by Mario "Game" Granata
Many Bills fans, when looking at the game, will immediately point to the laundry that was on the field, and the lack of execution for the Bills offense, but taking a deeper look at the game, the Bills played as poorly as they could, and were still in a position to get back into the game against the Patriots. A number of penalties, poor secondary play, and suspect offensive line play served to be the proverbial dagger for the Bills, as they dropped to 3-3 on the season. In all three losses that the Bills have had, they showed their youth and inexperience, and even though they have played poorly in all their losses, they were still IN games before the final whistle blew.
Kyle Orton – After coming off of the couch and not taking a snap for 4 weeks (and in the preseason) Kyle Orton nearly threw for 300 yards in consecutive weeks as he did all he could to keep the Bills in the game. There were some questionable calls that went against the Bills to the tune of 8 for 107, and even with that, the Bills were in a position to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Orton used his veteran experience to diagnose some plays at the line, and made some quality throws, and one would assume that he is only going to get more comfortable as the year progresses. One can only hope.
Running Game – I was very pleased that the Bills decided to utilize Anthony Dixon more than he has been used, but his presence in the second half was non-existent. But, when the Bills are down 20-7 in the third quarter, the play calling had to adjust to getting back into the game. CJ Spiller saw a significant drop in his touches, which was probably the result of his inability to read the holes and get up field.
Offensive Line – For the third straight game two rookie lineman played a majority of the game, and for the first time in three games they looked like rookies. Seantrel Henderson and Cyril Richardson had trouble with the Patriots front 4, which led to rushed throws by Orton and minimal gains on the ground. The Bills offensive line has played some of the best defensive lines that the league has to offer, and this will only serve as a starting point for them as they move forward in the 2014 season.
Rush Defense – The Buffalo Bills played very well against the run holding the Patriots to 1.9 yards per attempt (27 rush, 50 yards). They were able to once again knock out the starting running back for the opposition (Knowshon Moreno, Danny Woodhead) and held the Patriots in check.
Pass Defense – The absence of Aaron Williams was apparent for the Bills, as Tom Brady ran his record to 23-2 against the Bills throwing for 4 touchdowns against a confused and sub-par secondary. The primary target for Brady was Duke Williams, as an early pass interference call led to the first Patriots score, and many broken coverages during the game, led to first downs for New England. McKelvin and Gilmore were also abused as 3 different players topped 90+ yards receiving (LaFell 4-97, Gronkowski 7-94, and Edelman 9-91). The front four for the Bills were able to create some pressure on Brady, but if the backend isn’t holding theirs, the Bills are going to have a very rough year. Which begs the question, where is Corey Graham?
All in all, a very disappointing performance from the Buffalo Bills as they prepare for the Minnesota Vikings next week at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Hopefully this loss will be a wake up call for the Bills, because as was said on a previous episode of Hashtag Sports, if the Bills go into the bye week with a .500 or worse record, don’t expect Nathaniel Hackett to see the end of the season.