Buffalo Bills Winners and Losers: Bills/Patriots Edition
I give them credit for finding new and inventive ways to lose every week.
With the 37-31 loss, the Bills record now stands at 3-6. The next seven games are all winnable, but the team has done nothing to show that they can be consistent for seven consecutive games.
The loss also ensures that the Bills cannot have a winning record in the AFC East. The loss moves them to 0-3 within the division.
While the game did not turn out as Bills fans had hoped, it's time to recognize Bills players and coaches in both a positive and negative way.
Who were some of today's biggest and losers? Read on to find out!
Winner: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Let me get it out of the way. Fitzpatrick's interception at the end of the game was brutal. There is no excuse for that throw when the Bills still had time to run two or maybe even three plays. For whatever reason, Fitzpatrick was determined to throw the ball into the endzone.
That said, it was the only costly throw Fitzpatrick made all day.
His final stats were impressive:
27/40, 337 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception and 12 yards rushing.
Against the Patriots' porous pass defense, Fitzpatrick did his job. He spread the ball well and found open receiver after open receiver.
The final throw by Fitzpatrick ended the game, but he also made plenty of plays to keep the Bills in the game.
Loser: Fred Jackson
Fred Jackson had two touchdowns, but he also had two fumbles, one of which was extremely costly.
For the second time this year the Bills fumbled the ball on the 1 yard line against the Patriots. In their first meeting it was C.J. Spiller. Today, it was Fred Jackson.
The turnover came on the Bills first drive of the 4th quarter. Jackson was running hard and was stripped of the ball short of the goal line. While I respect and commend Jackson for running hard, he simply needs to do a better job of securing the ball.
On the Bills last drive of the game, Jackson once again fumbled the ball. To be fair, it was a KO shot by Brandon Spikes. Corey McIntyre recovered Jackson's second fumble, but Jackson was injured and this cost the Bills their final timeout.
Jackson finished the game with 16 carries for 80 yards (5.0 YPC) and four receptions for 35 yards.
In contrast, C.J. Spiller, the Bills' most explosive player, had 9 carries for 70 yards (7.78 YPC) and 4 receptions for 61 yards.
This may not be the most-popular decision, but I think it's time that the Bills start to phase Jackson out a bit. Spiller has proven this season to be the better back and the Bills will be better off giving the majority of their snaps to one running back.
Winner: Donald Jones
Stevie Johnson led the Bills receivers with six receptions for 86 yards, but Donald Jones chosen as the winner for his consistency as of late.
In the last three games, Jones has 16 receptions for 186 yards. He's also scored two touchdowns in the last three weeks.
On the season, Jones now has 32 receptions. This is a career high and with half of the receptions coming in three weeks, there is no telling how many receptions he'll end the season with.
Jones seems to be taking the next step as a wide receiver. He may never be a superstar in this league, but his play is getting better with each passing week.
Loser: Dave Wannstedt
Dear Mr. Wannstedt,
Your defense has given up 30 points in five of nine games.
Another running back ran on your team with ease.
The Patriots only punted the ball twice all game.
Your defensive players only sacked Brady once and the Patriots converted 7 of 12 third down conversions.
Simply put, you aren't doing your job. The sport has simply passed you by and you're still living off of your fame from 20 years ago.
Try something new. Send exotic blitzes, line up Mario Williams at different spots on the line. Stop allowing Nick Barnett to cover wide receivers or tight ends. He can't do it.
With seven games to play you have a chance to try new things since the season is seemingly lost. Take advantage of this opportunity and prove to our fan base that you deserve to be employed in Buffalo come 2013.
Winner: Kyle Williams
I feel bad for Kyle Williams. Sometimes it seems like he's the only player on the defense who cares. Regardless of the score, situation, or how nicked he is, Williams always plays at his hardest.
Today he was credited with half a sack and two tackles. That's the problem with defense, the stats don't really tell the whole story.
Tom Brady had happy feet late in the game and it was due to Williams. He was in Brady's face all game long. He forced Brady to make some off-balance throws and he hit him at least a handful of times.
The Bills signed big name players in free agency and drafted Marcell Dareus high in the 2011 NFL draft, but Kyle Williams has been by far their best defensive player in 2012.
For his sake, I hope the Bills can salvage this season. If not, I hope the team brings in the right pieces. If one player deserves the right to experience success at the pro level it's Kyle Williams.
Losers: The Buffalo Bills
How do you commit fourteen penalties in a game? It's simple. The only way it's possible for your team to be penalized this much is due to undisciplined play. The penalties cost the Bills 148 yards.
The defense as a whole was once again nonexistent. I know the Patriots are very talented offensively, but this is the fifth game that the Bills have given up at least 30 points.
What about the turnover battle? The Bills fumbled the ball three times, losing the ball twice. Ryan Fitzpatrick also had an interception. The Patriots on the other hand had no fumbles and no interceptions.
Bryan Scott and Leodis McKelvin both had an opportunity to intercept Tom Brady early in the game and both let the ball fall to the ground.
On offense, you only gave C.J. Spiller nine carries. Spiller is the best offensive player on the team and the competition is not close. I simply can not understand how Chan Gailey does not get Spiller more involved. For this reason alone, Gailey does not deserve to come back to coach the team in 2013.
Were the referees absolutely terrible in the first half? Yes! That said, the Bills need to be held accountable for a lot of the penalties that were called against them.
If the Bills want any shot of making the playoffs this season they need to win out and finish with a 10-6 record.
One more loss and it's safe to start talking about the 2013 NFL season.