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The First Read: One thing each NFL team has to be thankful for entering Week 12

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Buffalo Bills


Their familiarity with adversity. It’s been pretty crazy in Buffalo lately, with quarterback Josh Allen turning the ball over again, wide receiver Stefon Diggs having to comment on tweets about the team made by his younger brother and head coach Sean McDermott suddenly firing offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey (even though the Bills had a top-10 offense). This also isn’t that crazy if you’ve followed the Bills in recent years. In 2021, they lost three of four games and were sitting at 7-6 before finishing the regular season on a four-game winning streak. Last year, they dealt with countless injuries (including the loss of edge rusher Von Miller and safety Micah Hyde, as well as the harrowing near-death experience with safety Damar Hamlin) and still managed a seven-game win streak. We’re not saying the Bills don’t look rough right now. It’s just that they’re more than capable of righting the ship again.

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Beane & McDermott are the reason the Bills aren’t still mired at @ 7-9.  Having said that, I wish someone could explain to me the reason for the meltdowns over the recent ‘successful’ seasons. Arizona Hail Mary, 13 seconds, Fumble-on-the-one, and more.  This years NYG, Tampa, Denver games showed once more a panic creep.  They show no ability to shut a team down at the end of a close game.  McD gets nervous?  It spreads thru the team?  What the heck is the answer?  Happy they beat the Jets, but are they back?  Coach Sean has to go decaf. 

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It's not just the Bills.  It's today's NFL.  In a close games, often the team that has the ball last wins, regardless of the circumstances.  Some reasons why:

  • Penalties.  Pass Interference and Roughing the Passer penalties that were not called in the past always seem to be called and keep these desperation, last-minute drives alive
  • Better athletes.  Bigger, faster, stronger WRs and TEs are able to make plays downfield that the athletes of yesteryear were not able to make.  There are also a lot more mobile QBs than there were in the past.  Dan Marino and Jim Kelly, two Hall of Fame QBs, were not fast enough to elude the pass rush and make desperation throws down the field like some of the guys today can make.  (Of course, these guys did enough earlier in the game that they didn't have to face these situations that often, but that's another story).

How to counter this trend, and minimize it from happening against your team?  Better clock management - something the Bills are terrible at.  The Bills have put up late scores in games to take the lead, but they often score too early, leaving too much time on the clock.  It's an art, but successful teams bleed the clock so that there's not enough time for the other team to get the ball back.  (And 13 seconds SHOULD be a GOOD example of this, but I digress).  An example of the Bills being bad at this was the New England game, where the Bills refused a penalty, which would have given them an extra down to run clock and/or force NE to use a timeout.  Had they accepted the penalty, they would have been at the 2 yard line instead of the 1, but the extra down was much more valuable than the 1 yard.  McDermott also often uses HIS timeouts when the other team is in desperation mode, stopping the clock and giving them time to settle down and get the right play in.  This poor use of timeouts also deprives the Bills of having them, should they get the ball back with a little bit of time left on the clock.  I'm a McDermott fan, but this is one of his areas of weakness.

Edited by msw2112
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