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These Bills took the phrase “Squish the Fish” quite literally! The Defense was dominant in Week 2 against Miami.
The Bills were dominant on Sunday. I predicted as much, but it was nice to see it actually happen. The defense was stifling, only giving up ten points (and that, aided by questionable calls by the officials) to a team who scored 33 points one week earlier!
Special teams was also dominant: punt block, kick return TD, punts downed inside the 20-yard-line, and 17 points from the kicker! CJ Spiller was named the AFC Special Teams player of the week (Dan Carpenter received that honor in Week One!).
The offense is not half-bad, either, with EJ Manuel leading the league in completion percentage of passes of 20 yards or more in the air. (Yes, leading the league!) Sammy Watkins was wide open much of the day, and looked very worth the trade up to get him. (He was also named Rookie of the Week for Week 2!)
Another good thing about this Bills team is the way they respond. In the Bears game, whenever Chicago would come back to tie up the score, the Bills had an answer. Miami scored two times in the second half to get within six points of the Bills, but both times the Bills answered to extend their lead. (The second time they never looked back.)
This all happened on a day when Ralph Wilson Jr. was immortalized on his Wall of Fame in gold letters, Jim Kelly received a 90-second standing ovation, and every Buffalo football fan was euphoric from the news that a local family (with loads of cash) will be buying the team and keeping them here forever! (Or close to it…)
It was a GOOD week.
The Bills were dominant for the whole game, but they still had some trouble scoring in the Red Zone. The plays were there (two passes that could have, should have, gone for scores were missed or dropped). It will happen, but settling for field goals will not work against better offensive teams.
The only other bad might be injuries, but the good news there is that the Bills are one of the healthiest teams in the NFL so far this season. (When was the last time we said that?!) Sammy Watkins looks hurt every time he touches the ball, but he’s still making lots of plays. So it’s not that bad, right?
The Refs deserve honorable mention here with many questionable calls on the Dolphins only scoring drive. But… we won. So who cares?
The nominees for the 2015 NFL Hall of Fame class were announced this week. More than a hundred names from football’s near and distant past, and several of them have ties to the Buffalo Bills. All-time favorites like Cornelius “Biscuit” Bennett, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker and Fred Smerlas made the list, as did the late Kent Hull, who does not receive as much credit as perhaps he should for the success of those Bills teams of the 1990s. (Maybe he now will?)
Here are the nominees with Buffalo connections:
- LB Cornelius Bennett
- C Kent Hull
- HC Chuck Knox
- HC Lou Saban
- NT Fred Smerlas
- LB Chris Spielman
- LB Darryl Talley
- ST Steve Tasker
- CB Troy Vincent
- NT Ted Washington
In other news:
- The Bills are favored by 2.5 points over the “apparent favorite” Chargers. Due to their much greater success over the recent past, as well as last week’s win over Seattle (by 9 points) most are picking the visiting Chargers to win over the also-undefeated Buffalo Bills. But Las Vegas had them as 1-point favorites to start the week, and that has only increased all week, to the 2.5-point spread here on Friday night.
- The Chargers lost their starting RB Ryan Matthews for a few weeks, and have a list of players who were limited or did not practice this week that include several starters on the offensive line. The Bills on the other hand will be missing only two or three players this week, and have been relatively injury-free so far this season. That’s a welcome change from the past decade, or so, where it seems Buffalo generally has the worst of the injury bug in the whole of the NFL!
Speaking of injuries… how crazy is it that Eric Wood was once thought of as injury-prone, but now we don’t give him a second thought as the rock, the core of the Bills rather solid offensive line? Crazy!
And how about all the hullaballoo regarding the ineptitude of the Bills starting QB before this season. Calls for EJ Manuel‘s head (or at least his position on the roster) were frequently and vociferously shouted wherever they might be heard. But after two weeks of arguably much more than “game management” (see stat above, and his 7.8 yards/attempt) Manuel has almost completely silenced his critics—after just two weeks! Crazy!
Up Next: San Diego Chargers
The Chargers just beat the Seahawks. (Yes, those Seahawks.) It took a nearly-perfect game from their offense, but it worked, and they won. Can they do that here? They were 5-3 on the road last year, including many wins in the Eastern US. And they won a playoff game in Cincy. They’re not afraid of the eastern time zone.
The Chargers will definitely be a challenge. Philip Rivers has a greater than two to one touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio over his career, and I believe last year threw 32 TDs to only 11 INTs. That’s impressive. He is definitely no Jay Cutler (who is happy to share the ball with his opponents). But the bottom line from my view of their win last week: they were nearly flawless. Seattle didn’t play badly, San Diego made every play they had a chance to make. That does not happen every week. It really can’t.
This game is important. Later in the year, we might be kicking ourselves if we don’t get this win at home against a team we will likely be battling for a wild card spot. (Unless we win our division of course!)
Buffalo’s defense, at home, with a mistake-free offense… (the Chargers apparently have a very good run defense, so it will be interesting to see what Buffalo’s very good run offense can do against them) the Bills have a great chance of taking advantage of this September game on their home field and finishing with the victory, going 3-0 for the second time since 2011.
(More on the differences between 2011 and 2014 next week, if in fact my prediction is accurate…)
Bills Win: 31-27
This may be a weekly series of very short reviews of the Buffalo Bills 2014 season, game by game. Or it may not. Stay tuned!