The Bills ran their second half of the season mark to an astounding 4-2 after knocking off the Dolphins in Miami today 17-14. The win may have been disappointing to some Bills fans already worrying about draft positioning, but hopefully fans can take enough solace in eliminating the Dolphins from the playoffs to enjoy the win.
Some thoughts on the Bills’ win:
-20 is the amount of points the Bills defense has surrendered in the last two games…combined! While they may not have been facing Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, to think that this team would be capable of stringing together back to back defensive performances like this would have been laughable after the first few weeks of the season. The Bills gave up just 65 yards rushing on 3.4 yards per rush. While they surrendered 261 net passing yards, they did so on 48 dropbacks. Miami averaged just 5.8 yards per attempt, not a bad number at all.
-Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well enough to merit coming back next season as the starter. While I have been resistant to this idea for quite some time, and still think he is not the long term answer, Fitzpatrick has been playing well enough for the Bills to be a competitive team once again. His emergence has removed the necessity of the Bills drafting a QB in the draft this season. Though I think that his play has been largely responsible for the Bills being out of the running for Andrew Luck, who is as close to a sure thing at QB as you can get out of college.
-It seems that Stevie Johnson has his swagger back. He made a couple of nice catches today, including one that showed great hands in the endzone that got waved off due to a slight nudge he gave the defensive back. Stevie had 6 catches for 69 yards and a TD without Lee Evans pulling coverages on the other side of the field. It seemed that everybody loved Stevie when he was playing the Joker against Cincy, and then said he “needed to be serious” when he had a rough game against Pittsburgh. As is usually the case in the immediacy of the sports world, things usually aren’t as good or as bad as they may seem to be. Stevie is a good wideout who will hopefully continue to improve.
-Speaking of WRs, did you notice how badly the Bills missed Lee Evans today? Me either. Lee is a talented wideout, but I am beginning to get the impression that he doesn’t even listen for the play call at this point and just runs a fly pattern every play. That’s obviously an exaggeration, but the young WRs on the team are stepping up, and it does make it appear that a $9 million player at WR is more of a luxury than necessity (ask Bill Belichick).
-Donte Whitner played another solid game, as I’ve felt he’s had a pretty good year this season in the new defense. However, George Wilson’s interception showed why the Bills would be willing to let Whitner go. With Brian Scott and Wilson, the Bills have very good depth at the safety position. Whitner is not a top-flight safety, he is a nice, solid player that can be replaced by players already on the team. I’d rather put potential Whitner money towards help in the front seven of the defense, which is a greater area of need.
-What is wrong with Brian Moorman? I think perhaps the 25 years worth of punting he has done in his 10 years as a Bill might be starting to take its toll. I still think he’s an ok punter, he’s just probably not the “weapon” he was in past seasons. I know it’s only one down season, but the guy is 34 and has punted 761 times in the past 10 seasons. Hopefully it’s an aberration and not a trend, as punting may still be prevalent for the next year or two.
-Ronnie Brown may have crossed the Moats…but he did so at the peril of his QB Chad Henne. Henne was swallowed up in the Moats 1.5 times on Sunday, meaning Arthur Moats has 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his last two games. If Ronnie Brown tries that again, he may not want to leave anybody, particularly his awful QB, behind; because someone is always going to pay for attempting to cross the Moats.