Chicago @ Buffalo: Highs and Lows

Well that went as expected.  An absolutely gorgeous November day in Orchard Park very quickly turned ugly for the Bills, in a 41-9 loss, which dropped them to 2-7 on the year.  Just like that, McDermott and Bills have matched their loss total from last season.  Let’s jump right into the highs and lows from yet another beatdown and blowout, something that is becoming way too familiar around here.

Highs

Chris Ivory
Ivory has been the Bills most productive rusher this year.  Today he finished with 36 yards on the ground, averaging about 5 yards per carry.  Through the air he added 3 catches for 20 yards.  For as bad as the Bills offensive line has been (more on that later), Ivory continues to run hard and seems to find lanes to bust through.  In typical Bills luck, Ivory was injured late in the forth quarter and had to be driven off of the sideline and into the locker room, so we will wait to hear more on him as the week goes on.

Shaq Lawson
Early in the game, Lawson was everywhere.  He was flying.  Shaq finished with 7 tackles on the game.  I was one of the many who thought the Bills should have traded Shaq during training camp as I didn’t see much of a role for him mainly because he was a Whaley pick and because of the Murphy signing.  Well, with Murphy not being able to stay on the field, Shaq has built himself a nice year up to this point.

Stephen Hauschka
All the guy does is make his field goals.  I don’t care if it is just one per game like it was today.  Always dependable.  Hau$ch Money, indeed.

Nathan Peterman
I gave this one a lot of thought, but I have to give Nate a high today.  For the first time in his career, Peterman finished an entire game.  He also was the quarterback that lead the Bills to their 1st TD in 39 possessions.  The quarterback on the other side of that drought?  Nathan Peterman.  Back in Houston in Week 6.  The 39 possession drought was the Bills longest drought in 15 years, since the 2003 season which the Bills finished 3-13.  Nate Peterman was not the reason the Bills lost, as two of his interceptions weren’t his fault.  As a human, I admire his resiliency and he deserves a high today for not costing the Bills the game.

Lows

Offensive Line
All throughout training camp and preseason there were warning signs that this unit was going to be very, very bad.  And yet, nothing was done to address it.  So here we are at 2-7 with the offensive line being the primary reason for the offensive woes, in my opinion.  This was the first game where there were some serious internal shuffling during the game.  Vlad Ducasse was temporarily benched for Wyatt Teller and Jordan Mills was temporarily benched for Jeremiah Sirles.  Zero lanes for McCoy.  The look on McCoy’s face on the sidelines said it all.  It is hard to watch Allen, Anderson, Peterson get thrown to the ground before they complete their drop.  Anderson is concussed because of this unit.  McCoy was virtually in tears in the locker room last week because of this unit.  It’s unacceptable.  We will see if anything changes during the week during practice with the “top” unit.

Brian Daboll
Up to this point I have been under the belief that McDermott could not fire Brian Daboll after one year.  Firing two offensive coordinators in consective years would be a really, really bad look for McDermott.  What would be more concerning is that Daboll’s input was sought when drafting Josh Allen.  So to fire him and scrap the scheme you drafted your QB of the future around would scream that you have no idea what you are doing on offense.  However, I am starting to wonder if Brian Daboll should not only be fired…but make it through the season.  The man responsible for teaching and crafting this offense is instead responsible for one of the worst NFL offenses in the history of the league.  I still trust McDermott with making the right choices on how to get it going in the right direction.

Kelvin Benjamin
I though the Bills should have traded Benjamin last week at the deadline and gotten anything they could for him.  Instead, the Bills kept the roster in-tact.  Benjamin seems to be at his best with crossing patterns.  Contested balls, something that you think would be his strong suit, is something that he struggles with.  More drops from Benjamin today.  He dropped a beautiful would-be TD pass from Peterman in the endzone.  Benjamin does take some hard licks, but if he caught half of the balls that hit him in the hands, fans would lay off of him.  I look forward to the Bills upgrading this position in the offseason.

Final Thoughts

To me, the biggest news that came out of today is this tweet from Thad Brown.  As Josh Allen was entering the locker room before the game he told the security guard “we’re getting close.”  One more week and then the bye.  I would suspect three weeks from today we see Josh Allen lead the team out of the tunnel against the Jaguars at New Era Field and (hopefully) his weeks of rest benefited him.  We’re getting close, Bills fans.

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