So much for the Buffalo Bills finishing the regular season 16-0, Sunday the Cincinnati Bengals handed the Bills their first loss of the season 23-20 as Mike Nugent kicked a last minute 42 yard FG as time expired. This week it was the opposing team who had to make the 2nd half rally for the come behind victory.
Heading into the game many media and fans considered this game to be a trap game, as you may recall in last week blog I mentioned the same. While I don’t think the Bills took the Bengals lightly leading 17-3 going into halftime, they did squander a 14 point lead while its not a huge lead it was definitely sizeable enough for the Bills to leave Paul Brown stadium with a win.
The Buffalo Bills defense of 2010 reared its ugly head yesterday as the defense gave up close to 180 rushing and close to 500 yards in total offense. Shawn Merriman was credited with his 1st sack as a Buffalo Bill on QB Andy Dalton, the sack wasn’t the punishing helmet to the chest sack I’m sure we all envisioned when Shawne Merriman was resigned to a 2 year 10 million dollar deal prior to the lockout but simply a QB chase outbound. As I prepare to finish this post now Jet outside linebacker and former 1st round pick of the Buffalo Bills Aaron Maybin was credited with a sack fumble on QB Joe Flacco. That was the pass rush the Bills sought when taking the undersized linebacker out of Penn State.
The highest scoring offense in the NFL was held to just 20 points by the Cincinnati Bengals who at the time of the game held the 3rd rank defense overall in the National Football League. Ryan Fitzpatrick who previously in the week was awarded the AFC player of the week award, had a pedestrian 198 yards passing and the first time this season finished with no passing TD. Defensive end and current rookie Marcel Dareus recorded his 1st sack in the 2nd quarter a feat we all hope to see early and often.
In the 4th quarter with the Bills leading by a lone TD a somewhat controversial call was made by the referee on a 3rd & short play, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick hit WR Steve Johnson on what seemed to be a 1st down completion, however after further review from the referees and with the aid of instant replay the call on the field was called an incompletion. We are all familiar with the notorious drop Steve Johnson made last season in overtime game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers but in this situation it appeared he made the play that would have allowed the Bills to keep possession and take more time off the clock, however the officials didn’t see it that way and stuck with the ruling of an incomplete pass. Safety Bryan Scott had the other TD of the day for the Bills on a deflected pass that he was able to return for a TD which would’ve been his second score of the day if not for a early fumble return being called back.
Coming into this football season the front office knew the area of need was in the middle of the defensive line. While the front seven seemed to be much improve in stopping the run before this past Sunday’s mishap. The cornerbacks have been attack by rookie WRs, first rookie WR Denauris Moore of the Oakland Raiders and then Cincinnati rookie AJ Green who’ve all been covered by 4th year player Leodis McKelvin.
Against the Patriots McKelvin bounced back from the Moore shalacking with a interception while covering Chad Ochocinco but in Sundays game it was AJ Green with the upper hand in the battle. McKelvin was drafted with the 11th overall pick out of small Troy University and as had very little impact for someone being drafted that high. In memory McKelvin has had more lowlights than highlights throughout his career. In the season opener in 2009 with the Bills leading versus the Patriots he decided to bring the ball deep from his own endzone only later to have the ball stripped and recovered by the kicker. The Patriots scored on the ensuing play for the victory, his front lawn was later victimized as a result. Last year Sidney Rice first game back hip surgery while playing with the Minnesota Vikings he repeatedly beat McKelvin to the tune of 100 yards receiving and 2 TDs. And then there’s this year rookie WRs out playing McKelvin constantly. In memory McKelvin has had 1 great game which was his rookie year versus the Kansas City Chiefs in which he had 2 interceptions with one being returned for a TD, I would say he is due for a breakout.
The Buffalo Bills will look to bounce back from their 1st defeat of the season when they face Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles who also will be looking for a victory following their 4th quarter collapse to the San Francisco 49ers. Philadelphia brings a potent offense to Ralph Wilson stadium on Sunday and the Bills will need to show what type of resiliency they have going up against such a talent laden team in the Eagles.
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Until next week!!