Buffalo Bills Winners and Losers: Bills/Colts Edition
RIP Buffalo Bills 2012 season.
To get back into the playoff picture, the Bills needed a win against the Colts today as well as some help. The help came with wins by the Jaguars over the Titans, Browns over the Steelers and Patriots over the Jets.
Unfortunately, the Buffalo Bills could not help themselves. With their seventh loss of the season, there is no reason to believe that the Bills can win out and even have a chance for the playoffs.
The worst part about the 2012 season is that this team has the most talent we've seen in a while, and we're still looking at a mediocre season.
With that being said, let's take a look at some players who stood out for the Buffalo Bills today.
Winner: C.J. Spiller
It's not C.J. Spiller's fault that Chan Gailey won't get him the proper amount of carries.
Once again, when given carries, Spiller showed off his big play ability. Spiller's longest run of the game went for 41 yards. He finished the game with 14 carries for 107 yards. This averages out to 7.64 yards per carry.
With an average that high, it makes no sense for him to only have 14 carries by the end of the game. Unfortunately, when you have a head coach who is clearly in over his head, this can happen.
Buddy Nix has already stated that Gailey is coming back next year. Here's to hoping he changes his mind and brings in a coach who will feature Spiller properly.
Seeing Spiller's talent wasted week after week is wearing thin on the Bills faithful.
Winner: Stevie Johnson
Stevie Johnson had his best game of the season against the Colts.
He finished the game with six receptions for 106 yards. His longest reception went for 63 yards. Johnson is known for his solid route running and on the 63-yard play he simply fooled Darius Butler and created a great amount of separation. The throw was Ryan Fitzpatrick's only accurate long pass of the game.
Johnson also lands on the winner's list after his hustle play. With 4:43 left in the fourth quarter, Fitzpatrick threw his most accurate pass of the game, a ball directly into the chest of Colts safety Tom Zbikowski. The former Golden Domer returned the ball 20 yards only to have Johnson chase him down, strip him of the ball and recover the fumble.
Lastly, Johnson deserves to be listed as a winner for his postgame comments. Bleacher Report's own Chris Trapasso stated on Twitter:
Interesting that Stevie Johnson says Ryan Fitzpatrick should call his own plays. #Bills fans aren't the only ones frustrated w/ Gailey.
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) November 25, 2012
Clearly, Johnson knows that Gailey is in over his head.
Winner: Marcell Dareus
Marcell Dareus was one of the most disappointing players on the roster in the first half of the season. His head didn't seem in the game. Dareus did have to cope with the loss of his brother so he had a reason to be distracted.
That said, Dareus has played some of his best ball in the last couple of weeks. On Sunday, Dareus ended the day with five solo tackles.
On one play, he stopped Vick Ballard at the line of scrimmage. On the following play, Dareus stopped Dwayne Allen for a two-yard gain on a tight-end screen.
He also stopped Luck for a gain of one yard when the Colts' quarterback tried to scramble out of the pocket.
Dareus' most impressive play, however, was his sack of Luck in the third quarter.
Dareus simply grabbed Luck and rag-dolled him to the turf for a seven-yard loss.
His play has been inconsistent, but lately Bills fans have seen the best of Marcell Dareus.
Winner: Mario Williams
Well, it's safe to say that Mario Williams' wrist procedure worked.
Since undergoing the procedure during the Bills' bye week, fans have seen a completely different player.
Today, Williams was absolutely dominant.
He finished the game with three tackles; all three tackles were sacks of Andrew Luck.
Williams now has 8.5 sacks on the season in 11 games. Something tells me that he finishes the season strong and comes close to 15 sacks on the season.
Super Mario is showing Bills fans why he deserved the contract he received from Buffalo in the offseason.
Loser: Bruce DeHavens
I've praised Bruce DeHaven plenty this season. Overall, he's done a nice job as the Bills' special teams coach. That said, for the second consecutive week, his special teams unit has given up a touchdown.
Last week, Marcus Thigpen of the Dolphins returned a kick 96 yards for a touchdown.
This week, T.Y. Hilton scored a touchdown on a 75-yard punt return.
DeHaven needs to work with his unit to make sure they aren't exposed for any more touchdowns this season.
Today's gaffe was the difference in the game when you look at the final scoreboard.
Loser: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Alright Fitzpatrick apologists, give me whatever excuses you want. Once again, Fitzpatrick showed he is not the answer at QB for the Buffalo Bills.
Fitzpatrick finished the game 17-of-33 for 180 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Against the Colts, Fitzpatrick had opportunities to make plays. Early in the game, Fitzpatrick had a free play where the Colts were offsides. Knowing this, he threw the deep pass to C.J. Spiller. Spiller had a few steps on his defender, but Fitzpatrick overthrew the ball.
Later in the first half, Donald Jones was wide open going down the left side of the field. Once again, Fitzpatrick was off the mark.
Two plays that should have resulted in touchdowns resulted in nothing.
Fitzpatrick also panicked in the pocket and tried to scramble for first downs when the defense was simply ready for it.
Lastly, he was his normal errant self. He threw many passes into the turf or behind his wide receivers.
Fitzpatrick's last game as starting quarterback of the Buffalo Bills cannot come soon enough.
Need another reason as to why Fitzpatrick isn't the answer? Here is Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News:
Correction to an earlier tweet: Fitzpatrick has NEVER started and won an NFL road game against a team that finished with a winning record.— Jerry Sullivan (@TBNSully) November 25, 2012
Loser: Chan Gailey
It's time to go, Chan.
I've already proposed a "Can Chan" t-shirt that features Gailey in a trashcan à la Oscar the Grouch. Hopefully you'll be seeing them soon.
Gailey has one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL in C.J. Spiller. So what does Gailey do? He gives Spiller 14 total carries. You'd think with so few carries, Spiller must not have been successful. However, that wasn't the case as Spiller went over the century mark in the 14 carries.
To make matters worse, Spiller's last carry of the game came with 13:33 left in the fourth quarter.
In the first half, the Bills had the chance to attempt a 52-yard field goal. Instead, Chan Gailey brought out the punt team. The game was held in a dome, and Gailey didn't trust Rian Lindell to even attempt the field goal. If this is the case, the Bills should be actively searching for a new kicker.
Heading into today's game, the Colts talked about how great the Bills were with screen-passes. Clearly, they prepared for the different screens, and it showed when Buffalo called them. The only successful screen came on a wide-receiver screen to T.J. Graham. Instead of changing things up, Gailey kept going to the well and the screens didn't work.
I joked on Twitter during the game that the Bills use the Tecmo Bowl playbook: four pass plays and four run plays.
Gailey has been labelled an offensive genius by many, but to anyone who watches Buffalo, it's apparent that the game has passed him.
Postgame, Howard Simon of WGR550, radio home of the Buffalo Bills, stated:
Gailey: told team the goal is to get to 7-7. thats where the world champs were last year(insert uncontrollable laughter here)— howard (@hsimon62) November 25, 2012
It's time for the Bills to be realistic and once again start the search for the next Marv Levy.