First and Five Wrap Up: Tennessee Titans
Buffalo Bills Wrap Up against Titans
Well another inexcusable loss by the team has everyone in panic mode this week. The Buffalo Bills managed to blow the game and found multiple ways to lose this week against the Tennessee Titans. However, while the offense stepped up to the plate and stayed on pace with the Titans, it was the defense that failed in all areas and eventually handed the game to the Titans on a silver platter.
While it would be easy to blame quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for the loss because of a late fourth quarter interception that allowed the Titans to march down the field and score on a 4th and 9, I would chalk that up to bad coaching and also horrible defense. There are moments that a team needs to step up and this was one of those moments. But the defense didn’t step up and the team lost in the final minutes of the game 35-34 to Chris Johnson and the Titans, who were considered much worse off than the Bills. At this moment, I am scratching my head, wondering if anyone is worse off than this team.
Now the Bills head into the bye week, along with a losing record and face the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots, both on the road. These should easily be marked in the loss column but I wouldn’t put it past the Bills to squeak out a win against one of these teams and give us poor fans some more hope, before eventually letting us all down. Let’s take a look at our First and Five to examine all the ways that the Bills managed to find a loss…
1- Defense needs to stop Chris Johnson
The defense did the exact opposite and may have jump-started Chris Johnson and propelled him into being the top running back that many have questioned. Not only did he have a good day, he pounded the ground for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills defense allowed a despicable average of 10.8 yards per carry from Johnson, including a break out run of 83 yards that resulted in a touchdown. The Bills continue to be the worst team when it comes to stopping the run in the NFL. With a front four that was considered one of the strongest in the league going into the season, to say the performance thus far has been a disappointment is a major under-statement. Mario Williams topped off the performance by declaring that he does not care what the media and fans think about his performance after seven weeks. That is sure to haunt him for as long as he remains in Buffalo. Rarely do Bills fans forget disloyalty when they have stayed loyal to this franchise. Just ask Willis McGahee.
2- Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to throw deep
Another day of short slants and slot receiver sets for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense. While it can be argued that Fitzpatrick had one of his best days of the season, he made a crucial mistake that sealed the deal and allowed the Titans offense to move down the field against the struggling Bills defense and win the game. Fitzpatrick threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns and managed to go touchdown for touchdown for most of the game with the Titans until the very end, when a deep ball was necessary. In the final drive, the Bills started their drive on their own 26 yard line and needed to go approximately 40 yards to give kicker, Rian Lindell, a shot at kicking a game winning field goal. Instead of moving down field, Fitzpatrick threw a six yard pass, followed by a two yard pass, and then threw two incomplete passes to turn over on downs, ending the Bills hope of going into the bye week with a winning record.
3- Get the ball to C.J. Spiller
Both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson had strong days. Spiller averaged 5.8 yards per carry and ran for 70 yards. Jackson averaged 7.9 yards per carry, running for 71 yards. For splitting carries, both did well. When it mattered most, however, and running time off the clock was the most important thing to do, Fitzpatrick threw a crucial interception. Coaching decisions are the lingering bitter taste on everyone’s tongue as people are left wondering why the Bills decided not to put the hands into the most reliable players on their team. Gailey continues to have too much confidence in Fitzpatrick. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who knew Fitzpatrick was not going to be able to march down the field in a minute and carry the team to a victory.
4- Defensive line needs to be consistent
The defensive line was consistent alright. The verdict is out and the Bills defense is consistently bad. The defense allowed Johnson to run all over the place, and also allowing old timer Hasselbeck to get right back in the swing of things. The defense did manage to get two sacks, but Mario didn’t and they also failed to force any turnovers. Hasselbeck was able to fire at will and just to pour salt in the wound, they allowed a touchdown completion with less than two minutes left on 4th and 9, which allowed the Titans to grab hold of the lead and never look back. It was disgusting and allowing the opponent to stay in the game and actually win when your offense puts up 34 points and even your special teams bails you out after giving up an 83 yard touchdown run, is equally disgusting.
5- Avoid three and outs
Before the final drive, the Bills were actually doing quite well. The offense was completing third down conversions at 64 percent and Fitzpatrick was 25 of 33 which is pretty respectable. Then, with one minute remaining and the Bills needing to, at the very least, cross midfield, the Bills threw two short check downs and failed to convert on third or fourth down and looked like amateurs. There you have it. The Bills choked, but at least they didn’t have a 21 point lead this time. What do you think the Bills need to do to go into the bye week with a winning record. You can also find my articles on twitter @christynepolle.