BUFFALO BILLS: MID-SEASON EVALUATION


Since the opening drive of the Bills 2011 campaign, the Bills offense has exploded onto just about every opponent piling up points and playing some pretty decent ball.  Their season thus far is highlighted by a week 3 comeback victory over the New England Patriots, where the Ryan Fitzpatrick led offense rallied back from down 21, scoring on each and every second half possesion, to overcome the shadow the Pats have cast over the division for the last decade.  How could it get any better?

Since Buffalo’s 3-0 start their offensive play has leveled out, averaging only 17 points per game the last couple weeks.  In last weeks defeat to the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills only scored 11 points and were pretty much pushed all over the field.  Our offensive line has built a reputation this year for their physical style of play, and really just came out flat this past Sunday.  Andy Levitre has been a star to this point in the season, playing above average football  in and out of his natural position.  If the Bills offense expects to flourish, the offensive line needs to bring it each and every week.  So far, the line has played well, but is getting a lot of credit for Fitz’s quick release and Fred Jackson’s game-break-ability.  I don’t want to take anything from the unit, but complacency preludes failure.  Here’s hoping those big boys stay hungry.

Ryan Fitzpatrick must take care of the football!  While I applaud his efforts to push the ball down-field, he must avoid pushing it into a DB’s chest.  Fitz has thrown 9 picks on the year.  He needs to focus on his delivery and avoid throwing off his back foot at all costs.  The Bills, at this point in the season, can’t afford to turn the ball over.

If the Bills wish to earn a playoff spot, the defensive front must get after the quarterback.  Buffalo has found little success rushing the passer this year.  It will be imperative, moving forward, to successfully rush four and create pressure for opposing quarterbacks.  Our defensive backfield is very talented, but can’t be expected to cover for 5 or more seconds.  Great football teams rush the passer well (See history).

The  Bills must continue to improve on all sides of the ball.  Hopefully along the way a young leader will emerge from the bunch.  Alex Carrington, Marcell Dareus, Kelvin Sheppard have all shown flashes of their capabilities over the past weeks.  With injuries piling up, Buffalo’s young professionals may get the chance to show us why they are where they are.  Here’s hoping we can ride that youth into the post season.