Considering that just about everything went wrong on Sunday, Field Goals will be a bit different this week. Rather than to simply review and then discuss what changes the Bills need to make heading into San Francisco, this week’s field goals will be the Bills Quarterly Awards.
The Bills are 2-2 through the first four games of the year, have two convincing wins and two ugly losses. There have been some bright spots and plenty of dim spots. Funny enough, the team is still .500 – even though they face two of the NFC’s best these next two games – and are technically tied for first in the AFC East. However, it is the way the Bills have lost those two division games that has caused so much grief throughout the fanbase.
As they stand today, most fans would probably take anyone but the Browns to beat the Bills. The defense has been streaky and their quarterback cannot win a game on his own. It is a scary thought that the team still seems to stumble within the division, but they aren’t 0-4, so things could be worse.
1stQuarter MVP – CJ Spiller: This is easy. Spiller has been dynamic and a game breaking talent. He appeared capable of scoring 52 against Cleveland on his own prior to his shoulder injury. Aside from his goal line fumble against New England, he has been Buffalo’s most reliable back. Spiller will continue to split carries with Fred Jackson as the season progresses and could potentially make the ground attack the focal point of the offense.
1stQuarter LVP – Linebackers: The defensive line is better. Stephon Gilmore has shutdown potential and the safeties have played together for three-straight seasons. However, the linebacking corps is beyond underwhelming. Nick Barnett is starting to look his age (although he made some plays against KC and Cleveland) and Arthur Moats is about as one dimensional as you get. Kelvin Sheppard is probably due for more praise than he is getting, but he has yet to be used in anything other than the base defense. Unless the linebackers can prove they can cover backs and tight ends while actually supporting in the run game, they will remain the weakest link on the defense.
Play of the 1st Quarter – Spiller’s screen pass TD against Cleveland: It couldn’t have been much easier for Spiller on this play. He caught the ball in the flat with a convoy of blockers and plenty of green in front of him. It was a well set up and executed play.
Worst Play of the 1stQuarter – Cromartie pick six: No one really knows where the miscommunication was between Fitz and David Nelson on this play. All that we do know is that Cromartie was wide open and Fitz hit him between the numbers. An ugly play in an equally ugly game.
Super Mario Moment –Cleveland game: Mario victimize a rookie right tackle with bull rushes and dominated the game. He dictated a lot of choices made by the Browns and came away with a sack. It was the type of performance the Bills paid for.
Koopa Troopa Moment –Jets game: Horrible lack of hands to the face calls or not, Williams faced a second-string tackle who kept him outside and didn’t let him be a factor for the entire game. It was a division game and Williams was invisible. I rank this above the Pats game because at least Sebastian Vollmer is somewhat well respected as a tackle.
1stQuarter Defensive MVP – Jarius Byrd: His sophomore slump is far behind him. Byrd is equally astute diagnosing and supporting the run as he is as a ball hawk in deep support. Even in the two losses, he has made a handful of plays that show his effectiveness.
1st Quarter Defensive LVP – Nickel corners: Is Terrence Mcgee healthy yet? How about Ron Brooks? Justin Rodgers was fine against poor quarterbacks against KC and Cleveland but was torched by the Pats. Ledois McKelvin was, well, he was Ledois. The Bills could use a little more support at this position.
Best Adjustment – Committing to the run against Cleveland: With Jackson and Spiller gone, Chan Gailey stuck with the gameplan and kept running Tashard Choice against the Browns. He racked up solid yardage and the Bills fought the ebb that was threatening to steal a sure win from them.
Lack of Adjustment –Run defense against New England: According to Kyle Williams, the Patriots only ran a handful of running plays. However, the Bills couldn’t stop them. The staff didn’t decide to change up the packages with their linebackers and it bit them. Badly. Games like the New England and Jets debacles cannot continue with the coaching staff thinking there is no need to change the way the offense and defense are being run.
Best Personnel Move –None: This isn’t an indication of the staff. There just hasn’t been any need for changes yet. Dorin Dickerson could be a candidate if he got a few more touches.
Worst Personnel Move –Tavaris Jackson: Just a huge question mark. Jackson isn’t expected to move past the number three role and is currently occupying a spot that could be used to sign a receiver or offensive lineman. Honorable mention to whoever decided to cut Brian Moorman. Best of luck to him.
Welcome Back – Injury Bug: It seems as if the organization can’t avoid it. David Nelson and Fred Jackson were struck by knee injuries in week one. Mario Williams has a phantom wrist injury. CJ Spiller was knocked out of week two and now two starting offensive linemen are on the shelf. If the Bills had any luck it would be bad luck, I suppose.
You’ll Be Missed –Cordy Glenn: Hopefully he is back within four weeks. He has been an unsung hero (sort of) and could be argued as Buffalo’s best lineman. He will be back, but I hope it is sooner rather than later.
Bold Prediction for the Next Quarter - It is an ugly schedule moving forward and there isn't too much to get excited about regarding the prospects of facing two daunting defenses back-to-back. Then there is the chance that the Titans give DeHaven the Homerun Throwback treatment again. However, my bold prediction is that the Bills go into Phoenix and win. They will drop their games to San Fran and Houston, but they will beat Arizona and Tennessee.