The Bills finished 8-8 in Rex Ryan’s first season after beating the Jets and knocking them out of the playoffs on Sunday.However; talent wise this team was a lot better than their .500 record shows. But, talent doesn’t mean anything in the NFL if it doesn’t produce wins. At the end of the day, this season is just another failure without making the playoffs.
The playoff drought is now 16 years, though the last few years have been close, Buffalo is still out of it when the season ends. These mediocre seasons of 8-8, or 9-7 last year, just don’t cut it. Sure it is fun to watch the Bills be competitive, but when does this team learn how to win close games consistently? All these seasons do is give us a draft pick in the teens, with no satisfaction of post season football.
Think about the very winnable games the Bills lost this season, Jacksonville, New England, Kansas City, Houston, Philly, the list goes on. Buffalo was the better team for long stretches of those games but couldn’t come away with the win. If the Bills find a way to win half of those games, they are in the play offs. The story was the same last year, different coach, same result, not winning games the team should have and it costs them a playoff spot.
It seemed like there was great improvement this year over last on offense. Tyrod Taylor has played better than any other Bills quarterback in recent memory. Sammy Watkins is starting to come in to his own when he gets targets. The left side of the offensive line and center Eric Wood were outstanding all year-long. When healthy, LeSean McCoy played very well, and when injured the running backs who filled in for him played well. However; the weakness of the offense was the game winning drive they never seemed to get. There were no clutch drives when the Bills needed it most.
On defense, what a regression from last year. The secondary played very well for the most part, but that was it. As a whole, they weren’t nearly as aggressive under Rex Ryan. There will be plenty of changes on this unit, most obvious being the probable release of Mario Williams. However; the talent is still there, no reason this unit can’t bounce back next season.
This team was supposed to be led by the defense, with an offense that could run the ball and manage the game. It turned out the opposite leaning on the offense to win games with scored in the 30’s. With a complete team next season there is no reason to miss the playoffs, but the Bills need to learn how to win the close games.
For the most part the team will be the same next season, same coach, same front office, same core players. It is up to Rex to create the winning culture that the Bills desperately need. Until he finds out how to do that the story will be the same, an under achieving team with playoff talent, but not a playoff record.