Buffalo Bills Winners and Losers in Week 5 Blowout Loss to San Francisco 49ers
It's extremely difficult to do a "Winners-and-Losers" article when you cannot find more than a single player who qualifies as a winner.
For those of you keeping score at home, the Bills have been outscored 90-17 in the last six quarters.
It's one thing to allow Tom Brady and the Patriots march up and down the field on you, but Alex Smith? Regarded by his detractors as a "game manager", Smith averaged 12.6 yards per throw against the Bills.
Alex Smith wasn't the only player who had a great game against Buffalo. The 49ers rushing attack ran for over 300 yards and two of their receivers went over 100 yards.
As you can see, there is plenty of blame to go around. With that, let's take a look at which Bills players need to be singled out for their horrendous play and which deserve some positive recognition.
Winner: Leodis McKelvin
Let's start with the only player who actually did his job today. Leodis McKelvin only had one kick return and one punt return, but he did a great job both times he touched the ball.
McKelvin's one punt return went for an apparent touchdown. But Jairus Byrd was called for holding.
In his one kick return, McKelvin took the ball 59 yards, setting up the Bills offense on the Niners side of the 50. But the offense sputtered, and the end result was three points.
McKelvin's success was limited, but he proved himself to be an explosive return man. If he hits free agency at the end of the season, some team will bring him in due to his talents.
Loser: Aaron Williams
I'm going to try and take it easy on Williams as he injured himself late in the game. However, it was another game where the second year defensive back was exposed for his porous play.
Williams allowed Kyle Williams to catch a 43-yard pass and then couldn't react fast enough to prevent him for scoring a touchdown. Later, he was spun completely around by Mario Manningham on a double move that also resulted in a TD reception.
Williams' play in the run game was also subpar as he was carried downfield by 49er running backs. I hate to use the word "bust" this early in a player's career, but I do not see how the former Texas Longhorn turns into a quality NFL player.
Loser: Ryan Fitzpatrick
I take a lot of pride in my writing, but sometimes I feel like making a generic slide for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
It's the same problems with Fitzpatrick week after week, so it'd save me time to just copy and paste my critiques of the quarterback.
As usual, Fitzpatrick showed little to no accuracy on his throws. He overthrew T.J. Graham and Stevie Johnson, both of whom were open on deep passes.
He threw multiple passes too high, thereby putting his wide receivers at risk of injury.
For someone with a Harvard degree, he makes awful decisions. Look no further than his attempted touchdown pass to Donald Jones. The Bills were moving the ball down the field on the 49ers, and Jones had one-on-one coverage. If Fitzpatrick threw the ball correctly, Jones either scores a touchdown or the ball falls harmlessly to the ground.
Instead Fitzpatrick throws a lame duck of a pass that hangs in the air and falls about five to eight yards short. The end result? A Chris Culliver interception.
The "Fitz-Magic" is gone and the Bills, unfortunately, have no one who is ready to challenge him for his spot.
Losers: The Entire Defense
The 49ers are known for their aggressive defense that keeps them in any game. It's allowed Alex Smith and the 49ers offense to focus primarily on taking care of the ball.
On Sunday, the 49ers offense didn't look dependent on its defense at all.
Postgame, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed 3-1-1. When someone answered I calmly asked, "How did the Buffalo Bills give up 311 yards on the ground?" Even the person on the receiving end of my call couldn't justify it.
The 49ers had equal success through the air, coming up with 310 yards passing. San Francisco became the first team in NFL history to both run and throw for 300-plus yards in the same game.
Giving up six-hundred twenty-one yards to the 49ers offense is inexcusable.
There is too much talent on the Buffalo Bills defense to give up that much yardage to an average offense. This is not a knock on the 49ers, just a fact. No one will confuse the 49ers with the offenses of the Packers or the Patriots.
If Kevin Kolb has a career game next week and the Bills defense once again gets trounced, then the 2012 season will essentially be over for the Buffalo Bills.
Losers: The Bills Coaching Staff
It's plain and simple: The Bills have quit the last two weeks when the going got tough. There is no other way to say it. There is little to no emotion being shown on either side of the ball.
Bills players should be embarrassed and angered by their lackluster play, as they appear to be just going through the motions.
This leads me to believe that Chan Gailey and Dave Wannestedt are losing their players, and in turn this makes the coaching staff the biggest losers overall.
The 2012 season was supposed to be a make or break one for the Bills. Gailey is coming off of two lackluster years, but this year the team went out and brought in big-name free agents. The result is a 2-3 record thus far, and the loss moves Gailey's record to 12-25 as the Bills' head coach.
It's doubtful that the Bills make any changes before the end of the season, but if their horrendous play continues, Bills management may be forced to make a change.