'A day after Buffalo beat the NFC’s Super Bowl representative and one of the National Football League’s two undefeated teams … on the road, that’s exactly what he was doing.'
Archives for October 3, 2017
'“To see him in training camp and the preseason games, to see that the game wasn’t too big for him early on in our discussion about ‘should we start a rookie, and if we are going to start a rookie, when should we put him in the starting lineup.’ It was evident to us early on that this guy could handle it.”'
'The culture change he’s spearheading isn’t limited to the scope of his locker room. This is a complete organizational overhaul, one that requires everyone inside the facility to adopt a new outlook and a new standard.'
'So if the Bills are middling it, this is an opportune time for it. There's a vast NFL middle and it's not hard to see the playoffs from there. For four weeks, at least, the Bills are winning while laying a foundation for the future. They're a confident, well-coached team, one that should be even better in the years ahead if Beane and Co. hit in the drafts.'
'The game was a mixed bag for all five linemen. Center Eric Wood had a tough assignment blocking Grady Jarrett much of the day. Wood held Jarrett once and was beaten by him three times. But Wood bulled him on a key third-and-1 play and held up vs. Jarrett on four other important positive run plays. Passing grade for Wood.'
'“This is life in the NFL,” coach Sean McDermott said Monday. “This is what happens. We're certainly facing adversity. We've faced adversity before, and this is only going to make us stronger.'
'On the 15 pass plays in which he was "kept clean," Taylor completed 10 of 15 throws – and one drop – for 104 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, a stat line good for a 108.8 passer rating, the 12th-highest out of 30 qualifying signal-callers.'
'Let's examine all of the Bills' penalties in their win over the Falcons. At the bottom of this article is a collection of the flags through four games in the 2017 season.'
'Brandon [Beane] and I talk about a lot of things. At this point, we haven’t had any of those conversations about Anquan, but we look at everything every week to improve our football team. We’re going to have a lot of conversations this afternoon, but this is why, with respect to injuries, this is why we develop and count on players to develop in our system. Our coaches work with our backups who stepped up last night, did a great job, I thought, in a couple key areas in the game. We work with our practice squad players in the same way that we develop. You need depth in this league to sustain wins. Injuries are going to hit every team.'
'Peter King mentioned the Bills several times in his MMQB column, listing their 3-1 start as one of the early season oddities that “nobody saw coming,” referring to “rising teams like Buffalo coming out of nowhere” when discussing the AFC playoff picture, and awarding them the Bill Parcells Memorial Clock-Eating Scoring Drive of the Season for their 19-play, 11:20 possession on Sunday. King also selected Stephen Hauschka as his special teams player of the week.'
'The Bills tight end had gone over 100 yards in a game three times in his NFL career before. The first came in Week Two of 2013 as a member of the Dolphins, but his overall grade was just +1.0 (+0.7 pass-catching, +0.3) run-blocking). He had six grabs for 114 yards in Week Sixteen the following season. However, that game yielded a PFF overall grade of +2.2. Before Sunday, the last 100-plus yard effort from Clay came as a member of the Bills against the Giants in Week Four of 2015. While he had a +1.9 pass-catching grade in that one, his run-blocking score was -2.0.'
'But Bills coach Sean McDermott called time out before the play. Atlanta stayed in its base personnel for fourth down. Buffalo switched its defensive line, subbing stouter defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Cedric Thornton for Jerel Worthy and Ryan Davis. Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander were at defensive end. Preston Brown and Matt Milano were the linebackers. But Johnson didn't re-enter the game.'
'"The coaches put together a good game plan across the board and they stayed with it," coach Sean McDermott said. "This is a tough place to play. They are the defending NFC Champions, with one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Things didn’t always go our way. We had some things we would like back so we have some work we have to do in that regard, but I am just extremely happy with the way the guys battled, they are a very resilient group."'
'They're playoff chum: It feels weird thinking about the playoff implications of the Bills' Week Five game in a year they were presumed to be rebuilding, but at 3-1 it's not crazy. The Bills have a viable path to 10 wins if they beat the Bengals (1-3), Jets (2-2), Chargers (0-4), Colts (1-2), and Dolphins (1-2) twice, plus one of Tampa/Oakland/New Orleans/Kansas City/New England (x2). Every mention of the Bills actually having a shot comes with obligatory reminders to, 1) pump the brakes, and 2) remember nothing ever goes this smooth in the NFL … but this scenario strikes me as not unrealistic. If the Bills are thinking playoffs, this is a game they have to have.'
' Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus played just 22 snaps in his first game back after missing Week Three because of an ankle injury. Dareus' snap count was the lowest of any player on defense. He did not record any statistics, and remains at one assisted tackle in three games.'
'The Bills got so many controversial calls Sunday you almost wondered if the officials were confused and thought they were the New England Patriots. And that may continue to happen because good teams customarily get more calls and the Bills are in the customary spot of the Patriots atop the AFC East standings.'
'Sunday's game started with a 30.9 rating, which is low by Bills standards. But it grew to a 37.1 at halftime and ended with a 41.5 rating.'
'“You need depth in this league to sustain winning and injuries are going to hit every team,’’ said McDermott, who set out to tackle his team’s latest challenge in the same process-oriented approach he always takes.'
'Matthews suffered a broken thumb against the Falcons that will require surgery and sideline him indefinitely. Coach Sean McDermott said Monday he would have a clearer handle on the time frame in a couple of days. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Matthews is expected to miss up to a month.'
'The Bills were well represented in Atlanta on Sunday. Videos showed fans together before and during the game and a fan took a shot of many Bills fans exiting the stadium.'
'Buffalo's kicker went 3-of-3 on field goals against the Atlanta Falcons in their 23-17 upset win over the defending NFC champions. Hauschka's first field goal was a chip shot from 24 yards out, but two kicks of over 50 yards helped Buffalo seal the game.'
'Stephon Gilmore had a poor game on Sunday. The cornerback was responsible for blown coverage on a touchdown to Fozzy Whittaker during New England's matchup against Carolina. Gilmore was temporarily benched after the mistake, but came back into the game after an injury to Eric Rowe.'
'"How do you handle winning?" McDermott said. "You go back and focus on the grind, the process of what got us to winning the first place. That's what winners do. That's what teams that are used to winning do. You focus on that process. What we talk about is 90-percent process, 10-percent result. That's where I expect us to be as of a few hours ago is to be focused on that process, focused on the Cincinnati Bengals. Learn from the film that the guys are watching as I speak. Celebrate the good and the things that are up to the standard of performance that we're looking for. And the things that aren't, we better get them corrected fast."'
'"I'd say hold your horses a little bit," Sean McDermott said after the game. "One step at a time. What more could you say? It's a great win, but it's the next game, the next win."'
'This injury will likely mean a bigger role in the passing game for running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay, who already lead the team in receptions and yards.'
'Micah Hyde showed why he was the Bills' top priority in free agency this offseason. The safety had seven tackles (1 TFL) and two big interceptions for the Bills. Hyde won a jump ball for his first interception during the game and made a terrific catch off of a batted ball on his second interception. Through four weeks, Hyde and Jordan Poyer have emerged as one of the best safety tandems in the league.'
''“I’m not, I thought Zay did some really good things in the game. Zay has to do his job, just like the rest of us have to do our 1/11th. The young man works extremely, extremely hard, and he’s going through what normal rookies go through, that are expected to come in and play right away,” McDermott said.'
'“Well you look at it and substitutions; it’s another area we can improve upon,” McDermott said.'
'In terms of replacing Matthews and Humber, McDermott referenced multiple times during his press conference that he will have a meeting with general manager Brandon Beane “this afternoon” to discuss possible replacements for Matthews.'
'"We're not where we need to be. And anyone who thinks we are, in this building at least, is only fooling themsleves," McDermott said Monday. "I'd like to believe that I'm honest with myself when I look at our football team. And I see a team that has to continue to improve."'
'One option at receiver won't be Walt Powell. Buffalo released the player on Monday, when Powell was eligible to return after serving a four-game NFL suspension for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.'
'His teammates are loving him. "Hauschka's the man," guard Richie Incognito said. "He's a true professional. The guy works his butt off. He's probably the hardest-working kicker I've ever been around. He's passionate about it, and you know, we believe in him. When he makes those kicks, man, I mean they're huge for the team. It changes the whole tenor of the game."'
'"I don't think we're going to sneak up on anybody anymore after the last couple of wins," Bills center Eric Wood said.'
'The surgery will be the second for Matthews since he was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles for cornerback Ronald Darby on Aug. 11. Matthews had sternum surgery in the summer.'
'Without Matthews, rookie Zay Jones is now the Bills' top healthy wide receiver. Jones has four catches on 14 targets this season for 57 yards. The Bills are expected to start sixth-year wideout Andre Holmes opposite Jones this Sunday.'
'This doesn't say much for the Bills, but it may say even less for the Falcons. Going up against a 4-2-4 defense would, presumably, leave at least a few holes for the Falcons. Whatever the case, the result of the play was an incomplete pass from Matt Ryan that was intended for Taylor Gabriel. The Falcons turned the ball over on downs, clinching the win for the Bills. It's just another notch on the belt for the suprising Bills defense, which has shown drastic improvement under McDermott in the early going of the 2017 season.'
'Humber leads the Bills in tackles (37) through the first four games of the season. The nine-year veteran is in his second season with the team, but first as a starter after winning that role during training camp. With Humber sidelined for an uncertain amount of time, Buffalo will rely on rookie linebacker Matt Milano to fill in for the veteran linebacker. Milano registered four tackles in relief of Humber Sunday.'
'"I'm just swinging nice and free out there. That's what I've been trying to do everywhere" Hauschka said with Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Buffalo Football Monday on WGR. "Sometimes it's easier to do from long distance than it is from other places on the field. There's something about the visuals of what you get, but that's something as a kicker I'm constantly working on is getting that free-flowing swing from everywhere on the field, regardless of the situation."'
'"We have a lot of turnover, but the guys we brought in are all similar. Long hours at the stadium guys. Guys like Poyer, Hyde, Gaines, Matthews, etc. They've made their transition easier with their work ethic."'
'"We have to continue to get better, not happy about that, it's hard to win a football game with 10 guys on the field."'