Well that game definitely wasn’t for the weak at heart the Buffalo Bills keep us all on the edge of our seats until the last play of the game and defeated the Oakland Raiders 38-35 in Sundays contest. Through week 2 of the regular season the Bills are 2-0, lead the NFL in rushing and in points scored per game.
Sundays game showed what this 2011 Bills team was made of which is fight, patience and plenty of offense. After trailing 21-3 heading into the 2nd half the Buffalo Bills came out and scored on all 5 possessions of the 2nd half after somewhat of a stagnate first couple of quarters. In recent memory the Buffalo Bills offense has been less than lackluster however after a shortened offseason with no mini-camps or organized team activities the team has been impressive. Even more impressive since the team doesn’t have any new contributors to the offense, what they do have is a team that is a year older, and a year deeper into Coach Chan Gailey system. At this period last year the Bills were attempting to utilize 3 RBs Marshawn Lynch, CJ Spiller, and Fred Jackson, Trent Edwards was the starting QB and the defense was coming off a poor showing to the hands of the Super Bowl Champions Green Bay Packers. What appears to have helped this team is stability Ryan Fitzpatrick is the clear leader of the team, Fred Jackson is atop of the depth chart at running back and the defense have a fiery motor and attitude.
In the game the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders played a entertaining game at least for offense coordinators liking not so much for those on the defensive side of the ball. The Bills as mentioned above had success in the 2nd half of the football game mixing in the run and pass while controlling and having the Raiders on the ropes until the back and forth of the 4th quarter. While Oakland was missing key players to their team they had success against the Bills especially through the air attacking what was thought to be the most solid unit on the team the secondary. Defensively the Bills held their own against Darren McFadden holding him to 72 yards on 20 carries, much credit to the front seven on the defensive line. As the running game was being stopped Jason Campbell and rookie Danauris Morris was having a field day picking on 2008 1st round pick Leodis McKelvin. As credit is given to the defensive line for the stout run game defense it should be known the same line only accumulated only 1 sack an area that needs improvement. On offense RB Fred Jackson ran through gaping holes one which was 43 yards up the middle of the field which begin the furious 2nd half comeback. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been precise in his decision making spreading the ball around to an ailing Steve Johnson and former undrafted free agent David Nelson who led the team in catches with 10 and the touchdown catch heard across WNY.
While the Bills trailing heading into the 3rd quarter many may have thought this was the same old Buffalo Bills team that shows a good showing one week only to fail and not reach the same expectation the following week. This team has been fun to watch while only being in the 2nd week let’s put it in perspective, the Bills leads the NFL with 39.5 points per game it has the leading rusher in Fred Jackson and a defense that has been successful in key situations. I’m not sure if the offensive line has been given its due through 2 games it has given up only 2 sacks while facing 2 teams that has perennial pro bowl players on the defensive line. The line continues to pass and run protect well opening up lines that the public transportation vehicles could run through. Unfortunately I’m not ready to crown this team as playoff bound. I still have 2008 in my mind for those of you that may not recall, 2008 was the year the Bills started 5-1 only to finish the regular season a disappointing 7-9. This is a different team with a different head coach and regime but the Bills has yet to begin play within the tough AFC East however that will begin this Sunday versus the New England Patriots. The Bills must win within the division in order to be in playoff contention and that winning need to begin Sunday against a team the Bills haven’t defeated since the home opener in 2003.
Areas of improvement must begin with Leodis McKelvin it has been obvious that opposing QBs has decided to attack the struggling CB. McKelvin has all the athletic attributes that you could want but he has been lacking the proper technique, to many times he has given a 10 yard cushion to WR allowing them to easily get open and make plays. In Sundays game rookie Denauris Moore playing in his 1st game abused McKelvin multiple times with big catches finishing with 5 catches and 146 yards and 1 touchdown. While I’m not ready to call for his job and see rookie Aaron Williams gain more playing time, I would except for him to go back and look at game film and fix and work on his weaknesses at this point. Shawne Merriman has been all but nonexistent through the 1st 2 games of the season to Coach Gailey own admission the team has been cautious with Merriman but even while he’s in the game he has yet to be a factor or the player we seen in the preseason game versus Chicago that finished with 2 sacks. It being only the 2nd game I’m not overly concerned just an area that needs to be monitored.
The team was bit by the injury bug in Sunday’s game losing offensive lineman Kraig Urbik and possibly Roscoe Parrish for the entire season with an apparent ankle injury. Over the past couple of years the Bills has constantly led the NFL in player on the IR lets hope history doesn’t begin to repeat itself. With the injury to Roscoe Parrish I would like to see local product and fan favorite Namaan Roosevelt called up from the practice squad and see if he can contribute to this team. When given the opportunity during preseason Roosevelt made plays and caught everything that came his way before an injury ended his preseason and ultimately resulted in him being cut from the 53 man roster.
The Buffalo Bills head into Sunday game tied for the division lead with the 2-0 Patriots and Tom Brady visiting the Ralph with a win in this game the team will have much momentum heading in the game versus the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. As I finish this post ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck was asked if this Buffalo Bills team was pretenders or contenders and his response was pretenders so let’s go out and prove Mr. Hasselbeck wrong and show this team is primed for playoff contention.
Until next week hope you enjoy this post please provide feedback I encourage it!