Well, that was a roller coaster. Here's how Twitter saw it...
1st Quarter- 14-0 already? We are going to kill them.
2nd Quarter- CJ Spiller is hurt. Season is over! Typical Buffalo!
3rd Quarter- Browns are down by 3. It is over! Fitz stinks. I hate Tashard Choice. Where is the pass rush?
4th Quarter- Bills score. Browns are really bad. Wait! Choice has 91 yards on 20 carries?! Fitz leads the league in TDs? We win! yippee!
It was all over the place.
Frankly, if the Bills somehow lost this game, I wasn't going to allow the injury excuse as a reason. Come on. I didn't give it to the Sabres last year and I'm not giving it to the football team. The Browns are fricken terrible. Sure, if Spiller stayed healthy, maybe the Bills would have continued their 1st quarter dominance, but they should have still beaten them without him, which they did.
I'll give the Bills credit, the Browns had all the momentum after they cut the Bills lead to three and it looked like deja vu for your typical Buffalo disaster. However, the Bills finally woke up and seemed to say, "Yeah, we are better than this fricken team. Let's put them away." The final drive was great. They needed a clock-killing, let's make Cleveland feel like Buffalo did when CJ went out drive. Let's break their spirit.
10 plays, 68 yards.
31 yards for the rushing attack duo of White/Choice - did I really just type that? - and 37 yards through the air. Nice mix of the run and the pass. Touchdown. Game over. That's what you want from a good team. Turn it up when adversity hits you and beat bad teams.
---The offensive line is just kicking ass. No. It is not because of the QB or the scheme. Forget the chicken and the egg argument when it comes to OL. It is all about them. They are that good. You have two 2nd round picks and a 1st round pick on the line. We aren't talking about making a 5th round pick into an LT like we did for so long. Remember how we didn't draft any linemen from 2003-2008 in the first 3 rounds? Finally, they changed that up in 2009 with Wood and Levitre in the first and second round. Then they picked up Glenn in the 2nd round last year. Finally, they are trying to build the lines on both sides of the ball. We can all agree that Tashard Choice stinks, right? However, he gained 91 yards on 20 carries. Give credit to the line. They opened up huge holes. Hell, if Fred or CJ were still in, they probably would have gotten 200 yards today. Oh, and the pass protection? Stupendous.
---You can't kill Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's a riddle wrapped in an enigma. He can look so good (1st quarter: 7 of 9 for 103 yards and two touchdowns) and then look like crap on a roll (2nd and 3rd quarter: 43 yards passing) then look competent ( 37 yards on the last scoring drive). Yet, he finishes with three touchdowns and has 8 TDs for the season! Call him Mr.
September Fitzmember. In his last 7 September games, he has 19 touchdown passes. He does it so well sometimes, yet I find myself bitching about it.
---Judging by Twitter, you would have thought the president got shot after CJ Spiller went down with an injury. I know, he's been the flavor of the month, but geez, get a hold of yourselves. I was ready for someone to tweet that the waterfront wasn't going to get developed because he was carted off. If Fred comes back in a week or 2, the team isn't going to be much better or worse. That's why you have two backs. BTW, Chan says it doesn't look long-term, so, I hope you didn't swallow all those sleeping pills after the injury happened, Bills Mafia.
---The Bills scored three offensive touchdowns today against Cleveland which matches their total from the last four games against the Brownies.
---Fitz/Stevie connection have hooked up for 20tds in their first 32 games together. No QB/WR duo has gotten to 20 TDs faster in team history.
---The D-line played well, albeit, a little inconsistently. They looked great in the first quarter, kind of slipped in the 2nd and 3rd, and then just took control in the 4th. All we heard going into this game was how the Bills needed to stop Richardson. 12 carries for 27 yards is stopping him. The Bills have nine sacks on the year. Last year, they didn't get to 9 sacks until week 8 against Washington. Yes, they are much better, although so far the body of work has been against garbage QBs.
---I know Donald Jones gets a lot of crap (Who? Me?), but I thought he played well today. He made some tough catches in traffic, especially on his first grab. He also did a great job of blocking down the field on runs and screen passes. He's not a #2 guy, but he's at least contributing.
---The passing game has been better, but you gotta start going deep soon. We know Dick Jauron is a boob when it comes to strategy, but as I've been saying forever, if you want to beat the Bills passing game, you gotta take away the underneath stuff. The Browns CBs played off today and the Bills made them pay on their scoring drives. If Spiller/Jackson are out an extended time, you know that defenses are going to key in on the passing game. That's your formula.
---How about them screen passes! They are listening.
---So what do the Bills do without CJ and Fred? The same thing they've been doing since the KC game. Mix in the run and the pass. Pass 30 times and run 20-25 times. Yes, there will be a drop in the running department, but you have this awesome offensive line that we've been preaching about. Put the game on their shoulders. Also, even though the Wildcat stinks, you may want to have Brad Smith run it more because he may be our best runner right now. It is still important to establish the run. You need defenses to respect it. If you have Fitz throw 40 times and not establish the run, we are in trouble.
---Yes, Gilmore and Williams got burned and made some decent plays today. That's pretty much what you'll expect from a rookie and 2nd year player.
---Loved the play of Mark Anderson. We knew he could rush the passer, but he's been playing strong against the run and sealing off the edge. He's becoming a nice all-around player.
Final word: The season really begins next week. Measuring stick game. Beating the Browns/Chiefs isn't something I'd judge a team by. You wanna be taken seriously, you gotta beat the good teams. Yes, it is a tall order if both Fred/CJ aren't playing. I'm not expecting them to win, but I'd love for the Bills D-line to beat the crap out of Brady. If they can do that, I'll feel good about the rest of the season.