The Bills have not been the pushover many expected them to be
The Bills pulled a great upset this Sunday, beating the Carolina Panthers at the last second. This follows an emotional heartbreak where they were leading against the New England Patriots, only losing in a last second FG. These two games show the Bills are not the pushover many predicted them to be and in fact they have the muscle to put a scare in every team they play.
First let us start with the weak link from last year: the defense. Last year the Bills gave up an average of 27.2 ppg (26th in the NFL) and 362.9 ypg (22nd in the NFL). The Bills held the Patriots and Panthers to 23 points apiece and really showed it in the redzone, making both teams settle for FGs instead of touchdowns.
The offense also looks to be drastically different. Now they have a new offensive philosophy and use the up-tempo style which is all the rage in the NFL. Leading the offense is 1st round pick EJ Manuel from Florida State University. Through the 1st two games there has been some real growth in him. In the 1st game he looked like a game manager, but in the 2nd game he looked like captain clutch. A lot of this can be through the offensive playbook being expanded. The Bills are throwing it deep more and really using the talents that EJ has. He has so far completed 68.2 % of his passes and what is more important is when they opened it up more in the second game, he did better. The scary thing is this is just a fraction of what the playbook is, they haven’t even done any option plays which is really what EJ excels at.
What really makes the Bills the team click is new head coach Doug Marrone. He has changed the way this team plays, he has put in a spark that this team needed. He has his guy at QB and put an aggressiveness that this team desperately needed. He has made mistakes, the clock management at the end of the Pats game is one, but he is still learning the NFL and those mistakes should not be happening anymore. The Bills are a real contender in this league, and with the decline by the Patriots, Steelers and Ravens the second Wild Card is up for grabs. The only real contender for it is the Colts and they may have run out of Luck.