Bills D does about face in all important win

November 20, 2016
It was not a pretty football game.  There were plenty of things NOT to like about the Bills performance in Cincinnati on Sunday but they won.  At this point, with the Bills season on life support, that is ALL that matters. 

I’ll be honest with you, I was having different thoughts at halftime.  I was getting ready for the “I’m done with this head coach” show, something I’ve had a little experience with over the 16 year drought.  The Bills were trailing 12-10 and the defense, at the end of a week where they were essentially hit with a wake up call in the form of starters jobs up for competition, was rather unimpressive.  

The Bengals only had 12 points but they ripped off 18 first downs, were 6-8 on 3rd down, had the ball for just under 18 and a half minutes and were 2-2 in the red zone.  The Bills defense, outstanding in the red zone earlier in the season, has now yielded a touchdown on eight of the last nine trips inside the 20 by the opposition.  

All I kept thinking was the heck with continuity.  Rex Ryan was brought in to make a really good defense even better and they’re getting worse.  Then they played the second half and the Bills defense looked like a different group.

No question, the injury to star wide receiver AJ Green on the first drive of the game made the Bengals less dangerous.  Maybe the Bills didn’t realize it and were told about it at halftime. Ryan’s group pitched a shutout in the second half and they had to.  The Bills held Cincinnati to just 110 total yards in the second half and gave up just five 1st downs.  The Bengals were just 2-7 on third down and their time of possession plummeted to 9:21.

With the season on the line, the defense rose to the occasion and sealed the deal on a day when the Bills offense was practically paralyzed after losing both Robert Woods and LeSean McCoy in the first half.

Buffalo took the lead 13-12 at the start of the third quarter when Dan Carpenter absolutely crushed a 54 yard field goal and then the defense went to work.

On the Bengals first possession, it ends on a 3rd and 10 incompletion thanks to perfect coverage by Kevon Seymour.  He should have had an interception on the play as the Andy Dalton pass sailed through his hands.

On the next Bengals drive, Corey Graham had a perfectly timed hit on a 3rd and 10 pass to Brandon LaFell, finishing off a three and out. After another three and out, it was Kyle Williams’s turn to make a big play on a day when the veteran defensive lineman was an absolute terror.  With Dalton back to pass on a 3rd and 5, Williams pushed an offensive lineman back into his quarterback forcing Dalton to make an errant throw. 

On the next Bengals drive, Dalton was off target on a 3rd and 2 pass to Gio Bernard but Corey White was right there and in position to make the tackle that would have kept Bernard short of a first down.

The Bills defense had a stretch where they forced four straight three and outs and the Bengals mustered a mere 14 yards in those four possessions.

While the Bills were nursing a one possession lead for the final 25 1/2 minutes of the game, Cincinnati got no deeper than the Bills 27 and that came on the second to last play of the game.

The beleaguered defense badly needed a game sealing showing after a very forgettable stretch against Miami, New England and Seattle that fueled a three game losing streak.

Now its time to cross your fingers and hope the injury news, which seemingly has been bad all season, isn’t bad after this game.  McCoy left with a dislocated finger and will undergo surgery on Monday but its possible he could play against Jacksonville.

 Robert Woods is awaiting MRI results on his injured knee and the Bills are hoping he didn’t suffer any ligament damage.  Woods being out would further deplete an already thin receiving corps although Sammy Watkins will have a CT scan on his foot Tuesday so perhaps that will produce some good news.  Watkins is eligible to return for the game against the Jags, if he is healthy enough to play.

The Sabres snapped a six game losing streak by beating Pittsburgh.  The Bills put an end to their skid with a win in November, something that hasn’t  happened nearly enough over the last 16 plus years and my son surprised us by coming home a day early for Thanksgiving break.  I’m in a very good place…for now.