The Buffalo Bills were, again, unable to stop the run. And, again, they paid the price because of it. In what has become a proverbial broken record for the Bills this season, the inability to stymie the ground attack of their opponents has caused Buffalo to spin off loss after loss. As the league’s worst rushing defense, the Bills are giving up (no pun intended) an average of 174 yards per game. That number is untenable for a team looking to win games. For one hoping to get the first pick in 2010, however, it is actually right on the money. Somehow I doubt the Bills will fail to elate us with that outcome too.
On the other side of the ball, the offense too has continued to struggle. Backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was only able to muster a performance of 117 yards with 2 interceptions and RB Marshawn Lynch picked up just 43 yards on 9 carries. The good news? WR Terrell Owens now only has to average one touchdown per game the rest of the season to keep his key to the city of Buffalo after scoring a 29 yard end-around.
The good news without any sarcasm? Rookie safety Jairus Byrd became only the second player in NFL history to have two or more interceptions in three consecutive games. Big cheers to the one guy out there keeping things exciting – seriously – congratulations Jairus. For a team that has been so banged up defensively it is good to see some young talent really shining out there from the depths of the original depth chart.
For a game that saw Buffalo leading through the first three quarters, this is one that the Bills really could have captured. Had the offense been able to generate any kind of momentum in the second half, they might have been able to go up more than one score and force the Texans to beat them through the air; a place that – relatively speaking – they have actually done quite well. The Bills are ranked 11th overall in the NFL in passing defense giving up just under 200 yards a game. Instead, the Texans were able to take the lead on an 11 yard run by RB Ryan Moats early in the 4th Quarter and simply pounded the ball on the ground from there. In time of possession the Texans dominated with 40 minutes to the Bills 20.
Buffalo finds themselves headed into a bye week with many of the same questions that were being asked at the start of the season, plus some new ones. So far T.O. has been a disappointment, Trent Edwards has failed to mature, and the Beast Mode has yet to roar. Special teams, normally the hallmark of this organization, has been lackluster at best and the rushing defense has been atrocious. At 3 – 5 and 2.5 games out of first place, I wouldn’t say the Bills’ season is dead just yet, but unless there is some truly magical transformation that takes place in the next 2 weeks … it will be.