Did you come here looking for something that would make you feel better about the Bills’ performance against the Packers? I may be an optimist, but I’m not a psychiatrist. Nothing I write will straighten out those ugly thoughts in your head. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.
I’m pretty good at finding silver linings. I’m still looking for them following the Bills shutout loss at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
I was looking for improvement Sunday. Not necessarily improvement over the show the Bills put on against the Vikings, because I knew that game was an aberration. I wanted improvement over the second half of the Chargers game. I wanted to see a young team continuing to put things together.
Instead, I saw a mess, pretty much everywhere.
Josh Allen finally looked like a rookie. Who but a rookie throws that wounded duck floater near the end zone to blow the best scoring opportunity of the day? Who but a rookie repeatedly fails to read the defensive front seven and identify where the rush is coming from? Who but a rookie holds the ball too long over and over? Who but a rookie hangs his receiver out there to dry on the hit that knocked Benjamin silly?
I’m a big Allen fan. All I can say about his performance Sunday is that most QBs have to make those mistakes to learn how not to make them.
The offensive line reverted to pitiful. Didn’t John Miller play pretty well his rookie season? I mean, well enough to look like a keeper? Aren’t players supposed to get better through the early seasons of their careers?
Brian Daboll should have had a sleepless Sunday night. Every team in the league, except the Bills, seems to be able to get receivers open for quick throws to wide outs on short patterns. Not the Bills. The Bills ran one wide receiver screen pass against the Packers, but they forgot the screen – there were ZERO blockers lined up wide when the Bills tried it. It was bubble screen without the bubble. Who runs a play like that? Where are the rubs, the slants, the sideline patterns? Yes, receivers were covered, but the QB and the receivers are supposed to recognize defenses and take what the defense is giving.
Nothing worked, all day. Nothing. Daboll was supposed to send his team onto the field with a couple dozen plays that will work against particular Packer sets, so that over the course of the game they can run 20 or 25 or 40 plays that actually work. The Bills had about 10. That’s like being in 8th grade and getting 10 correct on a 25-word spelling test. How am I supposed to make you feel better about that? “You should feel good, son. You spelled your name right”?
The defense wasn’t as bad as the offense. Giving up 22 points when your offense is going three and out and giving the ball away isn’t all that bad, not against a Hall of Fame quarterback playing at home. If that makes you feel better, I’m glad, but it gives me headache.
One thing that encourages me when the Bills are losing at halftime is that the McDermott Bills are a second-half team. They played better after intermission last season, and they’re doing it again this season, at least on defense. Of course, by the fourth quarter it was clear to everyone that the Bills could play another 60 minutes and still not score enough to catch the Pack, so everyone seemed to play the second half on cruise control.
The really black lining in the defense’s dark cloud is the absence of hitting. The Bills defense against the Packers looked like they were playing flag football. Why didn’t the ref call roughing the passer when Edmunds landed on Rodgers? Because of the total lack of violence, that’s why. The ref would have been embarrassed to say that Edmunds could actually hurt anyone with that hit. Lorenzo Alexander knows how to get after guys once in a while, but the rest of the defense plays patty cake. Look out, Tom Brady, here comes Matt Milano! I don’t think so.
The refs, of course, didn’t help, but that’s what you get when you’re a sad-sack loser playing the world champions at home. The Packers got away with an obvious hold of Hughes in open field on the Pack’s first possession. McDermott was right that the clock should have kept running at the end of the half, and it cost the Bills three points. Allen suffered a pretty obvious helmet-to-helmet hit on one of his sacks without a call. The replay clearly showed Allen’s knee on the ground with his hand holding the ball, fingers over the end of the ball, on the should-have-been-reversed fumble call. If the refs had gotten those calls right, and given the Bills a few more, the score would have been closer but the outcome would have been the same.
All you can do is forget about it and move on.
The Rockpile Review is written to share the passion we have for the Buffalo Bills. That passion was born in the Rockpile; its parents were everyday people of western New York who translated their dedication to a full day’s hard work and simple pleasures into love for a pro football team.
Editor’s babble: Yep, that about sums up Sunday’s game against the Packers. Let’s hope we get the “good Bills” against the Titans. Thanks to Mark Korber for his contributions to our blog. You can’t find Mark anywhere on social media. He’s a smart man.