ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- If this is what $100 million buys in today's NFL, the Bills may be in serious trouble.
Mario Williams was considered the marquee defensive free agent in the off-season, and the Bills stunned the NFL by convincing the big defensive end to pick them. Of course, it took a cool $100 million to do it, and because it happened so quickly, no one really knew if any other teams were truly committed to trying to land Williams.
Well, four games into his Bills career, Williams has been a major disappointment, especially in Buffalo's two AFC East losses to the Jets and Patriots in which the Bills have given up an astounding 100 points. In the 48-28 season-opening loss at New York, Williams was credited with one tackle. In the 52-28 debacle at home against New England, he had two tackles. In neither game did he record a sack, or even get close to quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tom Brady.
Williams wasn't solely to blame for the horrific play of the Bills' defense in those games, but he's the guy who was pegged as the player who would turn Buffalo's fortunes around. Last season, pre-Williams, the Bills set a franchise record by allowing 5,938 yards, and their 434 points yielded was the second-highest in team history. In 2010, the Bills gave up 2,714 rushing yards, second-most in team history.
One player alone could not fix all that has ailed the Bills' defense in recent years, but he was supposed to have more of an impact than he has.
"A lot of times I was coming back into things," Williams said, trying to explain how the Patriots were blocking him. "I wasn't at the point of attack a lot of times with the things (New England) was running. It got kind of methodical. It felt like it was the same block, same thing, same play and I just felt like I really wasn't at the point of attack."
If it was the same thing all day, one wonders why Williams - or defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt - wasn't able to make an adjustment.
New England produced some astonishing numbers against the Bills.
-- The Patriots had two 100-yard rushers, two 100-yard receivers and a 300-yard passer, just the second time in NFL history that has happened, Green Bay being the first in 2008.
-- The Patriots' 580 yards were the second-most the Bills have allowed in a single game, topped only by the 598 they yielded to San Francisco in the famous no-punt game in 1992. However, that day the Bills found a way to win.
-- New England scored 45 points in the second half, tied for the fourth-most points in one half by a team in NFL history. Its 31 fourth-quarter points were tied for second-most in league history.
-- New England's 24-point margin of victory was the second-most in history for a team that trailed by at least 14 points in the third quarter.
As defensive tackle Kyle Williams said, "My only reaction is that was pathetic in the second half."
Linebacker Bryan Scott called the Bills' struggles to stop the run, "an epic failure."
And the words humiliated, disappointing, and embarrassing were tossed around willfully by defensive players.
"To be honest with you, they whipped us; bottom line, they whipped us," said coach Chan Gailey. "They blocked us, we did not get off blocks and get to the ball. They blocked us and they were making our corners make a bunch of tackles. We missed entirely too many tackles."
Things do not get any easier for the Bills. They now embark on a two-week road trip, first to San Francisco (3-1) and then to Arizona (4-0), and they aren't coming home as they plan on flying from San Francisco to Phoenix and staying there for the week. The 49ers are coming off a 34-0 lambasting against the Jets, and the Cardinals went to New England and beat the Patriots 20-18.