Buffalo Bills Week 5: A Narrow Escape in Nashville

It wasn't pretty but a win is a win! - Photo via - www.tennessean.com

It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win! – Photo via – http://www.tennessean.com

The instructions seem to be out on how to beat the Buffalo Bills. Even rookie QBs are getting the ball out too fast for a pass rush, forcing the Bills corners and coverage personnel to play near perfect games in order to win. The offense has been limited by the lack of running game as well with Karlos Williams and LeSean McCoy out and being forced to start Boobie Dixon and Boom Herron – signed earlier this week. The Bills looked absolutely terrible for 55 minutes of football on Sunday. Luckily, the offense made five plays in the last 18 minutes  of the game to pull out a one-point win. With that said, this will be a short and brief recap. So here we go!

The Bills opened the game perfectly as the kickoff was fumbled and the Bills recovered at the two-yard line. Unfortunately, they were flagged for Marcus Easley being offsides. I mean, the dude was running 10 yards ahead of anyone else on his team and was way past the kicker before the ball was even in the air. The play resulted in a five-yard penalty and a re-kick. The Bills punted on every possession in the first half. Taylor looked terrible right from the start when his first pass was a quick out to Clay that he threw behind him and at his feet. There were several passes he threw that weren’t even close to people. The offensive line struggled yet again, opening up running lanes and pass protecting. The Bills were lucky to be down just 3 to 0 at the half.

Mariotta was incredibly effective with his legs, but couldn't get it d0one! - Photo courtesy www.tennessean.com

Mariotta was incredibly effective with his legs, but couldn’t get it d0one! – Photo courtesy http://www.tennessean.com

The Titans opened up the scoring in the 3rd quarter, taking a 10-0 lead. Tyrod Taylor finally decided to use his legs to get the running game going and broke off a nice 26-yard run to pick up a long third down and capped off that drive with another 20-yard touchdown run.  It was a beautiful run; he pump faked and then took off, making several defenders miss and then keeping his balance on the side line as he crossed into the endzone. Robert Woods had a great block that actually took out two potential tacklers, allowing Taylor to go untouched into the end zone. It was the first time the Bills gave the large amount of Bills fans in their opponent’s stadium something to cheer about!

Midway through the 4th quarter, the Bills got on the board again to take a 14-13 lead with five minutes left. Taylor again had a nice run and was horse-collared, resulting in an additional 15 yards. He was also shaken up on the play and came out for just the next snap. On his return he threw a perfect long pass to Chris Hogan to get inside the Titans’ 20. The Bills then used some trickery, having Taylor walk in motion as if he was talking to his guard. They hiked to the running back who pitched it to Hogan on an end around. However Hogan threw the ball on a short out to Taylor who got inside the five and took another low shot to his injured left leg. Taylor found Hogan a few plays later for the eventual game-winning touchdown.

I have to say, this is a game the Bills should have lost if coaches weren’t so afraid of going for it on 4th and short inside their opponents’ 40-yard line. The Titans – who haven’t won a home game in a year – had 4th and short several times and opted to punt. They punted from the Bills 36-yard line, 39-yard line and choose a field goal on a 4th and short inside the five. The Titans were having some success with short misdirection dump off passes to the running back and TE. Mariota even had a few nice QB scrambles on misdirection. You would think conservative coaches would be a thing of the past by now in the must-win-or-you’re-out league the NFL has become. Bills fans know all too well the fate of conservative coaches as we’ve had our fair share and have missed the playoffs for the last 15 years. Even though Rex Ryan is billed as a more aggressive coach there are times when he will punt it away as well. The philosophy should always be to keep the ball out of the hands of the other team and not try to give them the ball and have our defense stop them. Perhaps there will be a time that more teams will opt to go for 4th and short in those situation, but fortunately for the Bills, it was not on Sunday. Regardless, the Bills still managed to defeat another AFC team which is all that matters at the end when it comes down to tie breakers.

Needless to say, Rex has gotta get these boys under control! - Photo via titansized.com

Needless to say, Rex has gotta get these boys under control! – Photo via titansized.com

Next week the Bills face off against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. They are coming off a nice come-from-behind win over the Seahawks and have a well balanced offensive attack and pretty good defense. The Bills will have their hands full if Taylor and the offense have another miserable outing like yesterday. Hopefully, the Bills can get Williams and Watkins back which should give them some more offensive options. Harvin has been hardly noticeable the last two weeks after having decent showings the first three games of the season. The running game has been nonexistent for two weeks, and with no McCoy for another month, teams just have to focus on stopping Williams. The Bills will need to keep the penalties down, emotions in check and execute perfectly in order to give the Bengals their first loss of the season.

So, Bills fans, what do you think? What’s your view on Sunday’s game? A win is a win regardless of appearance, right? Do they have a shot at winning Sunday against the Bengals? As always, leave us a comment here, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @wgoinbuffalo. You can always find me @jasonsins. Where else would you rather be Sunday? Go Bills!

By: Jason Sins

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