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Shaw66

THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Not There Yet

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Well, that was disappointing. 

 

The Bills lost at home to the Ravens Sunday, 24-17.  Some of the reasons Bills fans wanted the win on Sunday:

 

1.  Bills fans always want the Bills to win.

2.  Bills fans wanted the Bills to challenge the Patriots for the AFC East title (and Kansas City did their job, beating the Pats later Sunday afternoon).

3.  Bills fans wanted the Bills to put a stranglehold on a wildcard playoff spot.

4.  Bills fans wanted the country to see a great team in Buffalo beat the supposedly best team in the league.

5.  Bills fans wanted their quarterback to shine in the process. 

 

Bills fans got none of that, and it was disappointing.

 

It’s a team game and all, but it’s hard to look beyond the quarterback stat lines for an explanation.   Lamar Jackson was better than Josh Allen, period.  Jackson passed better, 102 passer rating for Jackson to 62 for Allen.  Jackson ran better, 40 yards to 9.   Jackson made the big throw better, 61 yards to 37.   Jackson managed the pocket better, 1 sack to 6.    

 

Jackson is defensive coordinator’s nightmare.  It’s like the Ravens are playing with 12 players on offense.  The DCs have to game plan for an extra running back.  The Ravens’ read option plays are really good because they threaten the defense with two top-ten running backs.  Okay, Ingram is 12th, but he’s only 12th because because Jackson takes too many carries that would otherwise be his. 

 

Jackson is an excellent decision maker, both on his option plays and as a thrower. 

 

The result is that defenses spend a lot of energy and manpower just trying to contain Jackson.   Pass rushers can’t tee off on him; their rush has to be measured and disciplined to minimize Jackson’s scrambling ability.  Blitzing is a huge risk, because if Jackson eludes the blitz, there simply aren’t enough defenders beyond the line of scrimmage to track him down in the open field.   All the defense can do is play conservative, straight-up defense and try to minimize the damage. 

 

Allen has been that kind of threat occasionally, but Jackson is a threat every play.  Allen wasn’t that kind of threat Sunday.  The difference between the two made all the difference in the game.

 

While the Bills were forced to rush four and drop seven, hoping the pass defenders could clog the passing lanes, confuse Jackson and give the pass rush time to get home, the Ravens often put seven or eight defenders on the line of scrimmage with no deep safety.  They made running the ball difficult, they contained Allen, and they dared him to beat the Ravens with his arm.  Allen couldn’t do it.  The Ravens’ aggressive pass rush sacked Allen six times and forced him into several inaccurate throws.  The stacked defense at the line of scrimmage limited Allen’s opportunities to run for significant yards – he almost broke free a couple of times, but the difference between Allen and Jackson as runners was obvious on those plays. 

 

One theory I have about Allen is that he’s let the wind in Buffalo get into his head.  It’s hard to know, but it seems he overcompensates for the wind, as though he thinks he can gauge it, as if there’s some kind of formula he has to apply.  He was uncharacteristically wild on Sunday, overthrowing deep balls, throwing too high to some short-range receivers.  The wind was from the south, blowing across the top of the stadium from the Bills’ sideline.  On the field, it seemed to be swirling – the streamers at the top of the goal posts were sometimes still, sometimes fluttering, sometimes straight out.  The pant legs of the officials, too, were sometimes still and sometimes fluttering in the wind. 

 

Whatever the reasons, Allen didn’t get the job done. 

 

As much as we might hope the Bills will be a dominant team this season, on Sunday we saw again that the Bills’ receivers aren’t good enough.  Beasley is certainly good enough, but he couldn’t hold onto Allen’s best deep throw of the game.  McKenzie works as a running threat lined up as a wideout, but he never has convinced me he’s a pass catcher.  Sunday one of Allen’s best throws, along the right sideline into the closed end zone, bounced off McKenzie’s chest.   It was a tough catch to make, but if you want to be a championship player, you make that catch.  Knox is not consistent enough catching the ball.  He makes a highlight-reel catch every week or two, and drops one or two simple catches.  Foster still seems to be a one-trick pony; when Allen threw his prayer, late, deep down field in the third quarter, Foster was badly outfought for the ball.   Was it pass interference?   Technically, maybe yes, but you aren’t going to get that call on a desperation throw where you simply aren’t aggressive enough. 

 

I have to wonder whether, whatever his shortcomings, Duke Williams wouldn’t be a better option to have on the field.   If what we have seen of him is any indication, he’s going to catch the ball when it comes to him.  Especially with teams stacking the box and threatening Allen to get the ball out quickly, a tall, physical receiver with good hands is good option for Allen to have.  Whether he could have gotten into the position Beasley, McKenzie, Knox and Foster did on their respective drops, I don’t know, but Duke was more likely to actually make the catch when the ball arrived in every one of those situations. 

 

One thought about the Bills’ pass routes:  The Bills obviously are very effective passing on the short and middle distance crossing routes.  Allen throws that ball really well, and Brown and Beasley are good catching them.   Either the Bills get away from those routes, or teams take them away.  We didn’t see a lot of them Sunday.  And yet, on Allen’s last throw of the day, there it was, Brown crossing from right to left near the goal line, Allen making a perfect throw, but credit Peters – he was right there.   The Bills didn’t seem to have a lot of receivers in the pattern, and there was a lot of open space on the field.   I’d think there’s an opportunity on that play for Allen to pump fake and for Brown to turn on the jets, continuing to cross the field.   The pump fake should create a momentary hesitation by the defender and Brown should be able to get a little separation.  

 

The Bills’ defense was magnificent, except for their first mistake of the season on an explosive play.  Something went wrong on Hurst’s 61-yard touchdown.  Poyer looked at Hyde as if to ask “Am I wrong, or were you supposed to be there?”  Jackson didn’t miss the opportunity and made an easy throw perfectly. 

 

Give Hurst a fifteen-yard reception with a tackle by the safety, and it’s a different game.  The score would have been even, and the total yards would have been even.  

 

The important point, however, wasn’t the mistake on Hurst’s touchdown, it was the brilliance of the defense on the other 58 plays.  The Ravens are gaining over 400 yards per game and scoring over 30 points.   The Bills held them to them to 250 and 24, and if the safeties had tackled Hurst, it would have been 200 and 17.  Baltimore’s averaging 5.5 yards per carry; the Bills held them to 4.5.  They’re averaging 7.7 yards per pass attempt; even with Hurst’s play, Buffalo held them to 5.3.  The Ravens run an offense that has been devastating opposing defenses, good defenses for two months.  The Bills defense kept Jackson and his offense under control.   And it wasn’t because the Bills’ offense kept the ball away from Jackson – the Ravens won time of possession, 33-27. 

 

The question for 2019 always has been “Will be the offense be good enough?”  The answer on Sunday was “not quite.” 

 

1.  Doug Flutie was great leading the fans before the opening kickoff.

 

2,  I’ve said it all season – Bojorquez is too inconsistent as a punter.  Big leg, but he isn’t a technician.   It’s an adventure every time he kicks it. 

 

3.  The Bills clearly have turned Roberts loose on kickoff returns.  He’s regularly running balls out of the end zone.  The Ravens, on the other hand, wanted no part of any kickoff, even if it landed only a yard deep in the end zone. 

 

4.  Yes, the Bills’ final, futile drive was aided by three penalties, but Allen and Beasley created the pass interference.  Allen stepped up perfectly in a crowded pocket, Beasley knew to cut deep and Allen put it out there for him.   The defender had no choice. 

 

5.  There weren’t many Ravens fans in attendance, and they didn’t make a lot of noise.  They tried a few times, but they weren’t a factor. 

 

6.  Singletary is a threat in the run game – not explosive, but dangerous.  If he can learn to be a more effective pass catcher, it would help.  He had on easy drop, and he also needed to find a way to get two hands on the ball Allen just barely overthrew probably wouldn’t have caught it, but he had to make a better play.

 

7.  Brian Daboll’s game plan was lacking.  The Bills have a good collection of offensive weapons, and Daboll couldn’t figure a way to utilize them effectively.  

 

8.  As if we didn’t already know it, the Ravens are really good. 

 

Pittsburgh is a big game, in a lot of ways.   First, it clinches a playoff spot, and it wouldn’t be good for the Bills need a win against the Jets on week 17 to assure a post-season game.  Second, it’s the kind of game that demonstrates that good teams are good – on the road against a challenging but not elite opponent.  Third, it’s a rebound game.  The Bills had to be disappointed Sunday afternoon and Monday morning; good teams put it behind them and get ready for the next game.  

 

 

 

GO BILLS!!!

 

The Rockpile Review is written to share the passion we have for the Buffalo Bills. That passion was born in the Rockpile; its parents were everyday people of western New York who translated their dedication to a full day’s hard work and simple pleasures into love for a pro football team.

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great write-up.  

 

The game planning by Daboll was awful, and particularly so in the 1st half.  This is an alarming-season long trend.  Good adjustments, but lets be ready when the game begins.  

 

I'd get Duke back in the game.  He makes contested catches.  

 

Get Knox receiving gloves, I don't get going bare handed in cold weather.  

 

Keep Roberts in the endzone.  It's crazy to have him running it out.  It's not working.  

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Brady had 167 yards yesterday vs a similar scheme. It’s not josh’s fault that he’s getting teed off on. When the d has the luxury of sending the house over and over, no one is going to be effective. No one. You might make a few throws, you might get a few scrambles, but you can’t consistently operate. You try to break it up with screens and draws and swing passes. No one is worried about our screen game. The lines not athletic enough to get out in space and be effective. The WRs aren’t big enough to block downfield. So what are your options then? They blitz and you hope you can dodge the first two defenders who are gangbusting up the middle. Be prepared for the exact same thing from the Steelers and pats. Until the line can block and you can counter the blitz, it’s going to keep coming. 

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3 minutes ago, quinnearlysghost88 said:

Brady had 167 yards yesterday vs a similar scheme. It’s not josh’s fault that he’s getting teed off on. When the d has the luxury of sending the house over and over, no one is going to be effective. No one. You might make a few throws, you might get a few scrambles, but you can’t consistently operate. You try to break it up with screens and draws and swing passes. No one is worried about our screen game. The lines not athletic enough to get out in space and be effective. The WRs aren’t big enough to block downfield. So what are your options then? They blitz and you hope you can dodge the first two defenders who are gangbusting up the middle. Be prepared for the exact same thing from the Steelers and pats. Until the line can block and you can counter the blitz, it’s going to keep coming. 

All good points.   

 

As I said, the Ravens are really good.   

 

But when they put 8 men on the line of scrimmage, a good team with a good QB and good receivers should make them pay.  Bills didn't. 

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I disagree that the difference between Jackson and Allen "made all the difference in the game."  Jackson was as pedestrian as Allen yesterday.  Outside of the pass to Hurst, Jackson threw for 84 yards (145 total), Allen for 146 total.  Jackson did little with his legs.  A great play by the corner on Brown at the end of the game was the difference between a flat out tie, as well as the defensive breakdown on the Hurst play.

 

It was two heavyweights playing yesterday and exchanging punches, and we just came up short.  It was not all on Allen, nor did Jackson outplay him overall.  It was a team loss against a very good team.  Move on and get into the playoffs and who cares.  This is not our year to bring home the Lombardi.  The window is just opening on that.  But I hope we get a rematch in the playoffs this year against the Ravens, that would be fun to watch.

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We lost to the hottest team in the NFL by one score and were in position to tie it up till the very end .... and that's after a lackluster day on offense.

 

I'm not calling this a moral victory.  But it's also noy a concerning loss, as far as I'm concerned.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gugny
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24 minutes ago, Casey D said:

I disagree that the difference between Jackson and Allen "made all the difference in the game."  Jackson was as pedestrian as Allen yesterday.  Outside of the pass to Hurst, Jackson threw for 84 yards (145 total), Allen for 146 total.  Jackson did little with his legs.  A great play by the corner on Brown at the end of the game was the difference between a flat out tie, as well as the defensive breakdown on the Hurst play.

 

It was two heavyweights playing yesterday and exchanging punches, and we just came up short.  It was not all on Allen, nor did Jackson outplay him overall.  It was a team loss against a very good team.  Move on and get into the playoffs and who cares.  This is not our year to bring home the Lombardi.  The window is just opening on that.  But I hope we get a rematch in the playoffs this year against the Ravens, that would be fun to watch.

I agree with this. I didn't see Lamar look that much better.  Both defenses made each QB look like 2 year's to me. Our defense played flat out amazing but we had a major breakdown that led to a long td. Their d was pretty solid right up to the final breakup pass.  

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opponents for the Ravens next season will have the entire offseason to write "the book" on Jackson, that will make a big diff in stopping him

 

playoff opponents will do their best under limited time as well, but it's not the same without months and months of putting his game under the microscope

 

 

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1 minute ago, loveorhatembillsfan4life said:

I agree with this. I didn't see Lamar look that much better.  Both defenses made each QB look like 2 year's to me. Our defense played flat out amazing but we had a major breakdown that led to a long td. Their d was pretty solid right up to the final breakup pass.  

Totally agree.  Because Jackson is perceived as better than Allen right now, Jackson is lauded as playing great and Allen regressing, but they both looked like second years if you look at it objectively. And that is not factoring in the key drops of several Allen passes.  Hopefully this is another growth experience for Allen.  He works hard and has shown the ability to learn.

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30 minutes ago, Joe in Winslow said:

I stopped reading at Doug flutie. That bastard needs permanent banned.

 

he's still a god to millions of Bills fans....

 

(i don't get it either...)

 

 

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2 minutes ago, row_33 said:

opponents for the Ravens next season will have the entire offseason to write "the book" on Jackson, that will make a big diff in stopping him

 

playoff opponents will do their best under limited time as well, but it's not the same without months and months of putting his game under the microscope

 

 

I think the Bills may have started a book on Jackson.  We shall see, as most teams do not have the Bills' defensive talent, but they made Jackson look ordinary. Keep him in the pocket and he is not that good.

Edited by Casey D

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Their defense was more dominant than ours yesterday.  Made our O look sick.  Josh needs to grow from this and someone has to figure out having a hot read he can go to quickly when the blitz comes.

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1 hour ago, Casey D said:

I disagree that the difference between Jackson and Allen "made all the difference in the game."  Jackson was as pedestrian as Allen yesterday.  Outside of the pass to Hurst, Jackson threw for 84 yards (145 total), Allen for 146 total.  Jackson did little with his legs.  A great play by the corner on Brown at the end of the game was the difference between a flat out tie, as well as the defensive breakdown on the Hurst play.

 

It was two heavyweights playing yesterday and exchanging punches, and we just came up short.  It was not all on Allen, nor did Jackson outplay him overall.  It was a team loss against a very good team.  Move on and get into the playoffs and who cares.  This is not our year to bring home the Lombardi.  The window is just opening on that.  But I hope we get a rematch in the playoffs this year against the Ravens, that would be fun to watch.

I agree with this.

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39 minutes ago, Casey D said:

I think the Bills may have started a book on Jackson.  We shall see, as most teams do not have the Bills' defensive talent, but they made Jackson look ordinary. Keep him in the pocket and he is not that good.

 

We schemed well to stop their run game.  The busted play was probably one of the only ones i remember this year - and it cost us in this one.  Going from down 10-6 to 17-6 in this type of game was absolutely huge.  They only had 3 drives in this game, and 1 big play that was largely a communication problem more than anything else.

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Ya know, the thing is.... nothing in this game surprised me. We all knew the flaws in the offense. We can all be proud of the defense. And, we can all be hopeful, and confident that we are moving in the right direction.

 

On to Pittsburgh.

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Just now, Rocky Landing said:

Ya know, the thing is.... nothing in this game surprised me. We all knew the flaws in the offense. We can all be proud of the defense. And, we can all be hopeful, and confident that we are moving in the right direction.

 

On to Pittsburgh.

 

Best way to beat a zero blitz is to just have - gronk.  Or someone like that.  You have no player that can beat him in single coverage.  So every time you have him iso'd you know you have like a pretty good chance to get a positive play.  

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56 minutes ago, row_33 said:

 

he's still a god to millions of Bills fans....

 

(i don't get it either...)

 

 

What did Flutie do that's so bad? 

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2 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

Brian Daboll’s game plan was lacking.  The Bills have a good collection of offensive weapons, and Daboll couldn’t figure a way to utilize them effectively.  

 

That's an understatement.  The first quarter was pure juvenile: run run pass punt, run run pass punt etc.  Extremely underwhelming and predictable.  And instead of attempting to establish any rhythm, the passes were inaccurate deep balls on a windy day.  I'd love to be a defensive coordinator prepping for a Bills game.

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1 hour ago, Casey D said:

I think the Bills may have started a book on Jackson.  We shall see, as most teams do not have the Bills' defensive talent, but they made Jackson look ordinary. Keep him in the pocket and he is not that good.

 

 

they were up 15 in the 4th, teams pull back a bit on risk-taking and go into prevent at that point

 

they want the win, especially on the road, with the least injuries and risk and showing opponents how they are in the clutch

 

that did that

 

 

Edited by row_33

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51 minutes ago, oldmanfan said:

Their defense was more dominant than ours yesterday.  Made our O look sick.  Josh needs to grow from this and someone has to figure out having a hot read he can go to quickly when the blitz comes.

That's what I am afraid of. Allen has looked very good against the weaker defenses but so far against the better ones he has had his worst games. Allen is at his best when he moves around  to make plays. When teams have made him stay in the pocket he has looked pretty bad. Til he learns to be a better pocket passer and picks up blitzes better nothing will change. 

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To me the difference in the game was one blown coverage by the Bills secondary on that throw to Hurst early in the second half. JA definitely did not have his best performance out there yesterday, but surely neither did Jackson. To me except for that one play the two teams played to a standstill. Both defenses were outstanding, both running games sparked a few times, but could not sustain much because of the defenses were too good and possibly our OC’s decision to go away from the run too quickly. Just one of those games where you hate to be the team that falls a little short when the final gun goes off IMO.

Both teams showed they are playoff caliber clubs. The Bills obviously need one more win to make that official, but that should come on Sunday night in Pittsburgh. Personally, I would not want to be the Steelers right now because I believe the Bills to a person know they let a big one slip away yesterday and they are going to come out of that tunnel at Heinz Field breathing fire!

Hopefully we will get to see these Ravens again in the playoffs and the outcome will be more to our liking. Go Bills!

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2 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

Foster still seems to be a one-trick pony; when Allen threw his prayer, late, deep down field in the third quarter, Foster was badly outfought for the ball.   Was it pass interference?   Technically, maybe yes, but you aren’t going to get that call on a desperation throw where you simply aren’t aggressive enough. 

 

Wow you took the words right out of my mouth.  If Foster comes back to QB and jumps through that ball as its coming down he gets the call.

 

Here's hoping OBD drafts/signs a big WR and also a game changer / speed demon type with gadget and return capability.  McKenzie and Roberts would be expendable then.

Edited by freddyjj

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16 minutes ago, row_33 said:

Your point is valid, but that's not what happened.  It's not like they were racking up yards and stopped in the 4th when they  had it "locked up."  Indeed, they never had it locked up as a thumbnail prevented the score from being tied late by Brown.  They contained Jackson all game except the Hurst play.  Other than that, scores came after turnovers and poor punts.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

they were up 15 in the 4th, teams pull back a bit on risk-taking and go into prevent at that point

 

they want the win, especially on the road, with the least injuries and risk and showing opponents how they are in the clutch

 

that did that

 

 

 

Edited by Casey D

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