Bills From First To Worst

By Brian Harrington

The Buffalo Bills have done something that they do pretty much every year disappoint there fans but this season was different. For the first time in 16 years, the Buffalo Bills were 4-0 and every single Bills fan was on cloud nine thinking that this team could make the playoffs for the first time since 1999 which was the dreaded music city miracle screw job and do any other fans realize that the last playoff game that this team played in they were screwed out of the game? Talk about a bitter feeling this one has lasted for nine years.

The Bills also for once believed that they had a starting quarterback for the future, a feeling that they did not have since drafting Jim Kelly in 1983 in Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards. There were a lot of fans last season questioning the draft pick when they already had another young quarterback in Tulane alum JP Losman but the fact that Losman had so many up and down games and showed absolutely no consistency caused head coach Dick Jauron to give the nod to Edwards mid season last year.

Since 1990 45 of the 53 teams that started the season 4-0 have made the playoffs and possibly every single Bills walked around wherever they live with a proud Bills cap and jersey on and actually for once had the record to back it up. Then the Adrian Wilson hit occurred in Arizona and that knocked Edwards out of the game with a concussion and they gave the ball to JP Losman who again proved how sporadic he is by going 15 for 21 but being sacked 5 times. Then the San Diego game arrived and the Bills played like a playoff team by shutting down Ladanian Tomlinson and stopping Philip Rivers from getting into a rhythm even without Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Schobel and fans were willing to give this team another chance and actually think that the Bills were for real.

Then the mental errors began in Miami with Trent Edwards and Robert Royal both fumbling the ball on Pop Warner plays and then Edwards again throwing a critical interception which threw the game away as well. The secondary as well did not do a good job of containing Ted Ginn Jr and Pennington just simply threw him the ball if he was open or not and Ginn gained a lot of yards after the catch. The defensive line also did not pressure Pennington at all during this game and the absence of Aaron Schobel was definitely felt.

Heading into the Jets game the Bills secondary was looking forward to facing Brett Favre and hoping to catch one of those interceptions that he notoriously throws but that only happened once and the running game pretty much ran over the Bills and only Marcus Stroud had a good showing against this team but he can’t do it alone and a rather unknown Abram Elam made a name for himself this game with a 92 yard interception return for a touchdown.

Week 10 the theme of this game was the same as week 9 a rather unknown name making a name for themselves this time against this Bills defense with Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushing for 105 yards and while the Bills did not have safety Donte Whitner and defensive end Aaron Schobel, this defense should have had a better game plan heading into this game considering the amount of touches Green was expected to get with New England so thing at the running back position.

There are a couple reasons that can explain why this team has lost the past 3 games and has collapsed from first to worst and here they are.

Schobel and Whitner’s Absence Hurting This Team

While Whitner has only missed one game his vocal leadership is being sorely missed. Whitner is not the kind of player that gets the headlines but his presence is definitely felt on the field and some say he was on track to having possibly his first Pro Bowl season Schobel on the other hand who has been to consecutive Pro Bowl seasons has missed the past four games with a foot injury and his absence has been the most felt on any side of the ball. This defensive line is simply not getting in the quarterbacks face enough and the other starter Chris Kelsay is not doing a good job at all in picking up the slack.

Beast Mode Has Been MIA

Second year running back Marshawn Lynch during his rookie year showed some great signs of giving fellow rookie Adrian Peterson a good run for his money last season and did have a great rookie season. This season however Lynch has rushed for 239 yards less than he did last season after 10 weeks into the season. The offensive line which presumably would be better in run protection after another year together without losing a starter has just done the opposite. Marshawn as soon as he gets handed the ball has two or three players in the backfield already and defenses have down a great job shutting Lynch down. Lynch could find more running room against the Browns, who have given up 160.6 yards per game on the ground since Oct. 12 – 30th in the league.

Robert Royal Not A Legitimate Number 1 Tight End

Tight end Robert Royal only has one touchdown this season and has a serious problem of dropping the ball when it is thrown directly at him. He also made a huge mistake when he fumbled an easy possession against the Dolphins which all but gave the game away. This team really have not had a solid tight end in almost a decade and look for rookie Derek Fine to get some reps due to his good hand control.

Offensive Line Needs To Protect

While this article may seem to be very harsh on this offensive line the truth is out there and that’s that this line needs to improve on every single blocking assignment or the Bills will lose a lot more than 3 straight. During the Bills 3 game losing streak Trent Edwards has been sacked nine times including 5 times against the New York Jets and the fact remains when Edwards has time he shows incredible poise and makes great decisions but when there is a player or two in his face this results in 5 interceptions as well in the past 3 games. All Pro left tackle Jason Peters decided to hold out all training camp and preseason and the end result has been very poor play on the left side of this line and he did nothing but hurt himself in earning a new contract because training camp and preseason is the most pivotal time to gel with your line mates not a few practices and the first game of the season.