Loss In A Win
by Kevin Sylvester, Buffalo Sports Page
Evidence from the past weekend and the numerous press conferences indicate that NFL players are human beings too. They breathe, think, and are clumsy like the rest of us at times. We all knew this, but confirmation is never a bad thing. I’ve already written my thoughts on the protests, so It’s time to move on.
I feel bad for the Bills’ players. The team won a game that many experts, including me, thought they would lose. I thought the game would be close, but didn’t think the offense would hold up against Von Miller and the Broncos defense. Wrong! The defense was great in the second half. Even the clock management was good. It seems that nobody cares.
Monday was all about protests, who knelt and who didn’t, and Buffalo’s all-time QB caught up in the controversy. For the record, I agree with Jim Kelly about LeSean McCoy stretching being baloney, and I can see why Jerry Hughes was offended. Monday was messy. The Bills win over the Broncos wasn’t.
Tyrod Taylor played an efficient game completing 20 of 26 passes with a couple of touchdowns. I read one wire report that tried to discredit his first touchdown since it deflected off of Zay Jones into Andre Holmes’ hands. Really? Jones should have caught it (where have I read that before?). Mike Tolbert was very effective on the fullback dive gaining 41 yards on 11 carries. I thought that was a huge part of the offense, opening up the edge for Tyrod Taylor.
The secondary shined on defense, but talk of Tre’Davious White and E.J. Gaines became secondary to controversy. White had a rookie first half, but a veteran second half. It was impressive how he turned things around. Gaines made you forget about Sammy Watkins, the player he was traded for (of course there was more to it than that). The defense finished the third game allowing just one touchdown and some field goals en route to the win. The Bills defense has allowed just two touchdowns all season! Brilliant stuff in an un-Ryan like way.
The clock management was also done well at the end of the first half. I was very critical, along with nearly everyone, on Sean McDermott’s clock management at the end of the Panthers game. Finishing a loss with a timeout in his pocket may still haunt him. The way he used his timeouts at the end of the first half vs Denver will not. It was essentially the same plan he had in Carolina, only this time it worked setting up a field goal. Good stuff, but lost in the scuffle (yes I mean scuffle).
So, instead of talking about all the good for a 2-1 Bills team following an impressive win, we seem to be stuck in who’s right, who’s wrong. I guess I’m guilty by continuing to mention it. But I will forward to the next game, this week in Atlanta. That’s where I feel bad for the players (spare me, they make millions don’t feel bad for them). As I, and you, look at Sunday’s game in Atlanta, I see the should-be Super Bowl champions. I wonder can the defense hold up against Matt Ryan and the great Falcon offense. Can Taylor be as efficient again? Can McCoy break out for more yardage on the ground than his combined 30 yards over the previous two games? Legitimate questions for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 17 years. If they win, hopefully they will be able to give the answers on Monday and not explanations and accusations.