By Paul Peck, Buffalo Sports Page
The performance was amazing, yet again. The Bills defense was dominant. They held Houston to one offensive touchdown. 216 total yards. 74 yards rushing. 3/13 on third downs.
The Bills forced three turnovers. They had a crucial goal line stand.
It wasn’t enough.
It will never be enough.
A Great Defense Is A Luxury
In the 2018 NFL, having a great defense is an unnecessary luxury. This league is built for offense. The rules emphasize that. The TV rating emphasize that. The focus on quarterbacks emphasize that.
Yes, there’s the quarterback reference you knew was coming. If you don’t have a quarterback, you don’t have an offense. If you don’t have an offense, you don’t win.
Sure, there will be a few victories, like last week’s win over Tennessee. There might even be four, five or six wins. But there will never be enough wins to be a consistent winner and playoff team. It just won’ happen. Sunday’s loss in Houston is an example of that. You have to score to win in the NFL, and you need a quarterback to do that.
The Bills don’t have that. Yet. They have a very good, sometimes dominant defense. But all it took was a few mistakes, a long pass to Hopkins and a pass interference call to basically ruin 58 minutes of great defense.
Defensive Consistency Hard to Find
History also tells us that maintaining a defense year-to-year is much harder than building a consistent offense. The drop-off comes quicker to a defense, because it’s more dependent on more parts. Unlike an offense, that mostly relies on one part. Yes, that’s another quarterback reference.
I’m not here to bash Nathan Peterman. Plenty of other people will do that. He’s just not good enough, never was. That’s why he was a 5th round draft pick. He shouldn’t be on this team, and probably shouldn’t be in this league.
Josh Allen is another story. He may be good enough. He may even be great. He’s not there yet, and his slow progress makes me worry that he’ll never get there. But I’m willing to give him time. Because he will be the reason the Bills get in line with the rest of the league and figure out that you win with offense, and hang on with defense. Bill Polian and Peyton Manning showed us the way. Spend most of your money on offense, and score 24-28 points per game. Then maintain a defense that can hold people to 21 points. You’ll win a lot of games.
But Sean McDermott is a defensive guy. That makes me wonder if his hire was a mistake. The rest of the league is airing it out, hiring bright young QB gurus. Yet we’ve got the next Buddy Ryan.
2-4 Is Better Than I Thought
Maybe I’m overreacting to a frustrating game and a frustrating season. Yes, 2-4 is about where you thought the Bills might be. That maybe even better than most people thought. It can all change as Allen learns on the job week to week, and hopefully gets better.
Next year’s draft and cap room will likely bring three new receivers and a new tight end. Maybe even a new, young running back that every team seems to have. Combine that with a defense that should still be solid even if there is a step back, and Bills fans will be able to be proud again.
But hoping that this defense can lead to a consistent playoff winner alone, it dreaming. It just doesn’t happen. It won’t happen here.