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Humbled at the Goal Line


Shaw66
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Image Credit: © George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

 

You know that GEICO ad with the four young adults in the horror movie?

 

“Why don’t we jump in that running car?”

 

“Are you crazy?  Let’s hide behind the chain saws.”

 

My wife thinks Mike Vrabel looks like the guy in the barn, smirking and shaking his head as the rubes fall into his trap.

 

Vrabel starred in the Bills’ own horror show Monday night, as the Titans beat the Bills 34-31.

 

I like Vrabel.  He was the kind of player Sean McDermott loves: tough, versatile, team guy.  I like how none of the coaches in the Belichick tree have had success as a head coach, but a player in that tree – Vrabel – coaches the team no one wants to play.  At the heart of Belichick’s approach, and at the heart of Vrabel’s approach, is that football starts with, and is always about, one-on-one physical toughness.  Every day, every play.  Simple, straight-forward toughness.  If you don’t bring it, you don’t play.  

 

So, one thing is a certainty: when it’s fourth and one with the game on the line, what you’re going to get from Vrabel is incredible toughness.  Vrabel’s team is not, absolutely is not, going to get outmuscled on the line of scrimmage.   His teams do not get beat on the most basic play in all of football.   You might beat him some other way, but Vrabel will not let his team get beat straight up the middle. 

The Bills passed up a possible game-tying field goal to go for it on fourth and one, and they never had a chance.  The offensive line was overpowered, Josh Allen lost his footing, and the game was over. 

 

MozJPEG USATSI_16983787.jpg

© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

 

Did McDermott make the wrong decision in going for it?   No.  I’m sure the analytics say the Bills had a better chance of winning the game right there than winning if they went to overtime.  Did he and Brian Daboll call the wrong play?  No.  Wait, if Vrabel’s Titans are so absolutely tough up the middle, shouldn’t the Bills have attacked differently?   Well, yes, I suppose, but Sean McDermott lives in the Belichick-Vrabel school, and he wants HIS team to be one of those teams.   Fourth and one, game on the line, the Bills are going to be as tough as they come, right up the middle.  McDermott is not going to back down, he’s not going to run misdirection, he’s not going to throw.   On Monday night, McDermott challenged his team to be as tough as they come, and they just weren’t. 

 

Vrabel is in at least one way the luckiest coach in the NFL.  No, he hasn’t won a Super Bowl, and no, he doesn’t have the most gifted quarterback in the league.   What he has is a running back who thrives on toughness, a running back with straight-ahead strength and speed unparalleled in the NFL since Jim Brown.  For Vrabel, it’s heaven – build a powerful offensive line and give Derrick Henry the ball, play after play.  Pound the opponent with toughness, and pound them again.  The Bills weren’t tough enough to stand up to the pounding.  By the fourth quarter, it was clear – the Titans’ offense would not be stopped.  McDermott had no choice.  Overtime meant facing that offense again; he had to go for it.

 

The Bills are the better team.  Their mistakes lost the game.  They failed often in the red zone.  Critical penalties cost them at least two touchdowns.   Spencer Brown was atrocious in the first half. 

 

MozJPEG USATSI_16983858.jpg

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

 

Worst of all, Josh Allen played like he has forgotten the lessons of the last three years.   The game wasn’t lost on the Bills’ last possession.  It was lost on the second-last possession, when the Bills had a chance to put the game out of reach.  Leading 31-27 with nine minutes left, the Bills got one first down, and then Allen went haywire.   On first down, he stood in the pocket way too long, looking deep, looking deep, ignoring his outlet receiver in the right flat with plenty of open field in front of him.  Sack.  On second and 17, he locked on Sanders going deep, waited and waited, and then threw into double coverage.  On third down, he led Kumerow out of bounds way up field.   Allen completely abandoned the smart passing game he displayed all last season and that had allowed the Bills to control this game.  Instead of taking the throws the defense was giving him, he went after low-probability explosive plays.  The Bills punted, the Titans drove for a touchdown, and the Bills died on fourth and one from two with time running out. 

 

The Bills weren’t going to overpower the Titans, but they could have outscored them.  They should have. 

 

McDermott’s teams often have struggled at this time of the season.  They team isn’t a finished product yet, and it will get better.  But it needs to continue to pile up wins.  They need to be 6-2 at the midway (sort of) point, and then they need to win consistently from there.  There’s plenty of work to do.  It’s an early bye, and the Bills probably would prefer to go back on the field next week to get back to winning.  Instead, they have to wait, digest the loss, and get better.

 

Go Bills!

 

Billsfans.com - Shaw66

 

Related:

Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans - A Few Thoughts about the Titans Game, in no particular order

Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans Week 6 game preview

Rematch Revenge – Bills Win Big 38-20 Over Kansas City

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The Bills should have outscored the Titans.

 

But as for Vrabel, I think he is a douche canoe. I was very glad when the Titans tried to reenact  the forward lateral from January 2000, and it resulted in a penalty this time. Heck, even the announcers were laughing about a “taste of his own medicine “ on the Knox to Allen two point conversion. The guy looks perpetually constipated. I am sure he’s a real “peach”to know.

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53 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

 

I like Vrabel.  He was the kind of player Sean McDermott loves: tough, versatile, team guy.  I like how none of the coaches in the Belichick tree have had success as a head coach, but a player in that tree – Vrabel – coaches the team no one wants to play.  At the heart of Belichick’s approach, and at the heart of Vrabel’s approach, is that football starts with, and is always about, one-on-one physical toughness.  Every day, every play.  Simple, straight-forward toughness.  If you don’t bring it, you don’t play.  

 

 

 

The New England connection was touched briefly here, but not to the fullest extent.  It's no accident that since Daboll came onboard, the toughest outings have come against Belichick & his acolytes.  It's the same formula that's successful against Brady.  If you can pressure with the front four, the offense starts to skip a beat.

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2 hours ago, Ann said:

The Bills should have outscored the Titans.

 

But as for Vrabel, I think he is a douche canoe. I was very glad when the Titans tried to reenact  the forward lateral from January 2000, and it resulted in a penalty this time. Heck, even the announcers were laughing about a “taste of his own medicine “ on the Knox to Allen two point conversion. The guy looks perpetually constipated. I am sure he’s a real “peach”to know.

 

OH LORDY! I had actually forgotten about that in all the excitement! That was absolutely hysterical! 

 

I heard Eric Wood on Cowherd today who said before last night Josh was 13/14 on 4th and 1 sneaks. The only one he missed was a botched snap. I admit in the moment I wanted to kick and tie it, thinking the better team would prevail. Everything I heard today convinced me I was wrong. Josh slipped, it happens. He might not have made it regardless, but all we needed was about a foot. 

 

Agreed with @Shaw66 that mistakes were made, and taking what they are giving you is the smart play. One thing we know about Josh is how much he cares, and how he studies and keeps getting better. If this was a learning moment that helps us down the road, it was well worth the pain….including the hellacious hangovers that had to be faced this morning by some in the @plenzmd1 crew, who are a blast to attend a game with. 

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How often do we loose the game before the bye? Is it 50%? Seems more. That said, we lost because of many miscues including a slip when we should have gone over the top. Play before that josh should have lowered his shoulder and took on the defender. Drive before that we should have used the run game and short passes. So much blame to go around. This weekend isnt only the bye but also opening season of Deers season here in NNY. Ima gunna enjoy the week off. Great post @Shaw66as always. LETS GO BILLS

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Great post as always Shaw.

 

A few of my own thoughts.

 

Good Josh vs. Bad Josh. Let's say it's 3rd and 8. There is a target wide open 10 yards down the field. There is another target, double covered, who's 25 yards down the field. Good Josh will throw it to the wide open guy for 10 yards. As for Bad Josh, well . . .

 

We saw more Bad Josh against the Titans than I would have liked. That said, at the end of the game his stats were solid. He made plays to earn those stats. So, it's not as though we got 100% Bad Josh, 0% Good Josh for the Titans game.

 

Putting in Spencer Brown at OG was a horrible idea. His frame screams offensive tackle, not offensive guard! If you want to run a boneheaded experiment like that just to gather data, fine. But don't do it against the Titans. Do it against a weaker team, so that if (when) the experiment blows up in your face, it won't cost you the game.

 

Bill Walsh once said that the key to winning championships was a good pass rush in the 4th quarter. To achieve that, he believed you needed depth and rotation, so that your 4th quarter pass rushers will be reasonably fresh. The Bills could have benefited from that wisdom in this game. Some of their defensive linemen were inactive, and I think that the lack of those players contributed to the defensive collapse of the second half.

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4 hours ago, Ann said:

The Bills should have outscored the Titans.

 

But as for Vrabel, I think he is a douche canoe. I was very glad when the Titans tried to reenact  the forward lateral from January 2000, and it resulted in a penalty this time. Heck, even the announcers were laughing about a “taste of his own medicine “ on the Knox to Allen two point conversion. The guy looks perpetually constipated. I am sure he’s a real “peach”to know.

This ^^^

 

4 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

Well, yes, I suppose, but Sean McDermott lives in the Belichick-Vrabel school, and he wants HIS team to be one of those teams.  

Not this^^^
Fundamental smash mouth yes, but I don't see McD getting cute and trying a forward lateral to rub in a 20 year old wound.
 

5 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

Leading 31-27 with nine minutes left, the Bills got one first down, and then Allen went haywire.

As regards Allen and the home run ball in that series - spot on.

 

Thanks for the write up.:cheers:
Go Bills!

 

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12 hours ago, Arm of Harm said:

Great post as always Shaw.

 

A few of my own thoughts.

 

Good Josh vs. Bad Josh. Let's say it's 3rd and 8. There is a target wide open 10 yards down the field. There is another target, double covered, who's 25 yards down the field. Good Josh will throw it to the wide open guy for 10 yards. As for Bad Josh, well . . .

 

We saw more Bad Josh against the Titans than I would have liked. That said, at the end of the game his stats were solid. He made plays to earn those stats. So, it's not as though we got 100% Bad Josh, 0% Good Josh for the Titans game.

 

Putting in Spencer Brown at OG was a horrible idea. His frame screams offensive tackle, not offensive guard! If you want to run a boneheaded experiment like that just to gather data, fine. But don't do it against the Titans. Do it against a weaker team, so that if (when) the experiment blows up in your face, it won't cost you the game.

 

Bill Walsh once said that the key to winning championships was a good pass rush in the 4th quarter. To achieve that, he believed you needed depth and rotation, so that your 4th quarter pass rushers will be reasonably fresh. The Bills could have benefited from that wisdom in this game. Some of their defensive linemen were inactive, and I think that the lack of those players contributed to the defensive collapse of the second half.

Dude, Spencer Brown literally did not play a single snap at guard. All 77 came at RT. What are you talking about?

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One of my favorite things about reading Shaws reviews is the history he's able to apply. Shaw did a thread awhile back which was basically his view of a casual fan of the Buffalo Bills vs a true die hard fan. Under Shaws high standards I was astonished to find myself in the casual fan category. Shaws high standard is the key to my placement. Shaw himself is the reason I finally admitted to myself he was right. Compared to Shaw my casual position in the Bills fan base became obvious to me. 

 

So today I give thanks and praise to one of the biggest die hard Bills fans on the planet.  While I have never met him personally. I know his love and dedication to the Buffalo Bills goes well beyond my casual embrace. 

 

Thanks  

 

Casual Bills fan 

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So many things to point to in this game, but great call out on Josh’s terrible decision making on the penultimate drive.  If they win that’s forgotten, but it’s those moments that separate the very good from the great.  He has to play smarter.

 

 

 

p.s.  I seem to recall this happening on the last drive of the Colts playoff game too.  He had a wide open outlet good for an easy 10+yards (+ keep clock moving) and instead threw a low pct pass that was inc.   I think the near disaster sack/fumble was the next play.

Edited by KD in CA
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On 10/19/2021 at 6:37 PM, Shaw66 said:

 

 

Worst of all, Josh Allen played like he has forgotten the lessons of the last three years.   The game wasn’t lost on the Bills’ last possession.  It was lost on the second-last possession, when the Bills had a chance to put the game out of reach.  Leading 31-27 with nine minutes left, the Bills got one first down, and then Allen went haywire.   On first down, he stood in the pocket way too long, looking deep, looking deep, ignoring his outlet receiver in the right flat with plenty of open field in front of him.  Sack.  On second and 17, he locked on Sanders going deep, waited and waited, and then threw into double coverage.  On third down, he led Kumerow out of bounds way up field.   Allen completely abandoned the smart passing game he displayed all last season and that had allowed the Bills to control this game.  Instead of taking the throws the defense was giving him, he went after low-probability explosive plays.  The Bills punted, the Titans drove for a touchdown, and the Bills died on fourth and one from two with time running out. 

 

 

 

And in the aftermath thread, when I said "Probably the biggest flaw on this team.  If you can play them close, Josh tries to win it all on his own," this is what I meant.

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I disagree with the notion that the Bills were "humbled" and the game was a "horror." Despite what the the fans thought (heard/read a lot of 40-10 predictions), the Bills were NOT going to go into a prime time nationally televised road game (yes, it still was a road game) against a tough, talented and well-coached team with an MVP-level player on offense and rip off another 40 point win. This had every making of a street fight and thats exactly what it was and the Bills went toe to toe. Tough loss, sure. A horror? Not in the slightest, IMHO.

 

As far as Josh goes, the home run attempts when the "singles and doubles" were there to be had in the 4th was maddening, yes. But thats who Allen is. A home run hitter. And that either works spectacularly like in KC or....it doesnt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, RkFast said:

I disagree with the notion that the Bills were "humbled" and the game was a "horror." Despite what the the fans thought (heard/read a lot of 40-10 predictions), the Bills were NOT going to go into a prime time nationally televised road game (yes, it still was a road game) against a tough, talented and well-coached team with an MVP-level player on offense and rip off another 40 point win. This had every making of a street fight and thats exactly what it was and the Bills went toe to toe. Tough loss, sure. A horror? Not in the slightest, IMHO.

 

As far as Josh goes, the home run attempts when the "singles and doubles" were there to be had in the 4th was maddening, yes. But thats who Allen is. A home run hitter. And that either works spectacularly like in KC or....it doesnt.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dude, look at your own avatar. If I saw that walking down the street, I’d definitely call that a horror. You obviously don’t know a horror when you see one! 

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