Buffalo Bills: Week 11 Stock Watch
Buffalo Bills Week 11 Stock Watch
The Buffalo Bills defeated the New York Jets handily on Sunday by a score of 37-14, and it may have been the best performance by the team all season long. While, the Bills dominated in most phases of the game, it wasn't a complete victory for the team, but it was as close as they have come all season long.
Front and center in the victory was a stellar bounce back performance by E.J. Manuel after a rough first start coming off of his knee injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers. What was more impressive about his performance was that he did it without Stevie Johnson or Robert Woods at receiver. What didn't work for the Bills was the running game. It was a disappointing showing by C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and co. and it's something that will need to be addressed moving forward.
The Bills were dominant on defense, and reduced Geno Smith to his worst performance to date. Smith didn't look comfortable in the pocket all day, and the Bills made him pay for it. They brought pressure up front and were winning one-on-one battles in the secondary, something that they failed to do in the first meeting between these two teams. The Jets didn't do much in the run game either, until a 69-yard run by Chris Ivory in garbage time.
Overall, there's not much to complain about if you're a Bills fan, besides the rushing offense. You'll also feel a lot better about your young QB than you did last week. It was a good week for the Bills, and they went into their late bye week on an extremely high note. We'll see how much it carries over, if at all.
For now, here is whose stock is up and whose is down after Week 11.
Stock UP: QB E.J. Manuel
As mentioned, Manuel had a big bounce-back game against the Jets this week. The Buffalo swirling winds were out in full force on Sunday, but that didn't deter Manuel in his first performance in the elements. The Bills thought that Manuel was the kind of QB who could withstand the weather when they drafted him, and it was a good first step from him. The fact that he did it with Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham as his primary receivers makes the performance all that much more impressive. If he can kept up the confidence that he had on Sunday when he has his full complement of receivers back, then he'll be poised for a strong finish to the season.
Stock DOWN: RB C.J. Spiller
C.J. Spiller is in a severe funk right now. There are some holes to be had, but he's just not finding them. Even when he doesn't have enough room in the middle of the line, he is bouncing too far outside and creating too many big negative plays in the run game. Losing five or six yards on a running play is the equivalent to a sack and shouldn't be happening with great frequency. Spiller needs to get his confidence back quick and play as the weapon that he can be.
Stock UP: DT Marcell Dareus
With all of the praise being heaped on Mario Williams and Kyle Williams this season, it's easy to overlook Marcell Dareus, but he may be playing the best out of any of the Bills' linemen. He set the tone for the game on the Jets' first drive when he absolutely hammered Smith and forced him out of the game for a play. Dareus has gone through stretches where he's been simply unblockable and a beast in both the run and pass game. It looks like Dareus is finally showing the talent that made him the No. 3 pick in the draft three years ago.
Stock DOWN: DE Mario Williams
It's not that Mario Williams has been playing poorly, it's just that he hasn't been making many plays. He is still putting a ton of pressure on the QB, but he hasn't had a sack in three games. Other guys like Jerry Hughes and Dareus have stepped up in the meantime, but at some point, Williams is going to have to be less of a decoy and more of a playmaker again. We'll see if he can get it going again after the bye week.
Stock UP: FB Frank Summers
Frank Summers has added a new dimension to the Bills' offense. They scarcely used former FB Corey McIntyre on offense, and Summers had a reduced role over the first half of the season, but he's been getting more plays as of late and he's made a difference. He has been a key lead blocker for the Bills and scored his first TD of the season on Sunday. The Bills have looked best on offense in a base set, so I'd expect to see plenty more of him down the stretch.
Stock DOWN: Bills Run Blocking
The Bills' running game put up their second straight stinker on Sunday. Sure, the Jets are the No. 1 rushing defense on the league, but that's no excuse for them to play as poorly as they did on Sunday. There just aren't that many holes to run through and the backs are getting jumpy as a result. Luckily, Manuel bailed them all out this week. The Bills have some favorable matchups coming up, so it'd be wise to get it back together quickly.