Bills done in by ineffective and injured offense

October 08, 2017 - 6:07 pm

The outcome of the Bills-Bengals game can be explained very easily.  Cincinnati had AJ Green and the Bills did not.  That is why the Bills left Paul Brown Stadium with a 20-16 loss on Sunday, their first AFC defeat of the season.  

A Bills passing game that is no better than average, was left pretty much anemic when their best target, Charles Clay left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury.  Couple that with the absence of Jordan Matthews and Tyrod Taylor's job became very difficult.  That also allowed the Bengals to sell out and do everything to stop LeSean McCoy.  The Bills basically fired blanks in the second half.

After getting 185 total net yards in the first half, the Bills managed just 36 yards on 26 plays in the second half.  McCoy was effective in the opening 30 minutes with 51 yards on 10 carries.  But in quarters three and four, the Bills best offensive weapon was held to 12 yards on 9 carries.  The passing game also went into a deep freeze, recording just 20 yards after halftime.  That put way too much pressure on the defense which wasn't able to produce a touchdown as they did one week earlier in Atlanta.

My twitter feed was filled with criticism of Tyrod Taylor after his loss sealing interception on the Bills final drive.  While Taylor leaves a number of things to be desired, I don't know exactly what he was supposed to do in this game.  His options in the second half, outside of throwing to the star running back, were tight ends Nick O'Leary and Logan Thomas and then a wide receiving group of Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Brandon Tate and Kaelin Clay. Good luck with that!

The fault I'd find in Taylor was not trying to take more deep shots but that had to be a by-product of his limited weapons. According to the NFL game book, only four of Taylor's passes were deep throws.  One was to Charles Clay on the play where he suffered the knee injury. Another came on the final throw to Jones.  I also thought he could have run more often.  Taylor had just one run for three yards and looked the guy we saw in pre-season games who was told to stay in the pocket whenever possible.

Watching the Bills offense in the second half was painful.  It reminded me of too many games watching guys like JP Losman, Trent Edwards and EJ Manuel when you felt the Bills would need a minor miracle to score a touchdown.  They had a golden opportunity in the fourth quarter after a Brandon Tate 40 yard punt return and Bengals sideline penalty gave them the ball at the Cincinnati 12 yard line. What followed was an incomplete fade pass to Zay Jones, a McCoy run that lost four yards and a 3rd and 14 swing pass to McCoy that had no prayer of getting a first down or a TD.  I would have liked Tyrod to take another shot at the end zone there and throw it out of bounds if no one was open.  That was a play it safe, settle for a field goal move on a day when you could just feel the Bills would not get a better chance for six the rest of the game.

The Bills also had a drive start at the Bengals 36 yard line in the third quarter, thanks to a Jordan Poyer interception, but they went backwards and punted.  It was that kind of day for Rick Dennison's group.

Cincinnati was no great shakes but they had a great receiver.  Green was the difference maker in the game.  He beat rookie cornerback Tre White on a 77 yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and he got free from White again on a 47 yard pass late in the third quarter which led to the Bengals only other touchdown.  Green, whose injury on the first drive of last season's meeting with the Bills played a big role in Buffalo's win, ended the game with 189 of Cincinnati's 328 passing yards.

It might be tough for you to do but think about the big picture.  You probably had the Bills no better than 3-2 at the bye.  But you likely had the wins in a different order.  3-2 is not a bad place to be in the mediocre AFC where just one team, Kansas City, actually looks good. 



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