Wow. That’s certainly just one of the many words fans would use to describe today’s game. Just…wow! Buffalo returned home this week for their first game-action at New Era Field in just 2 days short of a month. They were fresh off the bye week, and were dealt the task of taking down the NFC South foe Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most knew it was going to be a tough game, but many didn’t anticipate the bout it would end up to be. Buffalo protected their home turf by pulling out a 30-27 in last minute, thrilling action. It was a roller coaster of a game and as always, had it’s fair share of highs and lows.
High: Tyrod Taylor
Tyrod Taylor came through today, especially in the big moments. That’s uncharacteristic of Tyrod Taylor, as the Bills were 2-16 in games in which they trailed by 4 or more points at any point in the game over the past couple of seasons. Taylor made key plays at key times, including some excellent rushes on broken plays, and a few key throws on the final drive to help Buffalo score. Tyrod finished 20/33 for 268 yards, with 1 TD and as usual, no picks. He managed to add 53 yards on 6 carries as well. This was a typical Tyrod game for me, but his ability to come through with a clutch offensive possession towards the end is what really made Taylor stick out today.
Low: Defensive Consistency
Buffalo’s defense has been stingy all season, giving up just 14.8 points per game all season. In addition, they typically only give up about 300 yards per game. Today, they gave up 27 points and nearly 450 yards of total offense. Tampa’s receivers were finding themselves able to slip underneath coverage with ease and pick up big chunks of 5+ yards everytime they caught the football. Bills defense also gave up the huge tying touchdown to OJ Howard after a blown coverage. This defense was not pretty today in coverage, but I think it’s an issue they can easily fix with more basic adjustments throughout the game.
High: The Run Game
The run game was back in action today in Buffalo. Led by LeSean McCoy, Buffalo tallied 173 total rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, with Shady picking up 91 yards as well as the TD’s. When there was room to be had, it was taken, and the Bills offensive line opened up several holes for Shady. Unfortunately, despite his shiftiness, I think Shady may have lost a step. To me, is no longer as quick as he used to appear in space. Then again, maybe he’s just getting used to having these holes open for him again. With the fullback Pat Dimarco leading the way for Shady today, it appears Dennison has made some adjustments and is looking to get this run game back into full swing.
Low: Time Management
The only reason why this “low” isn’t going to be talked about more is because the Buffalo Bills won the game, and they redeemed themselves late in the contest. Buffalo squandered a chance to get 3 points at the end of the half based off a poor play call, poor play execution, and failure to stop the clock. Not every game is going to turn out like this, and if the time management in key situations isn’t improved, it could prove trouble. With that said, Bills did a solid job towards the end by successfully killing the clock on the final possession of the game.
High: This Team’s Morale
Was there ever any doubt? The Bills have trusted the process, and the process rarely lets them down. No matter what the situation, this team never quite seems out of it. They’ve got no quit, no doubt, and no fear. The defense came up huge with 3 turnovers, one of which at a crucial time when Tre’ White came through with a forced fumble on one of Tampa’s drives to win the game. This team fears no one, and despite the struggles they face, they make up for the shortcomings with some key places at another place and time. The Bills will be riding high after their 4th victory this year, and this win was nothing short of fantastic. Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills!
There’s much work to be done, but this was a game that proved the Bills know where they should be, and stepped up to prove it. This was a game that many Bills teams of the past would have flat out lost. This year’s team is different. These are different players and Sean McDermott is a much different coach. They’ve got an even tougher task next week, as they host the Oakland Raiders who will be coming off of their own huge win and some extra rest. There’s one certainty for next week. This team will come out hot, and they will stay fearless. Thanks for reading, and as always, let’s go Buffalo!