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Episode 2 - Bills Bye Week Evaluations
The Week 10 bye week has come and gone, giving the Bills an opportunity to evaluate their issues, and finish the back half of the season strong.
Through eleven weeks, the Bills sit at 7-3, which is something that doesn't happen often at One Bills Drive. The culture has clearly made a turnaround, but the team isn't where it should be just yet. To look back on the last three years with disdain is not accurate, and to look back on the last three years overly confident is incredibly arrogant.
Th Bills have a generally favorable final six game stretch, with games against the Chargers, 49ers, Steelers, Broncos, Patriots and Dolphins left. Two of the six teams have winning records currently, but all have strengths that will challenge some of the Bills inconsistencies and weaknesses. This is a good time for the Bills to "get hot" and show the true potential of their very talented squad.
Offensively, the Bills have done relatively well throughout the first ten games, but need to approach their rush a lot different. Find balance, and not rely so heavily on the passing game. Defensively, they need to tighten up in rush defense, as the final stretch and playoff field features talented running games that can be a difference maker.
Podcast Hosts Matt and David take you through their observations and expectations for the remainder of 2020.
Episode 1 - Bills fall to a Hail Murray; What do they need to work on in coming bye week?
It's the most exciting way to win, but absolute worst way to lose.
The Buffalo Bills, up and leading over the Arizona Cardinals late in the game on Sunday, fell to one of the most devastating plays in NFL History, the Hail Mary. In what is now being dubbed as the "Hail Murray", DeAndre Hopkins caught a 40+ yard touchdown pass with not one, not two, but three Bills defenders on him, in one of the most incredible plays that fans have seen this season, and perhaps beyond.
To put the result on the game solely on that play however, would be incredible inaccurate, as the Bills lead most of the game, and their offense began to unravel in the third quarter. Two Josh Allen interceptions didn't help the Bills chances to maintain their 14 point lead, and, despite their significant final drive that ended with a 21 yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, it was not enough.
Though they are coming into a much needed bye week after 10 weeks of roller coaster football, the Bills have some work to do. While the secondary is starting to come alive, the rush defense is still struggling and Josh Allen needs to make better decisions on the field.
Believe it or not, the Dolphins are breathing down the Bills neck right now, sitting at 6-3, and an opportunity to only sit back by a half game next week against the Broncos. The race for the AFC East may not be as clear cut as many Bills fans would like to believe.
Episode 8 - Bills fend off pesky Patriots; look to continue building momentum against Seattle
It was seemingly a moment that everyone affiliated with the Buffalo Bills at any point over the last 20+ years had clamored for. The unofficial end of the Patriots stranglehold over the AFC East. While this New England squad looked much, much different from last year, they still admirably battled the Bills with the same tenacity that they always have, and didn't roll over for Buffalo.
Aside from the game sealing fumble from Cam Newton in the final seconds, the Patriots played smart football, never being too overly aggressive with their play calling, and putting themselves in a bad position. Their offense, outside of Cam Newton, James White and maybe Rex Burkhead, was made up of players that you would probably never have in your starting fantasy lineup. They were impressive, but that's the genius of Bill Belichick.
The Bills came out and played gritty football, and came out on top in a nail biter. It wasn't pretty by any means, but there were certainly some positives to come from it. The running game finally got some traction, which is something that many have been clamoring for. The defense continues to tighten up, and their "bend, don't break" style of play has led to the most crucial defensive stands happening when needed most.
There's a lot to build off of for this game, as the Bills prepare for their tougher stretch of schedule, starting with the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.
Episode 7 - Bills survive challenge by Jets; look to continue against Patriots
In a much needed victory, the Bills swept the Jets for the 2020 season. While New York put together a much better game plan this time around, it was not enough to keep the spunky Buffalo team down. The Bills now are 5-2 and move on to a much anticipated game against the New England Patriots.
The Jets led for the entire first half of the game, a surprising result for a team that hasn't led much all year. Their offense finding some rhythm against the Bills defense. Frank Gore ripped off several big runs, and the Jets passing game looked relatively effective. That all changed in the second half however.
A testament to the Bills defense, which has mostly been a first half team this year, they stopped any momentum that Sam Darnold and the Jets offense had built. Combining that with effective offensive play, that couldn't quite find the end zone, but moved the ball well enough for the Bills rookie kicker Tyler Bass to hit six field goals, and you have a gritty team victory.
While it wasn't the world-beating Bills victory that we hoped to see, it was certainly a step in the right direction after two losses to great AFC contenders. There was a lot to build off of in this game, as the team pulls itself up by the bootstraps and heads toward their much tougher portion of the schedule.
Episode 6 - Bills lose second straight; has opportunity to rebuild confidence versus Jets
The Buffalo Bills lost their second straight game on Monday Night, falling to the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. While the game wasn't as one sided as last week, the Bills didn't look to be there regular selves.
The first half was certainly brighter, with much better play calling on the part of Offensive Coordinator Brian DaBoll. With a decent mix of run and pass plays, the Bills kept it relatively close with Kansas City. Devin Singletary ripped off some big runs, and the Bills were acting like a balanced team, operating unpredictably, but the second half was a big regression.
On both offense and defense, the team regressed, and Kansas City had full control, and they never looked back. It certainly brings into question DaBoll's "offensive genius", and whether Leslie Frazier has a future in Buffalo. DaBoll, who was being looked at and discussed as a head coach candidate against sub par teams, isn't proving to be effective against the best of the NFL. Frazier looks to potentially be the deserved scapegoat if this Bills team underperforms.
Buffalo can get back on track against the inferior Jets next week, as they return to their normally scheduled game days. It's been a rough few weeks, but a game against the Jets could be what the doctor ordered.
Episode 5 - Bills blown out by Titans; Can they rebound against Chiefs?
It was a rude awakening for the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday evening, as the Titans had their way with the AFC East front runners. The Titans were never behind on the scoreboard, as they picked off Josh Allen twice on the day, and moved the ball effectively at this regressed defense.
However, it's not time to panic, Bills fans. It was a strange week, uncertain that these two teams would even play. With the Titans COVID situation, which seems to have been found that they followed all protocols by the NFL, Buffalo was forced to game plan for two top teams in the AFC. Though there are flaws, it is only one game.
Tennessee had their way with the Bills defense, who was surprisingly missing several key pieces, including Tre White. There were several highlight reel plays against the Bills waning defense, especially the stiff arm of Josh Norman at the hands of Derrick Henry. The regression may have some folks calling for the removal of Leslie Frazier, if this season doesn't end the way that many believe it can; a Super Bowl appearance.
The Bills looked out of sync offensively as well, missing John Brown and Zach Moss. Despite Brown being out, who is unquestionably the number two wide receiver, second to Diggs, Cole Beasley received minimal looks, including no targets in the first half. It was a terrible performance on both sides of the ball.
Listen in as Bills Wire podcast hosts Matt and David take you through the night's action.