A week after sweeping the NFC North with an improbable victory over the smoking hot Green Bay Packers, the Buffalo Bills decided to revert to form and get swept by the AFC West in an equally improbable 26-24 loss to the hapless Oakland Raiders. With a potential playoff berth on the line, the Bills were foiled by a trio of rookies in a truly pathetic display on both sides of the ball.
Let’s start with the defense, the former shining star of Western New York. Peyton Manning, 14/20 for 173 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, QB Rating of 56.9. Aaron Rodgers, 17/42 for 187 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, QB Rating of 34.3. Derek Carr, 17/34 for 214 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, QB Rating of 89.6. One of these things is not like the others! The Bills’ defense played down to the level of their competition in the worst possible way and at the worst possible time, allowing Derek Carr to outplay them and a scrub rookie running back to run all over them. Granted, everything started falling apart when Marcel Dareus had his leg rolled up on, but let’s not make excuses.
On the offensive side of the ball, once again that pea-brained imbecile calling plays decided to abandon the run and go all in on Kyle Orton’s passing abilities, because that has worked out so well for the Bills all year. Apparently Hackett is under the impression that he has the next Peyton Manning taking snaps instead of a slightly better Mark Sanchez. With 49 pass attempts (plus two drop backs that resulted in sacks) to only 13 rush attempts, the Bills lacked offensive balance yet again. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered because another rookie was giving the Bills fits on offense and at least this time when they abandoned the run, it wasn’t all that effective to begin with.
As a fan, I am still enraged by this game. It reminded me strongly of the game against Kansas City in that the Bills just stuffed the opposing offense, then got the ball and went right down the field for a big score, but somewhere along the line the wheels fell off and they never managed to get it back on track. With everything to play for, Marrone and the Bills couldn’t get up enough for a game against a two win team to make week 17 matter for the first time since 2004. Sure, odds of winning against New England were minimal, but to put together a 9 win season and actually be in real contention would have been a solid step forward. But to lose in this manner, to be eliminated by this team in that way, it’s just unacceptable.
Hackett needs to go. If Marrone won’t agree to that, then get rid of him too. Get rid of Orton, while you’re at it, he clearly doesn’t have the ability to take this team to the next level. They might as well start EJ next week, just to see if he learned anything in the past 12 weeks. The Bills need a quarterback and they need an offensive line to protect him. If they can manage to find something in the off season and keep the defense intact, then they might be in position to make some noise next year. If not, then be prepared for another mediocre season, Bills fans.