1) While I sat at the table by myself at a Queens bar with about 5 minutes left, I tweeted out “The Bills are gonna lose this game.” My phone died and all of these things raced in my mind about what the narrative would be after this game.
“They kept it close, so, there has to be progress, right?” -The angel on my right shoulder-
“But I’ve seen heroic losses before on the road against great teams. You could make a novel of tough Patriot road losses that were supposed to build character” -The devil on my left shoulder-
All week we heard how the Bills haven’t pulled off a big road win since the Clinton administration, but I sure as hell knew they pulled off a lot heroic losses against Super Bowl caliber teams. I was in no mood to write about this bullshit narrative again. Until that last play of the game, I didn’t believe they were going to win. History during the drought has told me we were about to add one more shitty loss to the Bills’ book. But a funny thing happened…The Bills believed in themselves and proved that on one Sunday, they weren’t the same old Bills. They are too stupid or too hungry to care about draft picks or be tackling dummies. They did what I could never do and that’s trust the process.
2) I can’t believe they won this game. I can’t believe we are talking about the Bills actually being good. A month ago, we were talking all about tanking and drafting a QB. Now we are talking about how the Bills beat arguably the best NFL team. Aside from being happy for the fans, give a hand to the players. They all know that people around here have been talking about draft position since June. I’m really happy for them as they are shoving it in our faces. Yes, I will eat this crow with a shot of shut up juice.
3) So how did the Bills win this game?
- Turnovers – The Bills forced three turnovers that resulted in 13 points.
- Defense bending but not breaking – The Bills allowed 391 yards in total offense, but only allowed 17 points. Dating back to the start of last year, the Falcons scored 17 points or fewer just once. Since 2013, the Falcons have scored 17 points or fewer just four times at home. Matt Ryan’s QB rating of 61.8 was the lowest since 2015.
- Tyrod managing the game – No one makes the most out out of their 12 completions than Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod was efficient today and made some killer throws to Charles Clay. The throw he made to Clay while running was a major league caliber launch. The Bills are doing their roll outs and play action plays to perfection.
- Some luck – How on earth was that a fumble return for a TD? If the refs came back from looking on the computer screen and said it was an incomplete pass, no one would have been shocked. Also, losing your two best WRs made a difference today. And some advice…Remember when you trash Tyrod, just think about what Matt Ryan looked like today when he wasn’t throwing to Julio Jones. WRs make a difference.
4) Speaking of Tyrod, in 6 of his last 9 starts, he has over a 100 QB rating. In 8 of his last 10 games, he’s completed at least 60% of his passes. If only we had decent WRs out there for him to throw it to.
5) Tyrod’s best receiving weapon is Charles Clay. I think losing Woods/Watkins may have been the best thing for the TE. Tyrod doesn’t have anyone on this team that he has throwing chemistry with. Zay Jones looks completely lost out there and his chemistry with Tyrod just isn’t there. Clay is the only WR/TE on this roster who Tyrod threw passes to the previous two seasons. In his last 7 games with Taylor starting, Clay has 7 TDs and 36 catches. His 112 yard game today was the 2nd time he’s gone over the century mark as a Bill and first time since Giants/Bills in 2015.
6) The Bills have allowed just four offensive TDs on the season. That’s tied for 3rd fewest through 4 games in team history. Their 54 points allowed are the fewest through 4 games since 1992.
6B) While Pro Football Reference doesn’t keep track of drive times from before 1999, the 11:20 drive today was the longest the Bills have had over that stretch. And with help from Mike Haim, it was the longest Bills drive dating back to 1987 when they started keeping track. Hell, maybe it is the longest drive in Bills history.
7) While it wasn’t like last year, the running game looked a lot better today. There were some nice runs where McCoy really showed his patience in letting the holes open up for him. He gets a lot of love for his shiftiness, but his vision to pick holes shined through today. I also liked seeing Incognito do some guard pulling which was out of last year’s playbook. McCoy did his best work on that 11:20 minute drive when he gained 44 yards rushing. Still, outside of that drive, the Bills on the day only averaged just 3.3 YPC. So there’s still a lot of work to do.
8) I love LeSean McCoy’s attitude.
He’s reminding me of Thurman Thomas with his trash talking towards media members who doubt the team. That’s what Thurman used to do back in the day. Trust me, it takes a lot for me to draw parallels to those 90s teams. McCoy’s running ability and trash talking reminds me of #34.
8) Lorenzo Alexander had 3 QB hits today. I think he’s done a really nice job in adjusting back to a 4-3 defense. Also, Jerry Hughes is so good off the edge and the spin moves he normally pulls out are eye-dropping.
9) What I didn’t like…
- I still don’t like the Marcell Dareus rotation situation.
- I think I don’t like the Bills not going for it on 4th and an inch on the goal line…but you can convince me otherwise. I mean, if the Bills go for it and miss it, the Falcons are playing for the FG on the final drive. I will say, if we base 4th down decisions via Twitter, we wouldn’t even have a punter as we’d go for it every time. The trying to draw them offside was stupid. Please stop that BS.
- Zay Jones couldn’t catch a cold at this point.
10) Stephen Hauschka is the new Brian Moorman.
11) Weekly shotgun portion of the piece: The Bills were in Shotgun on 22 plays. McCoy ran twice out of shotgun for a total of 10 yards. Taylor threw for 55 yards while in shotgun.
12) The Bills have gone three straight weeks where their yards per carry has been less than 4 yards. That’s the first time they have done that since 2014. After that, you’d have to go back to 2008 to find the trifecta of poor rushing games in a row.
13) The last three MVPs: Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan. The Bills have faced all three (Rodgers-2014/Cam and Ryan-2017) and have held them to a combined 39 points.
14) Final word: I’m stubborn like a mule. I don’t want to have some sort of sweeping declarations like playoffs are on the horizon, but things do feel like they are changing. The defense is playing lights out right now and they aren’t doing it against shitty QBs. McDermott has the team believing in themselves probably because he has them believing in his defensive scheme. I’ve been impressed with Tyrod’s play and when they actually have him throw the football, he’s been efficient. If only they still had Sammy Watkins [Let it go, Joe]
The Bills are a lot better than I thought they were going to be and are so much better than what Rex Ryan did with them. I’m still waiting for the shoe to drop, but rooting for wins is a lot more fun than rooting for a top pick.