Buffalo Squanders Early Lead, Bills Fall to 2-2 on the Season

In the first half, it looked as though Buffalo was going to put together a complete performance and defeat the Houston Texans, while exacting some sweet revenge on a former bearded Bills QB. Instead, the Bills fell to 2-2 on the season because they failed to hold onto their early lead. Some credit goes to Houston, especially J.J. Watt. His 80-yard pick six was the difference in this game. If Buffalo was able to score on that possession the outcome and grades could be much different. Speaking of how I’m grading their performance in this loss to Houston, let’s start with the offense.

(David J. Phillip/AP)
It was a rough outing for EJ Manuel. (David J. Phillip/AP)

In EJ Manuel‘s worst game of the season, it should come as no surprise that the offense as a whole, struggled. I’m not going to give them their first failing grade of the season, but a D+ isn’t far off. Manuel completed just 47% of his passes, had the aforementioned pick 6 and threw another INT as Buffalo was driving to potentially win the game late in the fourth. It was just not a great day for him. EJ did make two great plays though, and it is how they scored 14 of their 17 points. He showed amazing down-field awareness on an 80-yard bomb to Mike Williams to bring them back in the game and had a perfectly placed 5-yard strike to Sammy Watkins for the second TD of his NFL career. Those are the few highlights from the day though. The lack of run plays is also partially to blame for the offensive failure as well. Houston was absolutely destroyed on the ground by Rashad Jennings last week, yet the Bills failed to run the ball consistently. Spiller and Jackson looked good, but I’d just like to see them get more opportunities.

On the other side of the ball however, I’m giving the defense an A. They earned it. Houston may not be dynamic offensively, but they are still capable and other than a perfectly placed throw by Ryan Fitzpatrick to DeAndre Hopkins, they only allowed three points. They held the offense to 301 total yards, forced three turnovers – including this amazing interception by Leodis McKelvin. One of their biggest question marks after last season was run defense and while Arian Foster’s injury slowed him down, they held Houston to 37 yards rushing. THIRTY SEVEN.It is frustrating that the Bills weren’t able to do more offensively when the defense truly played well enough to win. The defense definitely did their part against the Texans.

Samuelson Slant Grade: C+

The team played pretty well and could have won if not for some correctable mistakes from EJ and a huge play by the best defensive player on the planet. What do you think, Bills Mafia? Was I too easy on the team after squandering a 10-0 lead? 

About John Samuelson

+John Samuelson is not your typical Bills fan, raised in Generation Drought, he brings a realistically optimistic viewpoint to the #BillsMafia. Enjoy the "Samuelson Slant" - his personal spin on all things Buffalo Bills.

6 Replies to “Buffalo Squanders Early Lead, Bills Fall to 2-2 on the Season”

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  4. Wow, you have an *amazingly* low threshhold for what you consider “amazing” down-field awareness.

    EJ’s mistakes are “correctable?” Tragic opinion. Even if we thought his horrific awareness/presence/decision making could be improved (VERY questionable), you can’t teach accuracy. You can’t “correct” “not good at throwing.”

    • Thanks for the comment Chris. You’re definitely right that it will be an uphill battle for Manuel to improve. The team drafted him as a project but thrusted him into a starting role anyway and it is painfully obvious at times how unprepared he is to be a starting QB. I do think he can improve given time, but like you I don’t want to wait another season either. As for my comment on his 80-yard TD pass, It’s not a low threshold for amazing downfield awareness so much as that was one hell of a nice play he made. He scrambled, avoided a sack, kept his eyes down field and threw an accurate deep pass on the run. It would have been easy for him to tuck and run instead or look for a dump off instead of hitting a wide open Mike Williams down field. If he made all his plays look that good he would have stayed the starter longer than 4 games, but Here’s to the start of the Orton era in Buffalo and I hope you keep reading my articles!

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