when he decides to take over the game and that typically comes after a sack.
Only 45 yards rushing for Fred Jackson and 53 total yards from scrimmage. However you can tell he is setting the tone for the Bills offense this season. It’s not so much that he’s taken the starting role from Spiller but that he’s truly turned the backfield into a two-headed monster.
Depth at receiver
Robert Woods has been phased out a bit in recent weeks simply because the quartet of primary receivers the Bills boast are deep as hell. Marquise Goodwin stepped up with three catches for 56 and TJ Graham would’ve came away with a huge afternoon if it wasn’t for a holding call on Scott Chandler. Chandler, by the way had seven catches for 72 yards.