COMMENTARY | The Buffalo Bills entered their Week 3 showdown against the New York Jets riding high off of a last-second win over the Carolina Panthers the week before. In Week 3, things came crashing down for the Bills, losing 27-20 in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score indicated.
With a combination of injuries and being dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball, the Bills looked generally over-matched for the majority of the game. If not for a record-setting amount of dumb penalties by the Jets and poor use of challenges by Jets coach Rex Ryan, it is likely that the Bills would have lost by even more. Here are three main duds for the Bills in the loss.
In order to implement defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's blitz-heavy system, it is imperative that cornerbacks be able to contain opposing receivers one-on-one. The Bills entered the game without their top cornerback Stephon Gilmore and top safety Jairus Byrd. To make matters worse, in the first quarter against the Jets they lost their second-best cornerback in Leodis McKelvin to a hamstring injury.
The injuries resulted in a lot of pressure being shifted to backup cornerback Justin Rogers. Rogers was not up to the task against the Jets and was consistently burned in man-to-man coverage, including on the two biggest plays of the game. In the second quarter, Rogers was beat by Stephen Hill for a 51-yard touchdown. Then, with the game tied in the fourth quarter, Rogers failed to turn and see the ball in a deep pass that resulted in the game winning 69-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes. Regardless of whether Rogers was ready for the increased role before the injuries, it is difficult to excuse the results.
After the Bills' first two games, it was easy to forget that their starting quarterback is a rookie. That inexperience became much more apparent in Week 3. The Jets put constant pressure on Manuel and it was clear that he was highly uncomfortable, finishing just 19-42 for 243 yards and being sacked eight times.
When the constant pressure came, Manuel looked for the most part lost. He took some very costly sacks even though he was out of the pocket and could have just thrown the ball away. In addition, even when not sacked he often looked anxious, which resulted in overthrows down the field and a lack of touch on short passes. Although it was not entirely his fault, Manuel will have to learn how not to let opposing teams' pressure throw the offense completely out of its gameplan.
Buffalo's Offensive Line
The main reason for Manuel's struggles was the fact that the Bills' offensive line was utterly incapable of stopping the Jets' pass rush. The offensive line was woefully thin entering Week 3, and the lack of depth was only compounded when Kraig Urbik left the game with an injury.
With the injuries, the Bills were left with Colin Brown and Sam Young at the respective guard positions, and they had no chance to stop the Jets. Not only was Manuel sacked the unacceptable eight times, but the Jets pass rushers got into the backfield on virtually every of Manuel's passing attempts. Notwithstanding the fact that the Jets have a strong front seven, that lack of effective blocking will not beat anyone in the NFL.
Bonus 4th Dud: Health
With injuries to C.J. Spiller, McKelvin, Urbik, Marcel Dareus and Alex Carrington added to the Bills' pre-existing injuries, it was a long day for the team's collective health. The pressure will be on the training staff to get these players ready for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4.
Related Content From this Contributor:
Del Pearson is a lifelong Bills fan from Upstate New York. He has been attending games since childhood and idolizes Jim Kelly. Follow Del on Twitter @DelPearson44.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Buffalo Bills
- New York Jets
- the Jets