In my opinion the Patriots are beatable. Do the Bills have the talent to beat them? Maybe one win out of ten matches if they are lucky. Still, the Patriots are beatable. So what went wrong in the Sunday debacle in Ralph Wilson Stadium?
Winning a football game is not about the stats at the end of the game. It is about winning momentum throughout the game. It is about scoring at the end of drives instead of punting or turning the ball over. It is about forcing the other team into punting situations or turning the ball over.
In my opinion this game was lost when the Bills opted to kick that field goal on their opening drive. I would almost never say that in a game. But, you knew and I knew that the Bills were not going to win this one unless they got the momentum and kept it.
You don’t win the momentum by kicking a field goal. Field goals are for games that you expect to be close or for teams who already have a comfortable lead against an opponent. The sick thing is that Buffalo had the momentum during that opening drive. They were running the ball exceptionally well and pounding it down the throat of the New England defense. The momentum was building and building. Then they decided to throw the ball to an inexperienced receiver (unfortunately there aren’t any experienced receivers to throw to) who failed to drag his feet to the sideline even though he had practiced it again and again and again since playing high school football.
Kicking that field goal at the end of that drive was accepting that you were okay with the Patriots outscoring you. It was exactly what Dick Jauron would have done. If you are going to take a chance on fourth down, that is the place to do it. You don’t take that chance when it is forth and twelve when you are down 14-3. That is when you should have kicked the field goal.
So far I pretty much like everything Chan Gailey is doing except for his play calling. I can forgive him for kicking that original field goal when it was still zero to zero. Most people would have also kicked there and told me that I was nuts for wanting to go for it. I cannot accept his decision to go for it later in the first half when it was fourth and twelve from the Patriot’s 32 yard line. Kick the field goal and make it a one score game again. Why are you going for it there when you didn’t go for it on the opening drive?
As far as Stevie Johnson goes, he lost me as a fan. I want someone with better hands period. I don’t have time for this crap. You are paid to catch the ball. If you can’t catch, what the hell are you doing here? You have got to be able to go over the middle, catch the ball and hang onto it. What good is a guy who can’t be relied on to catch the ball? This guy will cost the Bills a playoff game if the Bills ever make the playoffs ever again. Nelson on the other hand catches every damn thing thrown his way. The only ball be dropped was one where he took a hit that knocked him out of the game. Nelson should be starting over Johnson.
We knew the Bills’ defense would have a hard time stopping the Patriots offense. Brady is too damn good. That is why momentum meant everything in this game. Once you lose momentum and give it to the Patriots you are done. They will cut your throat, slap you in the head and kick you in the groin when you are on the ground. If you can’t get a pass rush on Brady you are not going to win period. I don’t care who his receivers are. I don’t care who they have in the back field. Brady will beat you by himself if his offensive line does their job. In this case Brady didn’t have to do squat. The Patriots ran all over Buffalo as did most other teams this year.
People are going to blame this game on Ryan Fitzpatrick because of the turnovers. Yes a large part of this is probably his fault. He can still play for me though. That guy gave 110% despite the outcome of that game. Some of the mistakes he made were because he was trying to force something to make a big play. It all went against him today. I would rather lose a game with a guy who fights like that than lose a game because someone like Randy Moss took a play off.
Take away the turnovers and the Bills still lost this one in my opinion. Until you can stop the run, you are going to be a lousy football team.
That crappy ending to the home season sure isn’t going to help season ticket sales. Count me in though for another year of Sunday abuse in 2011. Eventually the odds have to come back around our way. Don’t they?