Buffalo Bills Week 5 Review: A tale of two halves!

Dan Carpenter kicks a 58 yard field goal for the win in Detroit! - Photo via www.timesunion.com

Dan Carpenter kicks a 58 yard field goal for the win in Detroit! – Photo via http://www.timesunion.com

The Bills stole a game Sunday to move to 3-2 with a looming matchup for first place in the division against New England this Sunday. In the last game of the Ralph Wilson Era, one being played in Mr Wilson’s hometown and with the new owners Kim and Terry Pegula set to be confirmed this week, the Bills gutted out an amazing team win. Kyle Orton, AKA Uncle Rico, and his mustache made their Buffalo Bills debut. This game was just ridiculous! There were four missed field goals – three by the former Detroit kicker Henery who was not surprisingly released Monday. There were laser pointers being used to distract the Bills players. The culprit bragged about it on Twitter (Idiot). The last five minutes of the game were the most aggravating, hair pulling, and stressful ending to a game in recent memory. Get your seat belts on, because this is going to be a bumpy crazy ride!

Orton's INT courtesy of NFL.com/rewind

Orton’s INT courtesy of NFL.com/rewind

The first half was brutal for the Bills offense. This was Kyle Orton’s first game since the season finale in Dallas last year and only his 5th game in two years. Orton didn’t attend any offseason team activities. There were no OTAs, training camp, minicamp or preseason games. As of August 29th he was basically retired from football. Orton has had one week to work with the starting lineup. Detroit’s defense was the top overall defense in yards allowed. They have a tough front seven and the Bills aren’t good upfront block. They probably have two of the worst guards in the league. It was shaping up to be a miserable game, and the first two quarters went as expected. Orton threw a lot of short passes. The runs went nowhere, and the offense struggled. You never saw defeat on Orton’s face though, just confidence; and I think the team followed suit.

This was going to be a defensive battle. Detroit’s offense had some key injuries. Calvin Johnson has an ankle injury, which reduced him to a decoy only player. Reggie Bush went down in the second quarter, and they were already missing their #2 back, Joique Bell, who was also out with an injury. Golden Tate tweaked his hamstring on Wednesday in practice but seemed fine during the game.

The Bills defense was just amazing all day, constantly pressuring Detroit’s Matt Stafford, which resulted in six sacks, one interception, and two forced fumbles. The Bills defense held Detroit to a third down conversion percentage of 9%! The Lions went 1-11 on third down despite coming into the game with a league-leading 52% 3rd down conversion rate.

The Bills received the ball first. They got one first down but went three-and-out on the next set of downs. Orton’s first passes were all short passes. They were obviously just trying to get him acclimated and in rhythm early. Detroit’s defense was swarming and was shutting down the short stuff. The Bills and Lions went back and forth on three-and-out possessions until Detroit finally got on the board with a TD pass to Golden Tate. On the Bills next series, Detroit was ready for the short passes. Orton telegraphed a pass to Sammy Watkins on a five-yard curl route, and the corner jumped the route, intercepted the ball, and returned it for a touchdown. Detroit was in a cover-1 look with just one safety over the top. A deeper route should have been called as Watkins or Woods would have been one-on-one with no safety support (see pic). Even though Detroit went up 14 to 0, there was no panic in the eyes of Orton.

Kyle last saw action last year when Tony Romo went down. - Photo via www.democratandchronicle.com

Kyle last saw action last year when Tony Romo went down. – Photo via http://www.democratandchronicle.com

Orton, who has never lost to the Lions (4-0), went back to work. After another three-and-out, the Bills defense came away with an interception. Gilmore made a great play on a pass intended for Reggie Bush and set Buffalo up with good field position at the Bills 49 yard line. However, two back-to-back penalties (offside and holding) set the Bills back 20 yards making it 1st and 30. Orton completed a nice pass to Chris Hogan who found a spot in the middle of three defenders and gained 21 yards. The next play was a delayed screen to Fred Jackson who gained 25 yards. The Bills were at the Detroit 24 yard line, and another pass to Watkins got them to the 17. A bad snap from Eric Wood cost the team 10 yards and a down as Orton fell on the ball. The drive ended with a Dan Carpenter field goal. The rest of the quarter was a back and forth defensive struggle, and the Bills went into halftime down 14-3.

In the second half, the Bills came alive, but things also got weird! There were multiple times while watching on TV when you would see a Bills player turn to the ref and point to their eyes. After the game we found out fans were shining laser pointers in the eyes of Orton, Carpenter, and Schmidt. The kicking game also took a turn for the worse. Detroit received the ball in the second half and went on a five-minute drive to open the quarter. The Bills defense eventually held them to a field goal attempt. Detroit’s Henery hit the upright on the 44-yard attempt. The Bills responded with a three-minute drive of their own, but Carpenter hit the upright as well on his 50-yard attempt. After the game the punter Schmidt, who was holding the ball, said a laser pointer distracted him, resulting in a bad hold. On the next drive, Detroit again drove up the field, eating up another three minutes of clock. Henery lined up for a 47-yard field goal, but that one was sliced hard wide left. The Bills came right back with a four-minute drive resulting in a successful Dan Carpenter field goal, making it 14-6. The Bills really got things rolling in the 4th quarter. Orton was in a groove after throwing for 90 yards and an interception in the first half. He was approaching 200 yards in the second half alone on his way to a 308 total (the first 300-yard game by a Bills QB in 27 games!). Orton hit a nice 17-yard pass to Woods and followed that up with a perfect 42-yard bomb to Goodwin who was pushed out-of-bounds at the three yard line. Orton pump faked on the play then let it rip. The ball fell perfectly into Goodwin’s hands, just over the CB and a second earlier than the safety could get there. It’s a throw EJ hasn’t been able to make all season. The Bills lined up with all their big guys. They tried to run with Jackson, but he was stuffed for just a yard. From the two yard line, Orton ran a play action, faked the hand off, and floated a pass to a wide open Chris Gragg for the two-yard score. The Bills went for the two-point conversion, lining up with three wide receivers. Orton saw the defense was dropped off a bit to cover the pass and changed the play at the line to a Fred Jackson run, which successfully got the two points! It was a great play and great play call for Orton, one that tied the game at 14.

Sammy made some key catches for the Bills all day long! - Photo via www.zimbio.com

Sammy made some key catches for the Bills all day long! – Photo via http://www.zimbio.com

This is the point in the game where the arms of my chairs were torn off. I went hoarse from screaming at the TV and woke up my kids from their nap! The Bills forced a three-and-out right after their scoring drive. There was 7:20 left, and the Bills were ready to drive again. They took almost three minutes off the clock and were at the Detroit 48. Orton tried a Fred Jackson run on first down and a short pass to Chandler on second down. On 3rd and 7, Orton made a bad read. He threw short to Chandler when he had Watkins one-on-one on the left wide open. Orton did acknowledge after the game he missed that read and regretted it. The Bills were forced to punt. The defense again held the Lions after one first down, and the Bills got the ball back with 1:57 left to play from their own 31 yard line. This is where Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett tried everything in their power to make the Bills lose the game.

3 Big Field Goal misses by Alex Henery cost the Lions a chance a the win! - Photo via www.freep.com

3 Big Field Goal misses by Alex Henery cost the Lions a chance a the win! – Photo via http://www.freep.com

The Bills had to get to the 35 yard line of Detroit to give Carpenter the best chance for a game winning field goal. They had two timeouts left. Orton’s last game winning drive was in 2010, so he was overdue for a game-winning drive! On the first play of the series, Orton hit Watkins who made an amazing catch for 24 yards. Just like that the Bills were at the Detroit 47 yard line. Then Doug Marrone — in yet another head scratching decision — took a time out, leaving the Bills with only one left. Instead, they should have run up and spiked the ball. The time out obviously wasn’t enough time for Hackett and his horrible play calling. The next play was a delayed hand-off to Spiller for one yard. He followed that up with a screen pass to Spiller who got pushed out-of-bounds, which stopped the clock. The 3rd down play was a hurried short pass to Jackson that fell incomplete, and the Bills were forced to punt with 57 seconds left. On the Lions first play, Stafford hit Golden Tate on a quick slant. He took it 55 yards to the Bills 34 yard line. Tate was being covered by Roby who whiffed on the bump at the line and got burned. Already in field goal range, the Lions ran some safe short pass plays. Stafford scrambled out of bounds on one, threw another incomplete, and completed one to Tate for a yard. The Lions lined up for another 50-yard attempt by Henery. Again, Marrone used a timeout before the kicking team even lined up. I guess he didn’t feel the need to Ice the kicker? Fortunately, it didn’t matter as Henery missed badly on his 3rd field goal of the game! The Bills took over with 21 seconds to go and no time outs at their own 40 yard line. They had to get to Detroit’s 40 for Carpenter. On the first play, Orton again found Sammy Watkins who again made an “un-bill-ievable” catch! While running a 10-yard slant at full speed, the ball was thrown behind him. With one hand he reached back and snatched the ball without breaking stride and took it to the Detroit 40-yard line. Orton ran the team to the line and tried a short pass to Chandler that went incomplete but stopped the clock with nine seconds left. They sent Carpenter out to attempt a 58-yard field goal. Carpenter nailed it! Game over. Bills Win! The Bills made good on a promise to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and carried him off the field in victory!

The Bills will be back at the Ralph this Sunday at 1:00pm on Fox to face the New England Patriots for the division lead. The Patriots bounced back this week and blew out the previously undefeated Bengals 43-17. Even though they haven’t looked good in three of their five games, the Patriots proved on Sunday night they are still a dangerous team. Tim Wright, (who they traded for this year) looked good as the new TE opposite Gronkowski. Hopefully, Orton can repeat his second half performance, because we need this win!

Jim Schwartz was carried off the field by his players after the win! - Photo via www.mlive.com

Jim Schwartz was carried off the field by his players after the win! – Photo via http://www.mlive.com

Well, Bills Nation, that’s it! I hope you were able to hang on for the ride! What did you think? I know we got lucky with the missed field goals, but the 2nd half was impressive. I guess no one circles the wagons like Kyle Orton? If you guys have read any of my stuff on him you know I’m a huge Kyle Orton fan. I’ve wanted to see him in a Bills uniform since 2011. I think he can get the job done. This is the most talented team he’s ever played on, and I’m excited that this could be the year! It all hangs on how we play New England this Sunday! Get ready, Bills Nation, because WNY is going to be CRAZY this weekend! There’s definitely nowhere else you should be than right at the Ralph this Sunday! Thanks for reading, and Go Bills!

By: Jason Sins

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