The Bills finally solved the Browns, though perhaps at the worst possible times in terms of meaning for the team. The Browns had trouble with ball control all afternoon, and the Bills’ defense responded to an early Peyton Hillis barrage to come up with a 13-6 win on a rainy Buffalo afternoon.
Some quick thoughts about the game:
-The defense once again got gouged in the run game by an opponent, yet managed to keep them out of the endzone and keep their points against down. After the pounding Hillis delivered on the opening drive, the defense responded by forcing some turnovers, and doing enough against the run to force Jake Delhomme to have make a few throws. I do think there are signs of progress there, but you can tell that defense does need a few pieces.
-Ryan Fitzpatrick played a very smart game for the Bills, and managed to do enough to keep the team on the field to control the game. Fitzpatrick has managed to make the team respectable, though I do think fans are getting a little carried away, because he’s replacing the immortal Captain Checkdown. While Fitz does not appear to me to be the long term answer, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he is probably the Bills’ best option at QB next year now that they’ve played themselves out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
-The Browns did a lot to beat themselves, certainly by being unable to hang on to the football. The turning point of the entire game seemed to happen on the Browns’ very first drive. They marched down the field, running the ball with ease against the Bills’ defense. The Bills managed to stuff them on 3rd and goal and the Browns feebly decided to kick a field goal from the one yard line. When the Bills were faced with a fourth and two in Browns territory, they went for it and showed that they were playing to win instead of playing not to lose. The Bills didn’t convert, and the Browns did make their field goal, yet I thought that those two plays defined the mentality of the teams on the day.
-Akin Ayodele has quietly been a nice pickup for the Bills. He has helped to solidify the defense and can be seen flying to the ball on many plays. He has some struggles at the point of attack, but for being picked up for nothing during the season, he has been a great fill in.
-C.J. Spiller showed some signs of being a legitimate running back for the first time. He ran hard inside the tackles and didn’t try to bounce everything outside. He had eight carries for 33 yards, and gave me hope for his future for the first time since the preseason. Fred Jackson has continued to be an outstanding back, and is still by far the better player at this point, but I hope C.J. continues to watch and learn.
-Jake Delhomme is terrible. I hope that for the Browns’ sake Colt McCoy can get healthy to get some more playing time and continue to progress. Delhomme is no longer a viable starting QB in this league.
-Delhomme and stalwart left tackle Joe Thomas found out what Brett Favre learned last week. I think it’s time the league takes heed: NOBODY CROSSES THE MOATS!