The Bills played a very key early division battle on Sunday against the Kings of the East in the Patriots. It was a game Rex Ryan talked up all week and many of the players talking up as if it was the Super Bowl. When the game actually occurred, the Bills got whooped in all phases of the game and even though the score says it was a close game, it wasn’t even close as the Bills were demolished.
Sexy Rexy Defense Struggles
Rex is known as a defensive genius and in recent years his Jets teams kept the games against the Patriots close. The Bills defense was as good as those teams and many thought it would be a close defensive struggle. Instead the defense got ripped to pieces by Tom Brady who is on a Rampage Tour. The Patriots incorporated a quick passing offense which negated the Bills pass rush which was their strength. Brady average time to throw was two seconds, and is a big reason he hardly got sacked.
The biggest concern for the defense was the secondary. Against a short passing game with quick underneath guys, the Bills primarily played off coverage. This allowed the Patriots to hit a lot of underneath passes and move the chains to get to the redzone where they are nearly unstoppable. The secondary had massive communication problems particularly in the redzone as they were having trouble communicating on who covers who and it led to a Gronk and Edelman TD. The defense is supposed to be the strength of the Bills and giving up even thirty points was hard to imagine. Instead they give up 40 and a lot of had to do to poor playcalling and even worse, poor execution.
At Least Shady Looked Good
The Bills had a pretty good game on offense week 1 against the Colts but this week they played an actual defense. The first drive was great as a mixture of runs and passes led the Bills to a TD and early momentum. After that, NE adjusted and for the most part shut the Bills offense down until the game was already out of hand. The offensive line had a day to forget as even with just four, the Patriots were getting pressure. Cordy Glenn continues to struggle against speed rushers as Chandler Jones dominated him and Jones is horrible. The run game was a hit or miss as they seemed to never find a groove with the penalties and getting behind on first down. Shady was great this week, rebounding well from last week and deserved more than 15 carries.
The passing game until the fourth quarter was extremely bad as the Bills struggled mightily in pass protection and throwing the ball. The offensive line was getting pushed back a lot as the front four was knocking back Cordy Glenn, Eric Wood and John Miller. The only bright spot on the offensive line was Richie Incognito who held his own. It looked a lot like last year which hopefully improves as the season goes on.
As a passer, Tyrod was extremely conservative. Of his thirty official pass attempts, 24 of them were thrown less than 10 yards. His other six pass attempts, all traveled more than twenty yards and he was three for six for two touchdowns and two interceptions. The intermediate passing game has been non-existent as the only throw more than ten yards he’s comfortable throwing is a go route. It became a problem as the Patriots figured this out and forced him to attack the middle of the field and throw it more than ten yards. It wasn’t until the game was well out of hand that Tyrod was finally able to connect on the deeper passes when the Patriots started to soften up on defense.
Finally able to watch the All-22, it looked like Tyrod struggled to see the whole field. Numerous times in the middle of the field the Patriots left players wide open and Tyrod didn’t pull the trigger, instead going short or scrambling into a sack. The pressure was getting to him as he wasn’t stepping up in the pocket, instead drifting to the right. He also started to throw every pass high which led to numerous overthrows and tipped passes that led to interceptions. His runs all were all designed runs and it seemed like he was trying too hard to be a pocket passer. What he needed were designed rollouts with run and pass options to use his athleticism. I’ll attribute some of it to it looking like he was overwhelmed by the pressure and it being his second start, but if he wants to last in the league, he needs to attack the middle of the field.
Overall the Bills as a whole were just extremely flat. The defense got beat to a pulp and were unable to use their biggest strength which was their pass rush. The play calling on both sides of the ball were brutal and neither offense or defenses schemed to the strengths in that area. Rex Ryan talked a big talk but instead he looked like Dabo Swinney out there. The offense needs to a better job getting the ball to Sammy Watkins as he makes plays whenever he gets it. It is only one loss and the Bills are sure to lose at least two games but maybe now the Bills will adjust. With this, one thing that is for sure, the honeymoon is over and Rex needs to show he isn’t just a motivational speaker.