After another hard fought game by a winless Bills’ team, the game was ultimately decided by another new way for a Bills team to lose. This time, the culprit for the Bills was their inability to play even in the all-important…points after touchdown battle?
While it’s rare that extra points are the deciding factor in a football game, the Bills added another way to lose a tough game to their arsenal. Both the Bills and Bears scored three touchdowns, but Rian Lindell had an extra point blocked by Isreal Idonije, whom the Bills signed to an offer sheet a few years back that the Bears matched, that put the Bills in a position where they were chasing that point. Because of the miss, the Bills trailed 14-13. When the Bills scored their third touchdown, on a Corey McIntyre one yard run, the Bills tried to run Fred Jackson on a two point conversion that failed, leaving them with a 19-14 lead. The Bears scored a touchdown with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter, and converted their two point try, to give them a 22-19 lead, and ultimately, win.
The Bills got off to a slow start in a boring first quarter of football, trying to establish a running game that would never get going in this one. The Bills finally abandoned the run at the end of the first half and scored a touchdown right before the half, leaving them in a 7-7 tie. Ryan Fitzpatrick ended up throwing for 299 yards and a touchdown, but that was offset by having to throw 51 times to accumulate that yardage, and throwing two costly interceptions in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick has been playing pretty well, better than could be expected from a journeyman backup, but has consistently struggled to get the Bills to come through in clutch situations at the end of games. Before this week, it was an interception in the fourth quarter comeback attempt against New England, a momentum-swinging interception to start the second half in Baltimore, and an inability to move the ball in Kansas City territory in overtime.
The defense played well for the most part in this game against a shaky Bears offense. The Bears ran for 105 yards as a team on just 3.4 yards an attempt. It’s not like they were tearing the Bills apart through the air either, as they had just 178 net yards passing. You can see why the Bears have struggled lately, as their offensive line was unable to open holes for their running game. They did hold up fairly well against the Bills blitzes, more than I’ve seen in a while from them, allowing Jay Cutler some time to make some good throws, though Cutler throws off his back foot whether he has time or not.
This marks the third game in the five part Toronto regular season series, and the third time the Bills have lost in Toronto. This sounded more like a home game for the Bears, as the crowd was noticeably more enthusiastic on Bears’ successes than the Bills’ successes.
Despite another tough loss, and maintaining inside position on the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, the Bills did have some impressive individual performances.
Kyle Williams continues to make plays now that the Bills are essentially featuring four defensive lineman. He is a very underrated player, but was out of position as a 3-4 nose tackle.
Stevie Johnson continues to impress, amassing 11 catches for 145 yards, though his string of consecutive games with a touchdown was snapped at five. Roscoe Parrish also made some nice plays in underneath passing game, grabbing seven balls for 60 yards, though he did drop a 25 yard diving catch he should have made, and injured his hand at the end of the game.
The Bills will finally come home next week to take on the feisty Detroit Lions, who also may have lost in large part to a missed PAT (attempted by DT Ndamukong Suh replacing injured Jason Hanson). The Bills went from worrying about any points to extra points, they’re improving all the time.