Week 17 is over and the Bills finish with a 6-10 record for the third straight season. Although this 6-10 feels different than the ones under Chan Gailey. Doug Marrone took a team that was young and raw in many areas and gave the Bills fans hope for the future. With a new philosophy instilled in the team, coaches, and community the surroundings in Orchard Park, NY on a new season was brimming with excitement.
The Bills did excite at times, but there was more disappointment throughout the season. But, with that disappointment also comes a new sense of excitement and what can become of the Bills for next year. Before we begin to speculate on what will happen in the off-season we should take a look back at how well the team did and give end of the year grades.
We will start by looking at the defense. The Buffalo Bills broke a longtime standing franchise sack record that stood for 50 years. They finished the season with the second most sacks at 57. Carolina finished ahead of them with 60. The Bills also finished the year in second place for the most interceptions; 23.
The Bills sat in 11th place for points allowed; 21.7 per game. They also didn’t fair to badly in the total yards department either finishing in 10th place allowing 333.4 yards per game. Most of all the stats were in the top portion of the league.
Overall, with what we saw out of Mike Pettine and his aggressive defense, there are definitely some high points for the defense to move forward on and begin to put together for next year. I would say that the defense was the team that helped the Bills get to 6 wins on more than one occasion and it was the offense that struggled this year.
Defensive grade: B+
As for the offense, there was definitely some major ups and downs this year. The Bills and Nathanial Hackett worked with 3 quarterbacks throughout the year that had only 1 start between them coming into the season. There is a learning curve for both coach and player when it comes to bringing in two rookie quarterbacks and expecting playoffs.
I know that after watching Manuel and Kolb in preseason there was a definite change in the way the offense responded and performed on the field. Manuel was a definite leader but lack some of the skills as a rookie. Maturation will only fix some of these. Manuel also struggled with some basic throws that players of his caliber, at this point, should be able to make without a thought about it; swing pass for one.
Nathanial Hackett went through his learning curve and I hope he realizes that his presence on the field is one that seemed to work when he was out there. I hope to see him out of the press box next year.
The Bills offense finished in the bottom half off the league in just about all of the stats. One stat that they did finish in the top half of the league, 12th, was that of turnovers. They finished with a +3 in the category.
There needs to be some majors attention taken to the offense and the direction that they are going. They lost more games than won as a group and that is concerning.
I think that we will see more of an offensive turnover over the off-season than we will on the defensive side.
With all things taken into account the young talent that was on the offense, the offensive grade that I am giving the offense for the year is that of a C. They were about average and could improve, but they could have been worse for what they had to work with.
Offensive Grade: C