Game Review and Gassers: Patriots at Bills.


Well, that stunk. In one of the biggest games in recent memory for the Bills they laid a big fat egg at Ralph Wilson Stadium yesterday. It wasn’t all bad, but there was more bad than good and once again Tom Brady proved to good for the Bills to beat. He is now 22-2 against the Bills in his career. Let’s take a look at why the Bills failed to improve to 4-2 and take sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

Ralph Wilson Stadium was rocking yesterday and with everything in place for the Bills to make a statement to the NFL that they are ready to return to the playoffs they fell flat on there face. It was very similar to the week 3 game against the San Diego Chargers where the Bills could have improved to 3-0 by beating one of the best teams in the AFC. Instead they played flat football for the majority of the afternoon and lost the game. Don’t let yesterdays final score fool you…these two teams are much closer in quality than many people think, it’s just a shame that the Bills didn’t show up so we could see how the outcome would have been different if they did.

The one thing I talked about last week and in my game preview was that it was imperative that the Bills defensive line pressured Tom Brady and made him uncomfortable. Instead of doing that the Bills let Tom Brady sit in the pocket for most of the afternoon and pick apart the Bills patchwork secondary. I’ll give the secondary a partial pass because the Bills were without both starting strong safety Aaron Williams and fill in Duke Williams was torched by Tom Brady again and again. The problem is that to compensate for secondary struggles a defensive coordinator should BLITZ, BLITZ, BLITZ and hope the BLITZ gets home, not sit back and let your inadequate secondary get burnt like toast.

For everything Jim Schwartz did right in Detroit last week, he did wrong yesterday. The defense really let down the Bills yesterday. For all of the offensive sides struggles (and I’ll get to that in a bit), it was the defense that failed yesterday. Every single time the Bills offense scored to get them back in the game the defense responded by letting the Patriots march right back down the field and score. The most glaring of all was when Kyle Orton pulled the Bills within 8 with about 6 minutes left and Schwartz only blitzed 3 players on a 3rd and 16. The result? A 17 yard completion and a first down. No excuse for only sending 3 players in that situation. Blitz Tom Brady and you are likely looking at the Bills having the ball around midfield down only 8 points.

Before I talk about the offensive side of the ball and it’s struggles, I would like to address the refereeing. Once again it was absolutely horrendous. Yes, the Bills made some bad penalties. The worst of which was Duke Williams pass interference in the end zone when he pushed the receiver to the ground a good full two seconds before the ball arrived. If he waits and turns around he probably has an interception. Anyway, the officiating was terrible and it’s become infuriating that every single time the Bills make a big play the yellow flag comes flying in late. I was at the game yesterday, and I could be wrong, but where was Doug Marrone’s emotion? In week 1 he flipped out on the officiating crew and the bad calls stopped. No so much yesterday. Marrone can’t sit back and let his team be screwed over and over again. The Bills need to file a formal complaint with the league because this is getting ridiculous.

Now onto the offensive side of the ball. I’ start right away by saying I am done with Nathaniel Hackett. The guy cannot call a game to save his life. It’s so predictably bad at this point that it’s not even funny. Yesterday he did not even get creative until the Bills where down by 16 points. The result? The Bills began moving the ball and scored a touchdown. Hopefully this serves as a lesson in play calling for Hackett but I doubt it. I have lost all confidence in this guy to call a good game plan. He looks inept, clueless, out coached, and in over his head. The best thing for the Bills at this point would to let Doug Marrone call the plays or move on from Hackett immediately. He is clueless.

Now onto CJ Spiller. He needs to be benched. His fumble yesterday before half that resulted in another Patriots field goal was inexcusable. A veteran like Spiller needs to know the game situation and needs to display better ball control than that. Outside of the Miami game Spiller has been a huge bust this year. For someone who is playing for a contract I would have expected better. He doesn’t even look like he cares. I think it’s time to bench Spiller and let Bryce Brown play. If Spiller’s elbow injury yesterday causes him to miss some time it might be a blessing in disguise.

I thought Kyle Orton played fairly well yesterday. His interception was bad and he held onto the ball way too long on the strip sack but he threw for about 300 yards again and moved the chains well when he needed to and got the Bills within 8 at the end and if the defense could have made a stop who knows what could have happened at the end. Orton is beginning to develop some on field chemistry with his receivers, with Scott Chandler going over 100 yards receiving, the first Bills tight end to accomplish that since 1992. Orton needs do better in the turnover department though, because 3 in 2 games is too many.

Now let’s hand out our 3 gassers for yesterdays loss:

1) Nathaniel Hackett: I detailed my disdain for him above. He is not an NFL caliber offensive coordinator and if Doug Marrone keeps letting him dial up the same crappy plays over and over again it’s going to cost him his job. Hackett needs to be relived of play calling duty or get his act in gear soon or the Bills will continue to be limited by his ineptness.

2) Jim Schwartz: Schwartz’s inability to game plan around the fact that he has the best defensive line in football and the Patriots have one of the worst offensive lines in football was mind boggling. Why he decided to keep Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes on the sideline on the biggest play of the game (3rd and 16 with 5 minutes left) and only blitz 3 players is beyond me. Schwartz needs to do a better job game planning around passing offenses because both that he has faced this year (San Diego and New England) torched him. If the Bills secondary is as bad as it’s looked at times this year than he needs to game plan to hide it by blitzing more. It’s not rocket science.

3) CJ Spiller: This guy has been a huge ZERO this season other than his kickoff return against Miami. He just can’t fumble that ball and his reluctance at making contact this year his disgusting. How many times do we have to watch Spiller dance around outside for a 5 yard loss before the Bills bench him? If there is a team that would dare give the Bills a first round draft pick for Spiller it’s time to pull the plug and make the deal. Spiller needs to shape up or ship out, period.

Despite the loss the Bills are still 3-3 and only a game out of first place. The next two weeks feature very winnable games for the Bills (home against Minnesota and on the road against the Jets) before the bye week. The Bills need to take advantage of that and win both games because if they can head into the bye at 5-3 than things will be looking bright heading into November for the first time in a long time.