Bills rolling along

October 16, 2016
I can get used to this Bills winning thing.  Its fun.

The Bills did what many fans expected them to do, blow out a bad San Francisco team. That’s a good sign. The Bills have had plenty of moments over the drought where they struggled to a win a game you thought would be a cake walk. There have also been times where the Bills would end up losing, leaving you wondering why you do this to yourself.  Sure, this game was tight until the Bills blew it open with three touchdowns in a seven minute span covering the third and fourth quarters, but it never felt like a game where they'd break your heart.  

The offense was destroying San Francisco’s 31st ranked run defense and the Bills defense was getting the better of the matchup with the Colin Kaepernick led Niners offense.

The Bills took care of business and took advantage of the schedule which is exactly what you have to do if you’re going to make the playoffs in the NFL.  

After the Bills beat Arizona to break into the win column at 1-2, some fans were upset that Jeremy and I weren’t celebrating enough during Bills Football Monday on WGR.  While that victory saved the season at that point, it would have amounted to a brief stay of execution if the Bills didn’t run off a string of wins. One look at the schedule and you knew it was not only imperative but extremely possible.  A five game win streak, something the Bills haven’t accomplished since 2004 was attainable.  The Bills are now one win from pulling it off. 

Yes, they’ve beaten Jacoby Brissett, Case Keenum and Kaepernick in this streak but who cares!  As the late Al Davis said, just win baby and the Bills are doing that.

This victory was truly a complete performance as the offense, defense and special teams all did their fair share.  Le Sean McCoy continues to look like the guy who was one of the best backs in the league when he was in Philadelphia.  McCoy ran for 140 yards on 19 carries, made plays when nothing was there, zipped through holes opened up by his blockers and remains the best part of the Bills offense.

 When he went down and stayed down late in the second quarter after one of his carries, the crowd at New Era Field became eerily quiet.  A Bills offense without McCoy and Sammy Watkins would be…well…I don’t even want to think what it would be like.  McCoy would come back in the second half and would be able to call it a day early when the Bills blew the game open.  

The offensive line, especially Richie Incognito who is a standout when it comes to pulling and opening a hole for the run game, did an outstanding job.  Blocking help also came from the receivers, tight ends and fullback Jerome Felton.  The Bills decision to bring back Felton has been a key factor in the success of McCoy and company.  Felton’s snap numbers keep going up game by game and why not with the terrific blocking he’s been providing.

Tyrod Taylor had a good day as well.  He only threw for 179 yards but against lesser quarterbacks and teams, this is the Bills formula: run the ball, sprinkle in some Taylor passes, don’t turn the ball over, play strong defense and walk off the field with a win.  

Taylor made some nice throws including a perfectly thrown ball on a 30 yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter.  The Bills QB again did a nice job of keeping plays alive with his feet while still looking downfield to complete a pass.  Taylor also used his legs when need be as he totaled 68 yards on 8 runs. Taylor also avoided turnovers and has now gone 3 straight games without a giveaway.

The Bills had four trips inside the red zone and recorded a touchdown every time.

Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco offense did a better job moving the ball than I anticipated but the Bills defense kept them out of the end zone.  The only touchdown came on what appeared to be a blown coverage by either Stephon Gilmore or Ron Darby.  The defense held Carlos Hyde to 52 yards on 14 carries and held the 49ers to a 23% conversion rate(3-13) on third downs.  

The game was still close at 17-13 when the third quarter began and the Bills offense was struggling, punting on each of its first three possessions.  But the defense shut down San Francisco forcing two punts and then coming up with back to back run stops on 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1.  That gave the Bills the ball at their own 40 yard line and they proceeded on a touchdown drive that would have helped you resume breathing, assuming you were holding your breath at that point.

Rex Ryan’s defense has now held the opponent under 20 points in five of six games this season.  They also have 20 sacks on the season, which is one shy of their 2015 total.

Special teams had a solid day as well including beleaguered kicker Dan Carpenter.  He connected on all six extra point attempts on a very windy day and was good on a 40 yard field goal for a perfect day.  The kick coverage unit forced a fumble(Nickell Robey-Coleman) that gave the Bills a drive start at the 49ers 25 yard line.  Buffalo cashed that short field opportunity in with a touchdown.

While the Bills were winning, things were going well on the out of town scoreboard too.  New England won but they beat Cincinnati giving the Bengals, who were expected to be a playoff contender, a fourth loss.  Baltimore lost their third straight game and fell behind the Bills in the AFC standings.  Pittsburgh was knocked off too and are tied with the Bills at 4-2.  Granted the Steelers were beaten by Miami so next week might not be as easy as I thought.  

But that doesn't take away from the winning feeling around One Bills Drive.  Maybe this “All In” philosophy will work after all.