Buffalo Bills: Week 8 Stock Watch
Buffalo Bills Week 8 Stock Watch
The Buffalo Bills fought, but it wasn't nearly enough on Sunday as they fell to the New Orleans Saints by a score of 35-17. Despite the score the team didn't play horribly as a whole. While QB Thad Lewis as well as the running backs struggled in the second half the defense actually played a pretty good game to try and keep them in it. In the end it was just too much Drew Brees for the Bills to handle as he hit on pretty much every big pass that he threw, regardless of if there was perfect coverage or not.
The good news is that the Bills' secondary is coming together as it gets healthier. Sure they gave up five TDs to Brees, but two of them were perfectly thrown deep balls in which CB Nickell Robey actually had perfect coverage on the receiver. A third was on a broken coverage play where DE Jerry Hughes somehow wound up matched up with WR Kenny Stills, and two were to Jimmy Graham who only showed up in the red zone due to injury.
The defensive front always keep its high level of play up with four more sacks added to their total for the year. The Saints also had a subpar running game all day which was an improvement for this squad.
You really have to wonder if Lewis is starting to hit a wall after three games in the lineup. Teams have seen his repertoire now and most of his tendencies are on tape. He'll get at least two more starts, and he'll have to start protecting the ball better if he wants to lead the Bills to a few more wins before E.J. Manuel returns from injury.
Overall I saw improvements from the defense despite giving up 35 points while the offense looks like it's starting to stagnate. Here is the stock watch and who is up and who is down after Week 8.
Stock UP: WR Stevie Johnson
Johnson's gritty performance will be remembered around Buffalo both by fans and teammates. Stevie looked like he could barely run at times during the second half of the game yet finished with seven catches and 72 yards. He added a TD catch in the second half and continued to get open despite being hobbled by a hip injury. He could have had even more catches if Lewis wasn't felled by accuracy issues in the second half.
Stock DOWN: QB Thad Lewis
Lewis turned the ball over three times and struggled with some mighty accuracy issues throughout the game. Saints DC Rob Ryan had a good game plan to rattle Lewis and it paid off. Lewis never looked in comfortable all day long, and the Bills couldn't keep up with the Saints. You wonder if it's more about Lewis being figured out after three games or a DC being aggressive.
Stock UP: DT Kyle Williams
Williams has had something of an up and down season so far, but he was definitely up on Sunday. He had nine tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was big in the middle of the line along with Marcell Dareus and made it so the Saints' running game never really got going. When Williams is playing the middle like he did in New Orleans it could make things tough for opposing offenses to move the ball on Buffalo.
Stock DOWN: DE Jerry Hughes
Despite recording his first sack of the season on Sunday Hughes had a poor showing with an expanded role. Sure he is a pretty good pass-rushing specialist, but that appears to be all that he is. He replaced injured LB Manny Lawson in the lineup and was exposed as a liability in the passing game. If Lawson is out for an extended time Hughes will need to cede playing time to another LB because it's clear he can't handle Lawson's responsibilities on his own.
Stock UP: S Jairus Byrd
Byrd is returning to mid-season form in a nick of time for the Bills. He played a full game for the first time this season and held the line. None of the long TD passes by the Saints could be put on Byrd, and he was always where he was supposed to be to make a play on the ball. While he looks good in coverage now it should only be a matter of time before he gets his hands on the ball as he's adept to do in coverage.
Stock DOWN: S Aaron Williams
Despite a strong first half of the season Williams struggled against the Saints. He gave up two touchdowns to Graham and had some missed coverages against WRs as well. It's been tough for Williams to toggle between S and CB as he has for the Bills for the better part of the first eight games, but at a time when he should be settling into the safety role he is getting beat for crucial plays.