One week after being “basically” eliminated from playoff contention, the Buffalo Bills made it official on Sunday, after being hemorrhaged by the Washington Redskins offense at FedEx Field, 35-25.
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who leads the NFL in completion percentage, was 22/28 passing for 318 yards and four touchdowns, and added a 13-yard rushing touchdown. Washington running back Alfred Morris ran for 84 yards, while Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson reeled in six catches for 153 yards and a touchdown, while Redskins tight end Jordan Reed had 7 catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns on 16/27 passing, and added 79 yards rushing. Bills backup running back Mike Gillislee, who came in after an injury to starter LeSean McCoy, ran for 81 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown scamper. Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins caught 5 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
For Buffalo, it was a lost cause before the half was over. Washington went up 21-0 at halftime due to two Cousins-to-Reed touchdowns and Cousins’ 13 yard rushing touchdown. Then, after a Dan Carpenter field goal for the Bills, Cousins dialed up a 77-yard bomb to Jackson, and Washington led 28-3.
Buffalo would try to fight back, scoring the next 14 points, but the defense failed to stop a Cousins pass to Jamison Crowder on a 3rd-and-13. The failure to stop Washington there would end in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Pierre Garcon. Buffalo would get a late touchdown to Watkins in garbage time, and never got closer than the 10-point deficit they lost by to end the game.
Here are some postgame observations about Buffalo’s loss that officially makes it 16 seasons without a playoff appearance:
You Like That?!
- No, no I don’t. We need to call the cops and use those milk cartons, because any sort of competent Bills defense has gone missing. Cousins may lead the league in completion percentage, and Washington may be really tough at home (they finished 6-2 at home this year), but this was
par for the courseinexcusable by the Bills defense. The injury to cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the last straw of a halfway decent defense. Without him, rookie cornerback Ronald Darby has been less effective, and reserve cornerback Leodis McKelvin has become a new way to say “Burnt Toast”. Defensive end Mario Williams continues to show his frustration over the scheme, and it seems that the team’s belief in the scheme has been dissolved. The “Corey Graham as a Starting Safety” experiment is also proving to be a bust, as he is more comfortable on the outside. This team needs new faces on defense, in order to build a roster that can better utilize head coach Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes.
- Sorry, angry Bills fans, but this won’t be happening. The Bills are not 3-11, they are just 6-8. Rarely do coaches get canned for being “mediocre” after their first season. Ryan will remain the head coach. However, Ryan mentioned “changes will be made” during his post-game presser. What this means, no one truly knows. However, fans should realize that the head coach will stay, as it is very foolish (or Browns-like) to fire a head coach after just one season. During the 16-year span of missing the playoffs, Buffalo has had 8 coaches, including Ryan. How much MORE dysfunctional would the franchise look if the make it 9 coaches in those 16 years? The Bills would look even worse than Cleveland’s recent dysfunction if Buffalo were to fire a coach for a mediocre, but not insufferably horrific, year.
- Has anyone in the NFL figured out that Taylor-to-Watkins on a deep fly route is how Buffalo moves the chains and flips the field yet? Since when is chucking it deep to Watkins so unstoppable that you’d think it was Madden 2005, with Watkins having 99 speed and the corners unable to keep up? (Thanks to several of my friends, Madden scarred me for years…) But seriously, defenses have not become wise to Watkins being Taylor’s favorite deep ball target, which is stunning. It’s also frustrating to see the Bills not do it more if it works so much…
So, What Now?
- For the Bills, it’s going to be a 16th season without reaching the postseason. Buffalo is under a lot of pressure each year to make it, but now Buffalo needs to retool their roster, at least defensively. Mario Williams likely wants out. Pending free agent linebacker Nigel Bradham is not a fit. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams is not getting any younger, while safety Aaron Williams may retire. Add in the need for a nose tackle, and Buffalo needs 5 new defensive starters. Expect a defense-heavy draft class here, with a couple of offensive linemen added in: Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio has Crohn’s disease (so his future goes up into the air), guard Richie Incognito is an unrestricted free agent up for a pay increase and center Eric Wood is becoming less effective. Buffalo is also expected to look into adding another quarterback to provide more competition for Taylor and his backup EJ Manuel. If general manager Doug Whaley is still around for the next season, he needs to aid Ryan in getting the defense built to fit a 3-4 defense.
- Here are their needs in a list order: Offensive tackle, guard, center, 3-4 EDGE outside linebacker, inside linebacker, safety. That’s a lot to get together for a team that was 9-7 in 2014 under a conservative regime.
WHAT’S NEXT: Buffalo (6-8, 3-2 AFC East) gets the lowly Dallas Cowboys (4-10, 3-2 NFC East) to round up their battles with the NFC East, a division that Buffalo is 0-3 against this year.
Until then, happy holidays to all who come to read our work at BLTD Sports! We appreciate it every time you stop by. Also, happy belated birthday shout-out to one of our editors and hockey writers, Brayton Wilson! Tweet him a happy belated b-day @BJWilsonWGR
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