Bills Recap Episode I: The Phantom Interference

Bills Recap Episode I: The Phantom Interference
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The Bills ended their London Adventure with a heartbreaking loss. It was a very up and down game and it looked like the Jaguars really didn’t want Doug Marrone to be their next HC.  The good news is the Bills have a bye to hopefully get healthy and to learn how to change batteries.


Roller Coaster Ride on Offense 


When the first play on offense was a horrible screen play that was sniffed out quickly, you knew the offense was going to have one of those roller coaster days. The first quarter was a very sloppy affair of bad passes, horrible route running and situational awareness by Gragg, and the Bills only ended up with three points when they should have at least got seven. Then Murphy’s Law struck and the EJ Implosion happened.  First the Jags did an overload blitz on the right side which didn’t get entirely picked up (the left end at the last moment moved to the right side and blitzed) and EJ tried to get the ball out but was hit and popped it in the air which led to a TD. The very next offensive series, with Clay slipping, EJ locks on to Robert Woods where his fellow Nole picks him off for a pick six.  Then a couple plays later, he does a YOLO throw that also gets picked. That two minute span is the worse any QB could be.


Then after the second interception, the offense started to get hot again.  Roman adjusted to the defensive looks and started to run lots of curls, comebacks and combination routes to attack the Jags defense. The next drive the offense marched down the field and scored on a nice  fade to Robert Woods. The next two drives on offense led to two FGs  and it was a 27-16 game. Then the offense fell down again, the next drive got some steam before a Shady fumble ruined what at the very least was three points.  The next drive started with yet another poor route running job by Gragg who freelanced on a seam route and that drive stalled as well. It wasn’t until the next drive the offense got up again with Marcus Easley playing the Goodwin role of go route specialist and caught a deep bomb for a TD to make it a three point game.


And on the final drive is where Roman lost me. On 2nd and 1 with plenty of time left they run a slow developing sweep with Shady getting nothing. The next play they run a QB sneak that everyone expected and the offensive line got pushed back and it led to nowhere. Then on 4th and 1 they probably do the dumbest thing possible and roll EJ to the left and throw a tight window throw running to his left, something he is horrible at. Down only three with two minutes to go, the Bills looked like they played for a FG instead of the win on that final drive and it cost them. Overall the offense was really up and down, it got into a big hole and then got out and then questionable playcalling on the last drive gave the Jags the win. Tyrod and Watkins should be back after the bye so that will be nice.


The Interference that Wasn’t


Compared to last week the Bills defense was much improved. They were getting pressure on Bortles and he was dreadful, completing less than 50% of his passes. They did whiff on a few tackles, one being the long Yeldon run for a touchdown but overall the only big plays from Bortles came from him chucking it up to Robinson or Hurns and those two making a big catch. The Bills also made a huge momentum changing stop in the 3rd after the Jags got it all the way down to the one yard, shut them down three times in a row and gave the offense a chance for a comeback.  They also were able to force a pick six by pressuring Bortles and forcing him to chuck it twenty feet over his receiver and letting Graham run it in for the pick six to get a 31-27 lead.


The Jags got the ball back and got some early deep shots but were forced to 3rd and 15 when they got the biggest break possible. Bortles chucked the ball to the first down marker and his receiver fell down trying to make a play. The ref who had no clear view of the play, calls a flag on Nickell Robey for pass interference giving the Jaguars a key 1st down. When Robey asked the ref why it was interference, the ref gave him no explanation. It was a horrible call and it ended up costing the Bills as instead of 4th and 15, the Jags got a big 1st down and Bortles did his YOLO throw for a TD.  The Pass Interference that never was ended up being the huge turning point as it turned what would be a stop into a big first down. What’s worst if the refs make mistakes like this in numerous games and never are held accountable. Until Bill Belichick’s dream of flags to be reviewable comes true, stuff like this will always happen.


Overall it was an exciting game for those not invested in either team. The Yahoo stream wasn’t bad and this game will mean more of them will happen. The Bills dug themselves into a big hole but were able to get out of it and if it wasn’t for the officials getting pressured by the home team, it would have been considered one of the greatest comebacks the Bills have had.


In other news, the U made the Bills loss worse by firing National Treasure Al Golden. That and Jimbo Fisher showing why he should not be calling plays, made this not a great weekend sportswise.


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