by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert

The 2018 Buffalo Bills have fund several ways in which to lose games this year. Sometimes it’s been poor defensive play. Other poor offensive play. Still others, costly turnovers. Sunday at New Era Field, it was a combination of all and then throw in poor special teams play.

The Bills special teams on Sunday were perhaps the worst they have been all season. They gave up two long kickoff returns, let a field goal get partially blocked and had another attempt outright miss. Just too many mistakes in an important phase of the game. Good football teams don’t have those kind of mistakes with their special teams.

Josh Allen Running Too Much

Not only were special teams poor but so was the play of both the offense and the defense. Yes, Josh Allen rushed for 101 yards, but he also only hit on only 50% of his throws, had a fumble and threw two interceptions. Both interceptions were poor throws but the first one should never have been thrown in the first place as he was throwing across his body.

What is disappointing about Josh’s play right now is that he is making mistakes he shouldn’t be making at this point in his development. When playing from the pocket he is taking too long to process and is having trouble finding secondary receivers.

In recent games he has decided to run when his first or second receiver isn’t open. While he has been very productive doing so, he is failing to see that not only throwing the ball but throwing the ball to the proper receiver with accuracy is his primary job. Until he is able to stay in the pocket, go through a progression, find the open man and get the ball out of his hand quickly he won’t be a successful NFL quarterback. Yes, this takes time to learn to do properly but in Allen’s case it’s taken longer than we would have thought.

Granted the offensive line is below average and the wide receiver corps is young and inexperienced and those facts don’t help Allen mature as a player. It remains to be seen how he will play when he has a better supporting cast hopefully next year.

Defense Gets A Lot Of The Blame

As for the defense, their play Sunday was especially disappointing because they have been pretty much the mainstay of this team in 2018. The line was line was unable to get consistent pressure on the Jets quarterbacks and recorded no sacks. While rookie Sam Darnold didn’t exactly have a great day, he still was able to complete 16 of 24 throws for 170 yards. His late deep throw to along the right sideline to Robbie Anderson was perfectly thrown. That said, Tre’Davious White was in position to make a play on the ball and didn’t.

Another thing that was bothersome is late in the game when the Bills needed to stop the Jets, the Jets were able to run the ball, especially Elijah McGuire who was able to consistently get yardage after contact.

We know this isn’t a good Bills team and wins are hard to come by but we can expect a better effort. Sunday was a game the Bills had a chance to win and should have won but let it get away because of mistakes. With three games left, who are the Bills going to beat? The Detroit Lions come to town next week. Yes, they are a northern team but they also are a Dome team and when they have to play in the elements, they don’t play as well. Following the Lions, the Bills travel to New England then host Miami to close out the season.
The Bills are presently 4 -9. I think the best we can hope for is 6 – 10 but more than likely 5 – 11. At this point of the season though is a win really a loss?

Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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