DON’T GET ME STARTED won’t be misled by the fact that the Bills are in striking distance of leading the AFC East. Buffalo is 2-2 on the season after the ugly loss to Houston 23-17; the Jets lost to be in a 1-3 hole and New England plays


Art Wander

Monday night. The best the Bills will realize is that they’ll either be a game behind the Pats or tied with them and the Dolphins on Tuesday.

OK, let’s not mess around following the Bills loss to the Houston Texans. Ryan Fitzpatrick might be thinking, “You should have kept me” or “Thanks for letting me go and now I’m in Houston where I’m a starter and have a 3-1 record in the NFL.”

Fitzpatrick watched the Bills race off to a 10-0 lead, then ripped off 20 straight points enroute to a 23-17 win over Buffalo, the team he played for before Doug Marrone and his offensive arm, Nate Hackett, decided to put their careers on the line by putting their faith in a very erratic E.J Manuel.

Talk about a quarterback going backward. In game 1 against the Bears, Manuel had a 70% passing grade; next game against Miami it dropped to 66% and against San Diego it went to around 60%. Then Sunday his completion % went under 50%.

During the past week, all we heard was that the Texans were vulnerable to the run. Everyone was expecting Spiller and Jackson to have big games. When they were given the ball, they did fine.

Buffalo got the ball first and what does Nate Hackett do? First call? 3 straight passes to go 3 and out. Next couple possessions and again, 3 and out. It seemed that fans would have been pleased with a first down which didn’t occur until the 2nd quarter. I then knew that it was going to be a long day.

Now you know how much stock you can put into Doug Marrone when he preaches that the Bills will focus on the run.

Yesiree, bub. Run on Houston, they’re vulnerable was the echo. Even the announcers made the same observation. Take the first half. Manuel threw the ball 25 times, (almost twice the # of runs) completing 14 for 89 yards. As for handing the ball to Spiller and Jackson? They rushed a combined 14 times with Spiller gaining 48 yards on 9 carries while Jackson had 5 rushes for 24 yards. Those were good numbers. But no, Nate Hackett or Doug Marrone , or both, didn‘t listen to all those prognosticators who determined that you could run on the Texans.

In the 2nd half, Spiller and Jackson carried the ball ONLY 9 times – combined.

I don’t know if Marrone and Hackett wanted to beef up Manuel’s numbers but it played right into the hands of J.J. Watt and the Houston defense who made life miserable for Manuel, especially JJ Watt. But Manuel’s performance also made his life miserable.

Wasn’t it the plan for the Buffalo Bills to stop Houston’s running game and put the ball into Fitzpatrick’s hands? Well, Schwartz, the defensive coordinator had his troops ready to stop the run and they, again, did a fine job allowing ONLY 37 yards rushing in the game. But Fitzpatrick was the difference for Houston.

On the afternoon, Manuel was 21 of 44 for 225 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Outside the 80 yard bomb to a wide open Mike Williams later in the 2nd half, the best completion Manuel made was to J.J. Watt as Buffalo was marching for a score early in the second half. It was a 3rd and 2 deep in Texas territory when Manuel lobbed a toss right into the arms of Watt who raced 80 yards for a touchdown with the interception. The way Spiller and Jackson were running, 2 yards wasn’t that difficult but Hackett called a pass play for the killer TD against Buffalo.

For the game, Spiller carried 15 times for 60 yards including a 22 yard burst, while Jackson rushed only 7 times for 33 yards with the longest being 14 yards. # 1 pick Sammy Watkins grabbed only 4 passes including a short TD reception, his 2nd of the season. What happened to “Let’s get the ball to Sammy?”

MANUEL THREW 44 TIMES WHILE THE BILLS RUSHED ONLY 22 TIMES., Twice as many passes than runs against a team that most everyone felt was ripe for a good running attack.

As for former Bill Ryan Fitzpatrick? He completely outplayed Manuel and Hackett with his arm and his legs. Fitz completed 25 of 37 passes for 268 yards, 1 TD and 2 picks. The Buffalo defense did a great job stopping the Houston running game but it was Fitzpatrick who burned them by including several runs on 3rd and long, converting them into first downs. Note that Fitz passed 37 times, and Texas rushed 23 times.

On Saturday, I watched Syracuse play, where Doug Marrone and Hackett came from and I thought it was an early Halloween. I have never seen uglier uniforms than those worn by the SU players. They were completely horrible gray with a burgundy helmet while their fans had orange shirts since SU was always known as the orange. Even Orange was painted in the end zone.

I debated which was uglier – the ‘Cuse outfits or the game played by the Bills against Houston. Frankly, I’ve heard enough of Marrone’s confidence in Manuel and protecting him; I’ve long had enough of OC Hackett devising the game plan and especially calling the plays. And, frankly, I will join all the fans calling for Marrone to put in Orton at quarterback. Make the change. If Cleveland can have Manziel on the sidelines learning, then certainly the Bills can put E.J. on the sidelines to learn.

The scoring summary had fans feeling good at half-time with the lead Dan Carpenter put Buffalo ahead with a 31-yard field goal after a 67=yard drive. Buffalo made it 10-0 as Watkins took a 5-yard pass from Manuel to make it 10-0.

Houston’s Sammy Watkins buddy DeAndre Hopkins took a 35-yard pass from Fitzpatrick with only 57 seconds left in the first half to send the teams to the locker room with the Bills on top 10-7.

Buffalo got a turnover and had the ball deep in Texans territory early in the third period, that’s when Watt got his interception and Houston went on top 14-10. Randy Bullock kicked a 41-yarder to make it 17-10 for the Texans.

Buffalo defense kept getting the ball back in the 4th quarter but the offense continued to struggle. Houston added a 55-yard field goal to make it 20-10.

It was desperation time for Buffalo. Manuel connected with Williams to close the gap to 20-17 with 9 minutes left in the game. But Bullock nailed his 3rd field goal to make it 23-17. Buffalo had time to score and go ahead but it was not to be. Hitting receivers allowing them to get out of bounds with over a minute left and no time-outs, Manuel decided to go more toward the middle and was picked off again and that was the ball game 23-17

The continuing problem of penalties continued to plague the Bills. They were flagged 8 times to go with the 11 a week ago. The coaches have to do something to curb the practice.’

The Bills were only 5 of 16 on 3rd downs. Though statistically it shows Buffalo outgaining Houston 316 yards to 301, let’s remember 80 of those Bills yards came on 1 play, the 80=yard pass to Williams. The net yard passing totals favored Fitzpatrick 264 to 220

Both quarterbacks suffered 2 interceptions and each were sacked twice. But the interception by Watt was disastrous. A run certainly would have seemed to be the right call, but Hackett called that lob pass that went to Watt and the 80-yard spring for a TD.

In short, I wouldn’t mind a changing of the guard on the sidelines. I strong feel the Bills need a solid offensive coordinator and a head coach who would go out and get one on Don’t Get Me Started

Filed under: Don't Get Me Started

Tagged with: , , ,

Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.