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Mariano Rivera is arguably the best MLB closer of all time. Beyond the numbers and championships, the thing that made him so great was that every hitter knew what pitch was coming. When you were down 0-2, the high cutter was coming your way. Posada would literally stand up behind the plate. As a viewer, it almost didn't make sense why these professional athletes couldn't hit a pitch that they knew the location and type, yet it just kept happening. If there ever was an example that represented the Bills game, it's knowing exactly what and who was going to hurt you against the Colts but being able to do absolutely nothing to stop it.
1 - Wentz - I could talk about how great JT was, but I think that Wentz barely completely 50% or his passes for just over 100 yards should tell you the story of how a 40 point loss went. Wentz had a few good passes and managers to Houdini out of a sack, but how often do you see games today where the quarterback isn't relevant.
2 - Penalties - I'm done pointing the finger at the refs or any other conspiracy theorist, we are consistently one of the worst teams for penalties, and it's losing us games. Penalties come down to coaching for me, and McD owns it. If I were him, I would have benched Addison after his roughing penalty. That was absolutely inexcusable and extended another Colts drive. Addison is also the DE who couldn't tackle Wentz on the escape play. On our first drive, penalties knocked us back from a first down at the 25 to a 3rd and long from the 40, which led to an INT. Penalties bailed the Colts out on 3rd down multiple times. Poyer jumped in with a personal foul hit out of bounds that added 15 and put the Colts in scoring range. Some want to question the team's toughness, others intensity. No matter what it is, coaches own all things mental, and we've been far from good since the Titans loss.
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3 - Ford - I was surprised to see Ford and Williams be left to block one-on-one for a lot of the game. And, surprisingly to everyone, Ford did a great job. He handled Buckner a few times, and Josh was relatively good to pass on most plays.
4 -So I'm riding away, away
Hiding away, away
So much talk it makes no sense at all
So I'm flying away, away
Driving away, away
Passing old friends I don't miss at all
5 - Moss - After watching the past few games, I would be good demoting Moss to our 3rd back. Breida showed some good flashes again, and Motor even had some solid plays. It's tough to talk about the running game when you only rush ten times roughly, but everyone seemed to get the memo about upping their game besides Moss.
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6 - Special Teams - If you only had to watch one play in this game to know how it went, just watch the McKenzie kickoff return before the half. McKenzie found a way to trip in the open field and then fumble the ball away, with no defenders within 5 yards of him. On a drive that could have set up the halftime double punch and made this an entirely different game, all the McKenzie haters watched in slow motion as their wildest dreams came true. Also, if you needed more of a reason to understand how off this game was, Bass missed two FGs, one that got caught by the wind and off into the stands.
7 - Chiefs - This is a first for me, but I write them, so I'll do what I want. If you watched the Chiefs game, in what was meant to be a passing slugfest, the Chiefs did two things well. They ran the ball to control the clock, going against who they are as a team. And when on defense, they led their highly paid pass rusher stay on the field and get pressure against Dak. While teams have strengths and weaknesses, they are still comprised of NFL players. Our inability to ever show a power run game and our 40+ million defensive rotation line with our first two draft picks are not showing up at all, and it's killing us. Yes, the Colts were running the ball at will, and we weren't in a pass rush situation often, but that much money on a line who can't do the one trick of their one-trick pony show is a concern. Some teams are built for certain things, and we clearly are not built to win in the trenches. And in a weather game where that matters, and we apparently don't need a dome, we looked like a high school team.
8 - Daboll - I honestly thought Daboll had a decent strategy for this game and continued his varied looks. Execution and penalties were the real killers here, then add on the three-score deficit. The Bills offense was going right downfield until the penalties knocked them back. If they kept going, then it's reasonable to believe the game is tied at the half. Now, going three and out to start the second half was terrible, and I wonder what happened to the scripted plays to start the second half, but I can forgive Daboll for having to play from behind and not being helped by the defense or player mental discipline.
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
9 - Dome - Whether you want to say we are a physical team or not, there's no denying that we've had multiple games over the past few years that have affected our offense. I understand that both teams need to play in it, but other teams are adjusting better. I also understand wanting a home-field advantage in colder weather against warm weather teams. With that being said, I truly believe we need a dome stadium with a retractable roof. If the stadium stays in OP, the money saved will more than cover that feature. Would it have mattered in a game like this? Possibly not. But would Allen have been able to have a little more accuracy, and would the drops have been as rampant? I think the team needs to have the option going forward. We aren't playing the Dolphins in the playoffs anymore. Yes, it was fun, and if you miss it, we can open the roof. More so, the home-field advantage doesn't seem to mean much to this team. The fans are as loud as ever, travel well, and I can't think of a game where the team used it to their advantage.
10 - McD - Someone posted on Twitter that the Bucs were 7-5 at this time last year and went on to win the Super Bowl. There are few teams built to dismantle our front line, and we've played two of them in the Colts and Titans. The Bucs are coming up and can probably do the same. Does that mean our roster is garbage? No. Each team is built differently, and it's a passing league. However, coaches can typically scheme to adjust for weaknesses, and I have a big issue that we seem to be crippled by the loss of Star, Edmunds, Mongo, and Spencer. I understand that they are starters, but 2 of them didn't even play last year, and we got it done. McD needs to get this team more disciplined and ready to adjust to other schemes. This loss is as much on him as it is on anyone else. And going forward, I believe the Bills need to make the business decision about their roster in terms of who is at a higher risk to play in games. We can't keep hoping not to lose guys from week to week and have it affect the team. I respect everyone's decision to do what is right for themselves and their body, but I also respect that this is a business, and you need to put the best product on the field. If there is a player that you can't rely on to be out there all 17 games, then you need to make the appropriate moves to be prepared.
On to the Saints on a short week and then home Monday Night against the Pats. We are no longer in the driver's seat, nor are we the media darlings we were. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe the players bought into the hype. Regardless, they haven't looked right on offense all year and need to figure it out. If they get on track in December, the rest of the season doesn't matter. These next few weeks are crucial, and I still Billieve we are playing for the one seed.
BillsFans - Virgil