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THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Humbled at the Goal Line


Shaw66
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Good write-up!

 

I don't know where people are getting that Josh changed the play. I didn't hear anything of the sort in McDermott's presser. What McDermott clearly said, and the players (Beasley, Hyde, Poyer, Morse) echoed, was that they wanted to give it to Josh.

 

I definitely feel like he should've audibled out of a sneak with 3 Titans DLs staring him down.

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4 hours ago, Success said:

I feel like the Bills needed a game like yesterday.  You can't just coast to the playoffs.   They fought hard, & kept fighting back when they lost the lead each time.  It was great resiliency.  I feel like that kind of game will only build their confidence, despite the ending.  And I think the players loved McD for going for it.

 

The obvious parallel is the hail Murray, which felt similar at the time - heading into a bye, stewing for 2 weeks & then coming out on fire.  Can only hope for the same this time.

 

The only disagreement I have w/ the OP is that I do NOT like Vrabel. 

 

 

 

God help the Dolphins who already normally get trounced regularly by the Bills

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10 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

That's interesting, and generally a good thing.   Josh has a big head and is going to be inclined to call his own number.  He needs to be humbled a few times for him to make better judgments.   I don't know what the play call was - I don't know what would have worked.   First and foremost, Josh has to stay on his feet.  He shouldn't have had his feet slip like that.  He didn't add his push to the pile (and Moss didn't, either).

 

Interesting point about Moss, I had not thought of that until I read your remark.

 

That is absolutely true, how many times do we see lineman and backs pushing the ball carrier forward in those scrums, but not one person attempted to do that. I think they were all so shocked and unprepared for the chance this play call might not go as planned.

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9 hours ago, CincyBillsFan said:

I don't get some of the takes here.  I agree about the 2nd to last drive but the last drive Allen was masterful getting the Bills down into the red zone.  He drove them from the 17 to the 14 (70 yards)  in about 90 seconds. 

 

And for the record Beasley was not open on that play until Allen crossed the LOS. 

 

IMO the bad play call was the run to Moss after the Bill's got close. It went for next to nothing and was a wasted play.

 

 

Was it?  Maybe for that one drive.  But that last drive was masterful.  That was NOT sugar rush Allen or the "moment is to big for him" Allen on display. That was an offense moving with surgical precision down the field and into position to tie the game with a chip shot FG or win it outright with a TD.  IMO the play calling got a bit strange AFTER Allen had moved the Bills to the 13 yard line.

 

 

Absolutely right.  

 

The second to last drive was disappointing, but those things happen and the expectations put on Josh seem too high at times.  Yes open dump off on first down and instead of getting a chunk back on second down the deep pass was the wrong call.

 

The Moss run on first down was stupid.  and put the Bills in a bad position on a tight/short field.  The whole game the Bills had trouble from the 15 yard line in.  Not sure how they did not have a single play over the 9-10 that they ran there (as all failed, except the Knox TD that was called back).  Even the Sweeney TD was on a perfect pass into very tight coverage (not enough was made of that play).   

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Good post.  But I completely lost all respect for Vrabel in that game and has now become the most hated coach in my eyes after they attempted to repeat that music city miracle BS.  Granted, it didn't work, but it still rubbed me the wrong way, like he was spitting in our face and trying to reopen old wounds.

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13 hours ago, Miyagi-Do Karate said:

I will just say this about Vrabel— i think it be totally unfair to say he came from the Bellichick coaching tree. He didn’t. 

 

in fact, My theory is that his style of coaching is more of a product of playing for the Steelers than anything else. Play hard physical 3-4 defense; and run the ball. He even cycles through assistants and players in the same way as the Steelers do— just fit new guys into your general Framework and keep going. 

 

Having a tough time agreeing with that assessment for two reasons:

1) His four initial years with the Steelers amounted to less playing time than any one of his years with the Patriots, and was at a time when the Steelers notably were not all about tough D and run the ball.

2) If I were to pick a team that cycles through assistants and continues to play with the head coach's format, I'd be hard pressed to find a more analogous example than the patriots under Bill Belichick's reign.

 

Also; my impression of @Shaw66's comments was that Vrabel is not from the Belichick coaching tree as a player. I think that was the point; he wasn't saying he's from the Belichick tree as we've seen most (all so far...) of his "disciples" that coached under him fail.

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15 minutes ago, timekills17 said:

 

Having a tough time agreeing with that assessment for two reasons:

1) His four initial years with the Steelers amounted to less playing time than any one of his years with the Patriots, and was at a time when the Steelers notably were not all about tough D and run the ball.

2) If I were to pick a team that cycles through assistants and continues to play with the head coach's format, I'd be hard pressed to find a more analogous example than the patriots under Bill Belichick's reign.

 

Also; my impression of @Shaw66's comments was that Vrabel is not from the Belichick coaching tree as a player. I think that was the point; he wasn't saying he's from the Belichick tree as we've seen most (all so far...) of his "disciples" that coached under him fail.


1) it would be interesting to hear Vrabel talk about his influences.  But I have heard him talk of his formative early years with the Steelers under Jim Hazlett. And He has Hazlett on his staff, and his defense looks similar to the Hazlett-coached And LeBeau-coached defenses of the Steelers. 
 

2) I may have misunderstood the OP re whether Vrabel is from the Bellichick tree. I will note that I don’t believe he ever coached under Bellichick. 

 

 

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Great post as always, Shaw.  

 

I think you can match their physicality while also playing to your strengths (execution in the short passing game, taking what the D is giving you, etc.), and we did that for much of the first half.  We just needed to execute better in the redzone. 

 

Anyway.  I'd rather learn whatever lesson can be gleaned from Monday night during week 6, than in mid-January.

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5 hours ago, CSBill said:

 

Interesting point about Moss, I had not thought of that until I read your remark.

 

That is absolutely true, how many times do we see lineman and backs pushing the ball carrier forward in those scrums, but not one person attempted to do that. I think they were all so shocked and unprepared for the chance this play call might not go as planned.

 

 

Moss ran forward, the play was over. Which it generally is. Guys do push, but how often do you see it on sneaks? Virtually never, because it's too quick a play.

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14 hours ago, oldmanfan said:

Football always has been and always will be about physically beating the guy across from you.  We didn’t on that last play, and ballgame.

 

We have a very good team, but one of the weaker areas is the O line, literally and figuratively.  They don’t have road grader nasty types.  Brown should get there but he looked like the rookie he is last night.  
 

And as much as we all love Josh, and for good reason, that second last drive showed he still has a ways to go to match his mental game with the physical.  You don’t try to go deep three times when a drive like the one against the Chiefs is what was needed.  I was screaming for his to make the quick, shorter throws. 
 

As I understand it, the coaches grade each game up till now during bye week.  I expect another change or two up front.  Maybe Boettger and Bates need a shot at LG and C.  And I wonder if Brown goes to the left side for Dawkins; Dawkins seems to still be suffering from perhaps long Covid.  He is not the normal Dawkins.

 

One thing for sure, we will come out of the bye pisses and prepared.  We lost on a last play before byd week last year and went on the big run.  I expect something similar this year.  If I was on the Fish, I’d be preparing to get my ass whipped.

 

 

You can't expect the OL to make that play. It's not reasonable.

 

The Titans had compressed the line, moving their interior guys in. But they had also brought in guys specifically to fight off a sneak or a run between the guards. They had three three hundred pounders there, squeezed further to the center than normal. Naquan Jones had only played 14% of snaps this year, he's the backup NT. He's not a regular and he's 330+.

 

The Titans essentially said, if you're going to beat us here, it won't be through the middle. And the Bills tried there anyway. Bad tactics. Both Morse and Feliciano had a guy on each shoulder. Every gap in the center had a 300 pounder in it, and they weren't playing read-and-react, they were simply coming forward low and hard on the snap. The one shot running that sneak was if Allen had tried to leap over and stick his arms out. Which is a risk, because the ball can be slapped out.

 

But Allen went low.

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14 hours ago, CincyBillsFan said:

 

IMO the bad play call was the run to Moss after the Bill's got close. It went for next to nothing and was a wasted play.

 

 

 

That run was for four yards. Which would have come in handy on that final play. I'd rather have seen Moss get the ball with the chance to pick his gap on that final play, or maybe Josh on an RPO or read option.

 

Actually I'd really rather they'd just kicked the FG. I understand their decision, it was not stupid, but I wouldn't have gone that way.

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Great post @Shaw66, I look forward to these every week.  You lost me for a minute at "I like Vrabel", but I powered through and didn't let it ruin the rest of the post.

 

14 hours ago, CincyBillsFan said:

Was it?  Maybe for that one drive.  But that last drive was masterful.  That was NOT sugar rush Allen or the "moment is to big for him" Allen on display. That was an offense moving with surgical precision down the field and into position to tie the game with a chip shot FG or win it outright with a TD.  IMO the play calling got a bit strange AFTER Allen had moved the Bills to the 13 yard line.

 

I tend to agree that it wasn't sugar high Josh Allen, in fact I remember thinking on that penultimate drive when Dupree batted a pass back at Josh and and he two-handed the ball into the ground that it was a very un-sugar high play.  He was fully aware of the situation and made a heady play that didn't cost the team anything more than the down.

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17 hours ago, Success said:

I feel like the Bills needed a game like yesterday.  You can't just coast to the playoffs.   They fought hard, & kept fighting back when they lost the lead each time.  It was great resiliency.  I feel like that kind of game will only build their confidence, despite the ending.  And I think the players loved McD for going for it.

 

The obvious parallel is the hail Murray, which felt similar at the time - heading into a bye, stewing for 2 weeks & then coming out on fire.  Can only hope for the same this time.

 

 

I can't argue with this.  It's a pretty good way took at it.   

 

Year after year, it becomes more obvious that McDermott's teams are not ready to be great in October.   They're still building.    Even some of the early wins by big scores didn't feel like blowout wins.    I don't remember drive by drive of the playoff game when the Bills beat the Raiders 51-3, or whatever.  That was a blowout.  Bills were in control every series on offense and on defense.   Except maybe for the Texans game, none of the Bills' games so far this year have felt like that kind of blowout.   The team has looked incomplete.

 

I don't say that at all as a criticism.   It's a statement about how McDermott builds his teams.   They're never as good in October as they are in December.   Every September and October, it's frustrating for the fans, but I try to remind myself that McDermott has a plan.  Losing isn't part of the plan, but he will not sacrifice his team's growth just to win a game.  

 

And, by the way, it was a GREAT football game to watch. 

3 hours ago, Thurman#1 said:

 

 

That run was for four yards. Which would have come in handy on that final play. I'd rather have seen Moss get the ball with the chance to pick his gap on that final play, or maybe Josh on an RPO or read option.

 

 

Frankly, I guess I would have liked to see Josh in the shotgun with the line blocking straight ahead.   Josh takes a quick look to see if he has a gimme pass to one of his receivers.  If not, then from five yards back, pick a spot, run to it, and dive over the pile.   

 

I'm no offensive coordinator, but we all know the sneak was a bad decision.   Still, I'd rather Josh learn that lesson in week 6 than in the playoffs. 

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3 hours ago, Thurman#1 said:

 

 

You can't expect the OL to make that play. It's not reasonable.

 

The Titans had compressed the line, moving their interior guys in. But they had also brought in guys specifically to fight off a sneak or a run between the guards. They had three three hundred pounders there, squeezed further to the center than normal. Naquan Jones had only played 14% of snaps this year, he's the backup NT. He's not a regular and he's 330+.

 

The Titans essentially said, if you're going to beat us here, it won't be through the middle. And the Bills tried there anyway. Bad tactics. Both Morse and Feliciano had a guy on each shoulder. Every gap in the center had a 300 pounder in it, and they weren't playing read-and-react, they were simply coming forward low and hard on the snap. The one shot running that sneak was if Allen had tried to leap over and stick his arms out. Which is a risk, because the ball can be slapped out.

 

But Allen went low.

Of course I can.  As I said football is about beating the guy in front of you.  None of our guys beat their guy on that last play.

 

With your logic Jerry Kramer isn’t in the Hall because it would have been unreasonable for him to block Jethro Pugh so Starr runs his successful sneak.

 

Your O line has to be able to get a gain of several inches.  They have to.  They didn’t.

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One of my favorite things about reading Shaws reviews is the NFL history and insight he's able to apply to them. Shaw did a thread awhile back you guys probably remember.  Which was basically his view of a casual fan of the Buffalo Bills vs a true die hard fan. Under Shaws high standards I was astonished to find myself in the casual fan category. Shaws high standard is the key to my placement. Shaw himself is the reason I finally admitted to myself he was right. Compared to Shaw my casual position in the Bills fan base became obvious to me. 

 

So today I give thanks and high praise to one of the biggest die hard Bills fans on the planet.  While I have never met him personally. I know his love and dedication to the Buffalo Bills goes well beyond my casual embrace. 

 

Thanks  

 

Casual Bills fan 

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5 hours ago, oldmanfan said:

Of course I can.  As I said football is about beating the guy in front of you.  None of our guys beat their guy on that last play.

 

With your logic Jerry Kramer isn’t in the Hall because it would have been unreasonable for him to block Jethro Pugh so Starr runs his successful sneak.

 

Your O line has to be able to get a gain of several inches.  They have to.  They didn’t.

Well, yes and no.  Yes, to a man it looked like the Bills line got beat.

 

But no, your O line doesn't HAVE to be able to a gain of several inches against EVERY team in the league.   Being able to get one yard against every team in the league is not the stat that correlates best with winning.  The whole game, every game, doesn't turn on your ability to get one yard.   I agree, you'd like to be able to get that yard against anyone, but it just isn't the case every week.  

 

What is more important is being able to get the first down on fourth and one.   You don't necessarily have to get it with power up the middle, but you have to be able to get it.  Even so, you aren't going to get it every time.  

 

Allen was supposed to know how good their defensive front is, and he was supposed to recognize that the defensive formation made the defense difficult to attack.  Allen failed at that.  Maybe he changed out of a play that also wasn't going to work; I don't know.   That play was a failure, and yes, if you want to win a championship, you shouldn't be failing there. 

 

But I'm sure that the Bills coaches spent no more time this week teaching about that play than they did on several other plays, each of which was as easily responsible for the loss as the sneak.  

 

Failing on fourth and one there was disappointing, and the Bills need to be better, but it's far from the crisis you seem to suggest it is.  

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I think of the Monday night game as a gut punch kind of loss it stung and now they have the bye for rankle. I think they'll use it for inspiration like they did that other abomination that occurred in AZ.....

 

so close to a victory yet so far away...the McKenzie runback Ive been saying all year that special teams were due..BOOM...flag?? ****

 

SMH!

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Great posts in here.. and while Josh could’ve been better on the last two drives, I put more blame on the defense.  Thought that unit was brutal in the second half.  Can’t even remember if the Titans punted.

 

Also really needed TD’s in our first couple red zone trips. The plan against the Titans needs to be ‘score many points quickly and take King Henry out of the game.’   Unfortunately we did not, and it came back to haunt us. 
 

Hopefully this provides the motivation they need going forward. Although our schedule is pretty weak, we’ll need to be better.  Go Bills!

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On 10/19/2021 at 7:02 PM, WhoTom said:

One point about the 4th-and-1 play call: McD said Josh made the decision to change from whatever play Daboll called and sneak it instead. They gave him the authority to do so.

This is consistent with my view expressed in other threads that the called play was for Josh to take it off left tackle but on seeing the crashing outside LB decided to sneak it instead.

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