Image Credit: © Jamie Germano-USA TODAY Sports
For the first time in years, I watched a Bills game without taking notes, and I'll be honest, my retention of the game went straight out the window. I had to wait and re-watch the game on Youtube, which was actually pretty cool to see without all the clock stoppages between plays. It's interesting the things you pick up a second time, but more so, you lose all real feel for the flow for the game. Fortunately, that part I remembered.
1 - Adjustments - I believe there were three plays in a row where Josh's target ran a different route. The announcers mentioned that both Josh and the receiver are both expected to recognize the coverage and adjust their route accordingly. It's just another detail of the game that most of us probably don't think about and just how much of a science all of this is. In either case, I've never seen that happen on back-to-back plays so badly. Regardless, I hope they are able to get this corrected in film study.
2 - The Cheerleaders - One thing I've felt that's been missing all season is the on-filed hype train led by certain players. When we had Lawson and Phillips, they absolutely fed off each other on the field. Mongo, good or not, was also a catalyst for the offensive line. While a few weeks back, we saw their energy lead to penalties and loss of control, Oliver and Brown seem to really be getting their respected lines playing a lot better. The relationship between Oliver and Harrison is very apparent, and they are clicking at just the right time. With the slightly off passing game, having a rushing attack and front four pass rush attack gel going into the playoffs is a huge boon for us. Think about the year the Colts finally won the big game because the defense and rushing attack finally needed to be respected.
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
3 - Diggs - I really need to understand if Diggs is always this open and we choose not to utilize him like we did in this game, or did the Jets just play a defense that let him do whatever he wanted? I'm sure the target bonus was part of the reason Josh was trying to take care of Diggs, but it was almost alarming how easy it was to feed him the ball. This was the Diggs of last season who made the defense adjust their strategy altogether.
4 - I admit it, what's to say?
I'll relive it, without pain
Hm, back-street lover on the side of the road
I gotta bomb in my temple that is gonna explode
I got a sixteen gauge buried under my clothes, I play
5 - Motor - When I looked up the stats post-game, it's crazy to see how close Motor is to eclipsing 100 yards. While not spectacular or breaking off huge runs, Motor is getting the tough yards in clear rushing situations and really opening up the passing game for Josh. Had he been the undisputed starter all season, I think we are looking at a 1200 yard season for him, which is unheard of in this Daboll offense. Moss did a good job in his limited spot duty, but I hope to see this trend continue and make opposing defenses have to account for Motor.
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
6 - Pass Rush - While Wilson's inability to scramble forward was a big help, the Bills' front four just terrorized the Jets on 3rd and long, leading to numerous negative plays. If I'm not mistaken, the Jets finished with negative yards in the second half. C'mon, that's crazy! This defense keeps spiking at the right moments and does an amazing job in the bend but don't break concept, and this is with limited blitzing and the DE's dropping back in contain on some plays. Again, a great job of this unit gelling at the right time.
7 - The Big Play - When I think of some of our losses this season, I think about the big play by the opposing teams that wind up being the difference-maker in the overall score. We had big runs against us in the Pats, Titans, Colts, and Bucs games. The only moment in this game where the Jets made the score look interesting was on a mis-tackle pass that broke big for a touchdown. It feels like these plays happen against us more than anyone else, but I also don't watch a lot of other games. I'm not sure what the fix is, but I'm really hoping our season doesn't end on one of these.
8 - Haack - We all know that quarterback is one of the toughest positions in all of sports. Did you know that a punter who can hold a snap and make punts is the second hardest player to find? What the crap was that in this game?!? I will grant Haack that the punt snaps were slightly off to his left, but c'mon, man. When you get a standing ovation from the crowd for punting the ball through the end zone, you know there's a problem. I'm honestly surprised McD hasn't brought anyone else in this week.
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
9 - Passing game - I don't know if the Bills are trying new plays on offense and tuning up for the postseason or what's going on, but the overall flow of the passing game continues to be off. The rushing attack and defense really won this game for us, and it's hard not to be a little concerned going forward. Josh was rocketing balls downfield again and did deliver a beautiful deep ball to Knox. The deep crossing passes were back, but the receivers couldn't get both feet in bounds. Gabe made some unusual drops, but overall, there were a lot of balls hitting the ground. I will credit the Jets blitzing a lot, and the weather wasn't great, but these are both things we should expect to see moving forward.
10 - Frazier/Daboll - Am I the only one who's not a fan of this new interview process where assistants can interview during the playoffs? I don't know what a typical day looks like in regards to prep for a game, but I assume it's a lot of hours. I don't like the idea of there being the slightest distraction for either guy, as they both have interviews the day after the Pats game. Maybe I'm paranoid, and this isn't a thing, but I just know it would be on my mind if I were either of them.
Well, that's a season wrap, everyone. I can't promise these for the playoffs as I am trying to be more present when I'm watching the game. I look forward to watching the game from the warmth of my own home with my daughter. I would never dream of trying to take her into that stadium with temperatures near zero. But keep telling me how the weather hasn't affected ticket sales this season....
BillsFans - Virgil