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Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons - A Few Thoughts About the Game, in no particular order


Virgil
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Image Credit: © Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

 

I've played Madden for about 20 years now, and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it. I was ranked in the top 5% for a bit and really have the most fun when I'm playing someone who knows football. It can be easy at times when you play someone who only runs the same plays over and over again but can't adjust to anything else. Sometimes, I will even mess around and try new plays when I'm up against someone who I can tell isn't on my skill level. In those games, though, I've found ways to lose because I gave them too many opportunities to stay in the game. They weren't the better team, but I made the poorer decisions. Usually, I can turn it around, but others...
 
1 - Allen - Was there an article this week that said Allen had a weak arm that I missed? Allen decided it was a fastball-only game, on a day where the weather was so cold that the football felt like a rock. If Diggs can't pull in a basic slant pass, you know something is wrong. Allen put up one of his worse statistical passing games, and I still never really felt like we were going to lose this game. The Falcons defensive line did a good job of getting their hands up and tipping two passes into interceptions. The other interception was an example of when hero ball goes wrong. Fortunately, Allen is a true dual-threat QB and scored two touchdowns on the ground and learned to lean on his rushing attack in the second half, helping the Bills cruise to an easy win.
 
2 - Defensive Backs - Outside of the big Kyle Pitts play, I thought the Bills defensive backs played one of their best overall games of the season. What was so impressive was their ability to turn their heads back to the pass at just the right time. I know the Falcons aren't world beaters at receiver, but there were plenty of passes where we would've been flagged for PI in prior weeks. Dane and Levi played a hell of a game. It's great to see this unit step up in Tre's absence.

 

MozJPEG USATSI_17442660.jpg

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

 
3 - Stevenson - For those who got comfortable on punt returns, this was the game to bust out the old Zanax. Stevenson fumbled on his first punt return, which led to a safety. Then, he later bobbled another punt. He found a way to get tackled by another Bill on two kick-off returns. With McD's zero-tolerance policy, I wonder if we see McKenzie back there next week, considering he wasn't a factor in the passing game again.
 
4 - Talking to herself
"There's no one else who needs to know"
She tells herself
Memories back when she was bold and strong
And waiting for the world to come along
Swears she knew him, now she swears he's gone
 
5 - Edmunds - I have to go back on my word from a few weeks back and talk about Edmunds again. Is it me, or is he always chasing downplays or standing around a group tackle? He showed his value in the passing game on a few plays where he used his lanky body to jump around and block passing lanes, but that's about all I saw him do in this game. He got trucked twice in this game, where the running back got an additional 3-5 yards on the tackle. I just don't get it with this kid anymore, and I'm at the point where I hope they can trade him for some value heading into his 5th year.
 

MozJPEG USATSI_17442839.jpg

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

 

6 - Phillips - It drives me crazy when players finally figure out how to play in their contract year. Over the past few weeks, Phillips has finally become the cog in the middle of the defensive line that we hoped he could be when we drafted him. Unfortunately, he's also injured constantly. Harrison was all over the place in this game and did a great job against the Falcons run. For a big boy, he showed some speed getting to plays on the edge and getting involved. Him and Oliver were a wrecking crew in this game, where Oliver was consistently getting double-teamed. 
 
7 - Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory - When Matt Ryan got the taunting penalty against Poyer, only to find out he didn't actually get into the end zone, leading to no points; did anyone else picture that happening to the Bills 5 years ago? Being on the other side of it, it's hysterical to watch these sub .500 teams find ways to take themselves out of games. For those who watched the Jets game, who were up 4, they ran a QB sneak on 4th and a long 2. The coach said it was a play call mix-up, but still. We had the Josh Allen slip and the Hail Murray, but it's still overall night to no longer feel like "that team."
 
8 - Return of the Young Ends - MIA for weeks, Groot and AJ finally decided to show up for this game in a big way. Groot had the huge strip-sack while AJ made some great plays in space and a big open field tackle. I'm still not seeing much from them against one-on-one matchups, but hopefully, they are also starting to get some confidence.

 

MozJPEG USATSI_17444462.jpg

© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports

 

9 - McD - As this game ended, there were a lot of tweets about records broken and whatnot. A few things stood out for me that really shows all the things McD and Beane have done for this team. This was our first playoff-clinching win since the late '90s. This is our 4th playoff run in 5 years. McD has over ten wins in multiple seasons and is already climbing up the Bills coaching wins records. There's always something to criticize, and that's what we do as fans, but to take a step back and look at things now versus the drought is very impressive. 
 
10 - Thoughts - This may be my last season writing these post-game thoughts. I haven't fully made up my mind, and it has nothing to do with any of my readers. Honestly, the support from so many of you is why I've kept doing this as long as I have. I'm coming up on almost ten years of writing these, and it really is work. I know the writing is casual, and spelling is off, but that's meant to be part of the charm. The truth is, I can't watch a game without taking notes. As my work life changes, getting these written becomes more like an assignment. I can't really just enjoy the game or comment much afterward because I feel like I have an obligation versus something that started out as fun after Bill left it behind. If I do decide to walk away, it doesn't mean I won't write thoughts or comments in other places, but I just won't commit to the timetable and rhythm I've been following until now, and it may not have as many details. Sometimes, I just want to watch a game and enjoy it versus sitting the and adding notes to sort through later. But again, the community has been so supportive, and maybe this season was more taxing for some reason. Regardless, I reserve the right to change my mind.
 
Go Bills!!!

 

BillsFans - Virgil

 

Related:

Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth

THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Bills Take Care of Falcons

Baby It's Cold Outside Tailgating Menu

Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 17 game preview

Buffalo Bills @ New England Cheatriots - A Few Thoughts about the Game, in no particular order

Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers - A Few Thoughts about the Panthers Game, in no particular order

Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots - A Few Thoughts about the Patriots Game, in no particular order

 


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Thanks for these Virgil.  Always good to get a rational, sane review from you and Shaw66.  Fair and balanced, no over reactions.

 

If it stops being fun and becomes a job, time to stop.  Enjoy the games and maybe run the draft (yes, a huge pain for you) but write only if it works for you.

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1 hour ago, Virgil said:

5 - Edmunds -

 

I don't know if there is a point in arguing about Edmunds any longer.  It's pretty clear that McD and Frazier like him and that Edmunds does what he is supposed to do in the current defensive scheme.  I personally think the larger problem is the defensive scheme; it's not a robust system and is quite complicated with many moving parts, where if something is off it sends ripples across the entire scheme...that is where you see the 40-burgers layed on them.  A good part of Edmunds problems may be that he's asked to do about all he can handle, which probably impacts his play since he's not the most instinctive player.

 

1 hour ago, Virgil said:

8 - Return of the Young Ends

 

It was good to see AJE and Groot make some plays.  I don't like this equal time rotation scheme, at all.  I'd like to see Groot, Basham, and AJE get the majority of snaps with Hughes and Addison coming in a small minority of the time.

 

1 hour ago, Virgil said:

10 - Thoughts -

 

I can't blame you here.  This does look like a lot of work.  Maybe scale it down to a couple of thoughts that come to mind after the game, where it is less formal.  That could take some pressure off you, if you're still interested in posting these after the games.  Good luck whatever you decide; you've done a great job with these and I've enjoyed reading them.

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Virgil, regardless what you decide, these posts have been appreciated for a long time.  Thanks for the effort.

 

If you do cut back, enjoy the "retirement."  It is deserved.  And if you stick around and continue to write 'em up, well, AWESOME.  Either way, :beer:.

 

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Virgil, I always look forward to your write ups, but I certainly understand how it could become a bit of a chore. I just hope if you decide to hang it up you still hang around.

 

I am curious, what do you think of the progression of Madden since the NFL gave EA the exclusive licensing rights?

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If you ride off in the sunset @Virgil, know this, you wore the white hat and are a good guy! You took over for Bill and did his posts for years before you justice. God speed brother!

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12 hours ago, Virgil said:

MozJPEG USATSI_17442433.jpg

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

 

I've played Madden for about 20 years now, and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it. I was ranked in the top 5% for a bit and really have the most fun when I'm playing someone who knows football. It can be easy at times when you play someone who only runs the same plays over and over again but can't adjust to anything else. Sometimes, I will even mess around and try new plays when I'm up against someone who I can tell isn't on my skill level. In those games, though, I've found ways to lose because I gave them too many opportunities to stay in the game. They weren't the better team, but I made the poorer decisions. Usually, I can turn it around, but others...
 
1 - Allen - Was there an article this week that said Allen had a weak arm that I missed? Allen decided it was a fastball-only game, on a day where the weather was so cold that the football felt like a rock. If Diggs can't pull in a basic slant pass, you know something is wrong. Allen put up one of his worse statistical passing games, and I still never really felt like we were going to lose this game. The Falcons defensive line did a good job of getting their hands up and tipping two passes into interceptions. The other interception was an example of when hero ball goes wrong. Fortunately, Allen is a true dual-threat QB and scored two touchdowns on the ground and learned to lean on his rushing attack in the second half, helping the Bills cruise to an easy win.
 
2 - Defensive Backs - Outside of the big Kyle Pitts play, I thought the Bills defensive backs played one of their best overall games of the season. What was so impressive was their ability to turn their heads back to the pass at just the right time. I know the Falcons are word beaters at receiver, but there were plenty of passes where we would've been flagged for PI in prior weeks. Dane and Levi played a hell of a game. It's great to see this unit step up in Tre's absence.

 

MozJPEG USATSI_17442660.jpg

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

 
3 - Stevenson - For those who got comfortable on punt returns, this was the game to bust out the old Zanax. Stevenson fumbled on his first punt return, which led to a safety. Then, he later bobbled another punt. He found a way to get tackled by another Bill on two kick-off returns. With McD's zero-tolerance policy, I wonder if we see McKenzie back there next week, considering he wasn't a factor in the passing game again.
 
4 - Talking to herself
"There's no one else who needs to know"
She tells herself
Memories back when she was bold and strong
And waiting for the world to come along
Swears she knew him, now she swears he's gone
 
5 - Edmunds - I have to go back on my word from a few weeks back and talk about Edmunds again. Is it me, or is he always chasing downplays or standing around a group tackle? He showed his value in the passing game on a few plays where he used his lanky body to jump around and block passing lanes, but that's about all I saw him do in this game. He got trucked twice in this game, where the running back got an additional 3-5 yards on the tackle. I just don't get it with this kid anymore, and I'm at the point where I hope they can trade him for some value heading into his 5th year.
 

MozJPEG USATSI_17442839.jpg

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

 

6 - Phillips - It drives me crazy when players finally figure out how to play in their contract year. Over the past few weeks, Phillips has finally become the cog in the middle of the defensive line that we hoped he could be when we drafted him. Unfortunately, he's also injured constantly. Harrison was all over the place in this game and did a great job against the Falcons run. For a big boy, he showed some speed getting to plays on the edge and getting involved. Him and Oliver were a wrecking crew in this game, where Oliver was consistently getting double-teamed. 
 
7 - Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory - When Matt Ryan got the taunting penalty against Poyer, only to find out he didn't actually get into the end zone, leading to no points; did anyone else picture that happening to the Bills 5 years ago? Being on the other side of it, it's hysterical to watch these sub .500 teams find ways to take themselves out of games. For those who watched the Jets game, who were up 4, they ran a QB sneak on 4th and a long 2. The coach said it was a play call mix-up, but still. We had the Josh Allen slip and the Hail Murray, but it's still overall night to no longer feel like "that team."
 
8 - Return of the Young Ends - MIA for weeks, Groot and AJ finally decided to show up for this game in a big way. Groot had the huge strip-sack while AJ made some great plays in space and a big open field tackle. I'm still not seeing much from them against one-on-one matchups, but hopefully, they are also starting to get some confidence.

 

MozJPEG USATSI_17444462.jpg

© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY Sports

 

9 - McD - As this game ended, there were a lot of tweets about records broken and whatnot. A few things stood out for me that really shows all the things McD and Beane have done for this team. This was our first playoff-clinching win since the late '90s. This is our 4th playoff run in 5 years. McD has over ten wins in multiple seasons and is already climbing up the Bills coaching wins records. There's always something to criticize, and that's what we do as fans, but to take a step back and look at things now versus the drought is very impressive. 
 
10 - Thoughts - This may be my last season writing these post-game thoughts. I haven't fully made up my mind, and it has nothing to do with any of my readers. Honestly, the support from so many of you is why I've kept doing this as long as I have. I'm coming up on almost ten years of writing these, and it really is work. I know the writing is casual, and spelling is off, but that's meant to be part of the charm. The truth is, I can't watch a game without taking notes. As my work life changes, getting these written becomes more like an assignment. I can't really just enjoy the game or comment much afterward because I feel like I have an obligation versus something that started out as fun after Bill left it behind. If I do decide to walk away, it doesn't mean I won't write thoughts or comments in other places, but I just won't commit to the timetable and rhythm I've been following until now, and it may not have as many details. Sometimes, I just want to watch a game and enjoy it versus sitting the and adding notes to sort through later. But again, the community has been so supportive, and maybe this season was more taxing for some reason. Regardless, I reserve the right to change my mind.
 
Go Bills!!!

 

BillsFans - Virgil

 

Related:

Buffalo Runs to 29-14 Win, Secures Playoff Berth

THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Bills Take Care of Falcons

Baby It's Cold Outside Tailgating Menu

Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 17 game preview

Buffalo Bills @ New England Cheatriots - A Few Thoughts about the Game, in no particular order

Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers - A Few Thoughts about the Panthers Game, in no particular order

Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots - A Few Thoughts about the Patriots Game, in no particular order

 

 

View full article

 

 

IF you decide not to continue, I'll miss your insights.  I've followed you from the ATOP and now to here.  Do what's best for you, BUT if you choose to continue,we'll all follow along with some devotion.

 

Thanks for your efforts through the years!

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17 hours ago, Virgil said:

1 - Allen - Was there an article this week that said Allen had a weak arm that I missed? Allen decided it was a fastball-only game, on a day where the weather was so cold that the football felt like a rock. If Diggs can't pull in a basic slant pass, you know something is wrong. Allen put up one of his worse statistical passing games, and I still never really felt like we were going to lose this game. The Falcons defensive line did a good job of getting their hands up and tipping two passes into interceptions. The other interception was an example of when hero ball goes wrong. Fortunately, Allen is a true dual-threat QB and scored two touchdowns on the ground and learned to lean on his rushing attack in the second half, helping the Bills cruise to an easy win.

Yep, I thought the same. With the temps out there that ball had to be pretty hard. It seemed like Davis was the only one who didn't have an issue catching those fastballs. Of all the ball handlers, I believe Josh was the only one on the Bills who didn't wear gloves. Maybe if the others didn't, they might have been able to handle those rockets better? 

 

Allen seemed to be enjoying quite a bit of time in the pocket for the second week in a row. Let's hope it continues.

 

17 hours ago, Virgil said:

5 - Edmunds - I have to go back on my word from a few weeks back and talk about Edmunds again. Is it me, or is he always chasing downplays or standing around a group tackle? He showed his value in the passing game on a few plays where he used his lanky body to jump around and block passing lanes, but that's about all I saw him do in this game. He got trucked twice in this game, where the running back got an additional 3-5 yards on the tackle. I just don't get it with this kid anymore, and I'm at the point where I hope they can trade him for some value heading into his 5th year.

While I have been highly critical of Edmunds pretty much his whole career, I have to admit that I think he has been better this season compared to previous ones. What we can't possibly know, being keyboard jockeys, is what the defensive play call was, what Edmunds role in that call is to be. We also can't know what he disrupts by just being the 6' 5" monster with a '92 percentile' wingspan in the middle. 

 

That said, since I am critical of him, there was one play early on that I would like to point out.  I think it was the Falcons first drive where he tackled the runner on the right edge for a minimal two/three yard gain. It was a nice stop but what struck me was the way he got pushed backwards by this smaller runner. Too many times have I seen this beast get blown up. You would think with his size that he could 'bring it' and blow up the opposing player instead.

 

Ah well, we are the number one ranked D so I can't be too critical I guess.

 

17 hours ago, Virgil said:

6 - Phillips - It drives me crazy when players finally figure out how to play in their contract year. Over the past few weeks, Phillips has finally become the cog in the middle of the defensive line that we hoped he could be when we drafted him. Unfortunately, he's also injured constantly. Harrison was all over the place in this game and did a great job against the Falcons run. For a big boy, he showed some speed getting to plays on the edge and getting involved. Him and Oliver were a wrecking crew in this game, where Oliver was consistently getting double-teamed. 

Yes, it is nice to see horrible Harry coming into his own. I think though that there is also the fact that Oliver has been very good this year, commanding a good number of double teams that his position generally does not. This then leaves the 1 gap penetrator with single blocking. Still, Harry has been much more effective than either Star or Butler in the 1-gap role.

 

I think this line is one real good 1-gap penetrator away from being dominant every week.

 

17 hours ago, Virgil said:

10 - Thoughts - This may be my last season writing these post-game thoughts. I haven't fully made up my mind, and it has nothing to do with any of my readers. Honestly, the support from so many of you is why I've kept doing this as long as I have. I'm coming up on almost ten years of writing these, and it really is work. I know the writing is casual, and spelling is off, but that's meant to be part of the charm. The truth is, I can't watch a game without taking notes. As my work life changes, getting these written becomes more like an assignment. I can't really just enjoy the game or comment much afterward because I feel like I have an obligation versus something that started out as fun after Bill left it behind. If I do decide to walk away, it doesn't mean I won't write thoughts or comments in other places, but I just won't commit to the timetable and rhythm I've been following until now, and it may not have as many details. Sometimes, I just want to watch a game and enjoy it versus sitting the and adding notes to sort through later. But again, the community has been so supportive, and maybe this season was more taxing for some reason. Regardless, I reserve the right to change my mind.

As others have expressed, we support your decision whatever that may ultimately be. I just would like to thank you for these, not only through the years but for your willingness to bring them over here, much appreciated. I know they can be a lot of work and take away from the overall enjoyment of just being a fan of the Bills and being able to soak up different aspects as they come. The biggest thing is to do whatever works for you.

 

You are a true gentleman. Thank you.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Foxx said:

That said, since I am critical of him, there was one play early on that I would like to point out.  I think it was the Falcons first drive where he tackled the runner on the right edge for a minimal two/three yard gain. It was a nice stop but what struck me was the way he got pushed backwards by this smaller runner. Too many times have I seen this beast get blown up. You would think with his size that he could 'bring it' and blow up the opposing player instead.

 

Ah well, we are the number one ranked D so I can't be too critical I guess.

 

Not surprised Edmunds gets pushed back by a lower center of gravity runner, and I put it this way because sub-6ft and 210 lbs is not small.  Anyway, Edmunds also gets blocked by these same RBs when he rushes the QB or is running to make a tackle.  Most LBs would throw the RB aside, but Edmunds cannot overcome his high center of gravity.  This may not have been a problem for him in college, but the RBs are much better in the NFL.  

 

I hear you with the being too critical stuff, that's what the stat weenies would say in their whiney way.  What they're missing is they problems with not being able to shed blocks lead to.

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6 hours ago, Keukasmallie said:

 

IF you decide not to continue, I'll miss your insights.  I've followed you from the ATOP and now to here.  Do what's best for you, BUT if you choose to continue,we'll all follow along with some devotion.

 

Thanks for your efforts through the years!

 

ATOP?

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5 minutes ago, Virgil said:

 

ATOP?

 

It's how we refer to TBD.

 

ATOP. At The Other Place.

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2 hours ago, Foxx said:

As others have expressed, we support your decision whatever that may ultimately be.

 


I also support your decision, whatever that may ultimately be. Provided, of course, that your decision is to keep writing this column! 😯

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