by Mario "Game" Granata
In the midst of the Bills biggest comeback in quite a while, there are still a few questions that remain for the 2014 Buffalo Bills. While tonight we sit and rejoice in the victory that takes the Bills to a 3-2 record, there were some mistakes in the game that need to be corrected for the Bills to make a playoff run.
The Buffalo Bills pulled off an impressive 17-14 comeback win against the 3-1 Detroit Lions, on an incredible 58-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter today. The Bills fans were privy to see something that they haven't seen in quite some time: a 300 yard passer by a Bills quarterback. Most of the Breakdown of the game will occur tomorrow night on the Monday episode of Hashtag Sports, that can be heard every Monday and Wednesday at 9pm, but here are a few observations from the game today.
Kyle Orton - For a guy to come off a couch 4 weeks ago, and not throw a pass in a game, preseason or regular season, and throw for 300 yards is remarkable. Orton stumbled at the start of the game (and who wouldn't) as the Bills offense sputtered out of the gates, but when Orton found his groove, the Bills, and their receivers, were very happy with his performance. There is still room for improvement for Orton (as much as a 10-year vet can improve) but his experience in the league allowed him to diagnose some plays at the line, and shift protections to keep Suh and Fairly off of him. If you watched as the game progressed, Orton was changing a lot of plays at the line, which resulted in the Bills moving the ball a bit more in the second half. Facing one of the best defenses in the league, Orton held his own...for now.
Jim Schwartz's Return to Detroit - Hanging in the background of the EJ Manuel/Kyle Orton debate in Western New York, was the return of Jim Schwartz to the team that he coached for the previous 5 seasons in Detroit. Anyone who has played the game of football, or coached, when you return to a place that released, or fired you, there is a little chip on your shoulder whenever you get the chance to face them. Schwartz planted that chip on the collective shoulders of his defensive players, and they played with reckless abandon, only allowing one offensive touchdown from the Lions. Now, true, Megatron wasn't a factor in the game, but the passion and fire that the defense showed for their coach was something special. Marcel Dareus also upstaged his counterpart Suh in this matchup, collecting 3 sacks.
Warrior Fred - Freddy Jackson proved once again that he is the heart and soul of this team running and catching for over 100 yards, fighting for every inch on Ford Field. A collective sigh went out from the fans in the 716 and all over when Jackson was laying on the field, but just as he would if he was out there, his teammates rallied and pulled out a victory. Jackson will be an integral piece of the Bills are to make a playoff run this season, and he never disappoints, always bringing his lunch pail and hard hat every Sunday.
Penalties, Miscues and Play Calling - The Bills were penalized 11 times for 74 yards, and the discipline has to improve on this team as a whole, because they can't continue to shoot themselves in the collective foot time and time again. With so many new players to this team, and rookies especially, they will hopefully find their groove and clean up some of the penalties.
Nickell Robey continues to be the weak link in the secondary, and with the injury early to Ron Brooks, Schwartz was forced to place him into the lineup. The third missed field goal by Detroit ended up saving Robey as he blew the coverage late in the 4th quarter giving up a huge gain to Golden Tate. Adjustments have to be made in the secondary for this team to stop other teams when they need to. You can only bend so much before you break.
Anyone who has played the game of football knows that the first 10-15 plays of a game are 'scripted' by the offense. That is, the offense comes into the game with a set of plays that they will run to start the game to see what types of looks that they get. Nathaniel Hackett hasn't veered away from his play calling all year, as 2 of the first 3 passes went to the running backs or short outs, but when the game took hold and Orton was able to gain a 'feel' for what was developing around him, he opened up the passing, including a 42 yard strike to Marquise Goodwin on the sideline. With the amount of talent that the Bills possess, Hackett needs to take the handcuffs off or else if the Bills offensive woes continue, he will take up residency next to Dennis Allen.
Check out all these points, and more, on Hashtag Sports' next episode, on Blog Talk Radio, tomorrow night at 9pm. Buffalo Bills vs Detroit Lions Breakdown. Click the Link, Stay for the Chaos.