Tag Archives: Buffalo Bills

So You’re Telling Me There’s Still A Chance ?

Believe it or not, there is… at least on paper.  At 2-4, the New York Giants are only 1 game out of first place in a fairly dismal NFC East.  This is where the optimism ends and reality set in.  Although the GMEN are very much in the race in the NFC East, anyone who has watched the NFL this season realizes that there is a great divide between elite teams and pretenders.  This Giants team falls into this latter category.

Early losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills were forgotten after the Giants inserted Daniel Jones into the role of starting quarterback. He proceeded to orchestrate an exciting tug-of-war win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a convincing win over the Washington Redskins.  The legend of “Danny Dimes” was alive and well.  Optimism ran rampant that they had found the steal of the draft; Giant fans began to think that perhaps anything was possible. That was until the Minnesota Vikings entered their building in East Rutherford.

The Vikings defense battered the GMEN, sacking Daniel Jones 4 times and hitting him countless other times.  Welcome to the NFL, lad!  The Vikings were far more physical than the Giants and won the game 28-10 (it could have been worse).  The Vikings had 490 yards on offense including 211 yards on the ground.  Whatever was accomplished in the Giants two previous victories appeared to be gone.

Next up was the New England Patriots who highlighted the Giants deficiencies even more in their 35-14 victory.  The Patriots forced 4 turnovers and dominated the GMEN as the game went on. The legend of “Danny Dimes” took a hit again with a 3 interception game. It didn’t help matters that they were playing against the best defense in the NFL.

Still, there were moments early in the game that reminded us of the magic that occurs when the Giants play the Patriots. When Lorenzo Carter (where has he been?) sacked and stripped the ball from Tom Brady only to be picked up and ran into the end zone by Marcus Golden for a Giants touchdown, flashback memories of Strahan, Tuck and Umenyoura came into the minds of Giants fans everywhere. At least for a little while.

Tom Brady did not have a good first half but did enough to keep the Patriots ahead at the half, 21-14. The second half was another story. Belichek’s defense made their necessary adjustments and dominated the GMEN exposing their injuries to their RB’s and WR’s.  When Jon Hilliman fumbled the ball late in the game which was recovered by Kyle Van Noy and returned for a touchdown, the Giants were down 28-14 and the game was officially over.

The Giants were severely outmatched in this game both on offense and defense; that much was clear. With injuries to several offensive players including running backs and wide receivers, and injuries to their defense at the linebacker position, the outcome of this game was a surprise to nobody.  Was it too much to count on David Mayo to have another 9 tackle performance as he did against the Minnesota Vikings?  (He actually had 13 tackles in this game).

Who, by the way, is David Mayo? David Mayo is the next man up or an undrafted free agent, the Giants answer to a depleted linebacking corps.  The Giants all but neglected the linebacker position relying on often injured Alec Ogletree and BJ Goodson who, by the way was beaten out of a starting job by rookie Ryan Connolly.  Connolly, after playing well the first few games of the season went down with a torn ACL in week 3.  Thus, the Giants had no choice but to turn to free agency using the likes of David Mayo.  Mayo actually had 13 tackles in the Patriots game and has to be credited for being around the ball often.

Linebacker was not the only position that the Giants failed to backup adequately going into the 2019 season.  Against the Patriots, the Giants suited up the feared duo of Jon Hilliman and Elijah Perry at Running Back.  The result of this decision; 16 carries for 52 yards. Hilliman’s late game fumble was likely the reason he was cut promptly after the game to be replaced by veteran running back Buck Allen, a castoff from the Baltimore Ravens.  The Giants better hope to have Saquon Barkley back in week 7 if they are to have any chance in a wide- open NFC East race.

So where do we stand at 2-4 after losing the last two games?  IN THE THICK OF IT IN THE NFC EAST!

Best case scenario:

Looking at the Giants remaining schedule, I believe they can defeat the following teams:   Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins

This would give the GMEN  6 wins. Throw in a few possible win games against inconsistent but talented teams such as the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears and the GMEN are 8-8.  Not good enough to get into the playoffs. This, my friends is the best we can hope for I believe.

The Giants will not go further than this until they can beat the more physical teams including Dallas, Philadelphia, Green Bay and others.  Winning the game on both sides of the ball is what is required, even if the magic of Danny Dimes returns anytime soon.

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AJ Green’s Up and Down Day Too Much Up for Bills

 By BRANDON FAZZOLARI / @spot_bills / Facebook – Brandon Fazzolari

The Bills have played 5 very similar games this season. They have lacked consistency on offense and have created turnovers on defense. There was one big difference in Sunday’ loss at Cincinnati. The opponent made big plays on offense.

That opponent was the Andy Dalton-AJ Green combination. Green had about 200 yards receiving, most of which came on two huge gainers where rookie Tre’Davious White was beaten. In the first quarter, on their second possession, the Bengals baited White to peak into the backfield for a moment. That is all it took for Green to blow past and Dalton threw a perfect bomb. Green would not be caught and scored from 77 yards out.

The second big pass was the last play of the third quarter. And White had good coverage, but reacted a second too late. Dalton made a very nice pass again and Green caught it in stride and was off to the races. He was taken out at the 5. Cincinnati scored on the next play.

Although Dalton to Green carved up the Bills, they also combined to give Buffalo three takeaways. Micah Hyde got his league-leading fourth interception from a high pass that deflected off Green’s fingers. That pick led to Buffalo’s only touchdown.

In the second half, Jordan Poyer was gifted an interception as a result of a flat out drop by the future Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, Buffalo went backwards on offense after that turnover. However, Green fumbled on the very next possession after getting drilled by the ever-hustling Lorenzo Alexander. That turnover led to three points and a 13-10 lead.

Buffalo’s last field goal was set up Brandon Tate’s electrifying punt return. Had he scored on that play, perhaps the Bills would have won the ball game. But, Tate was knocked out at the twenty-three and after a penalty, they moved the ball no closer and settled for three.

The Bills had some costly penalties and some very costly injuries. All in all, though, the game was microcosm of the season thus far. The run defense was stout, but the run offense was not strong enough. The game was tight and could have gone either way. The Bills are 3-2 going into the bye, but could easily 1-4 and just as easily, be 5-0.

I don’t think they will get blown out this season because their defense always competes. Hence, we are in for 11 more of these kinds of games that can go either way. My finger nails will pay the price. The next two games are at home and are winnable. But, other than a road game at Kansas City and maybe the New England game(s), Buffalo will have the opportunity to win.

My preseason 8-8 prediction looks fair at this point, but that is why they play the games!


By BRANDON FAZZOLARI / @spot_bills / Facebook – Brandon Fazzolari

Takeaways from Bills-Jets game

ARTICLE By BRANDON FAZZOLARI / @spot_bills / Facebook – Brandon Fazz

Was this the most beautiful performance in the history of the franchise? No. But, it’s a win and Bills’ fans will take that all-season long. Unfortunately, the home game verse their weakest opponent is officially over. Starting with a road game in Carolina, here comes the tough part of the schedule!


What more can you say about LeSean McCoy. He burst through holes when they were there, he made defenders miss and slithered for tough extra yards. He also came up with one of the big plays in the game when he bailed out Tyrod Taylor on a third and long late in the third quarter. Backup Mike Tolbert showed some good quickness on inside run plays as well.

Where the Bills struggled in the ground game was on the outside on sweeps. Particularly when trying to run on the goal line with Tolbert on the initial drive of the game, the Jets easily drove through the Bills’ offensive line and knocked Tolbert back for a loss of five. That drive never recovered and ended in an interception. Fortunately for Buffalo, the Jets tackled themselves. Otherwise, that interception turns into 6 points for New York.

The Bills did a poor job for the most part in getting the wide receivers involved. Taylor’s nicest throw in the game came on an in-cut to Jordan Matthews where the pass itself led Matthews to the open field for a long gain. Andre Holmes scored on the short yardage deception play and Zay Jones made a 21-yard reception early. Other than that, the outside guys didn’t do anything.

The tight ends dominated Jets cover men early and often. The Jets were so focused on stopping the Bills on the run, they sometimes left Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary completely uncovered. If Clay had better hands, he would have been the star of the game statistically. Even so, he scored once and had a few other key receptions.

The offensive line had their ups and downs. Based on the defensive scheme and personnel, they did an adequate job. The Bills certainly piled up the yardage, but only 3 of their five drives deep into Jets’ territory resulted in points. The good news was all three scores were touchdowns.

At quarterback, Tyrod Taylor managed a good ball game and made some nice throws. He also understood the situation and knew when to throw the ball away Truthfully, he will have to be better going forward. Future opponents are likely to score more than 12 points.


For the most part, the defense was very impressive. New York had no ground game. This defense really flies to the ball. Lorenzo Alexander has a great motor for a 12th year guy and Ramon Humber is your prototypical fast, strong linebacker. Humber had a whopping 12 solo tackles. He is an excellent player. The only positive running play for the Jets came on a third and seven when the coaches weren’t prepared for it.

On the back side, the defensive backs were better as tacklers than they were as cover men. Micah Hyde was a real presence at safety. He is a big improvement over what we saw last season back there. Jordan Poyer was perhaps the most pleasant surprise for Buffalo. He had a sack, a pick, two passes defended and three solo tackles; not bad for a 7th round draft choice on his third team.

The Bills were very weak late in the second and late in the third quarter on pass defense. Veteran Jermaine Kearse beat rookie Tre’Davious White a few times and the pass rush failed to hurry Jets’ veteran QB Josh McCown. When McCown had time, he was able to hit Kearse and check down to his tight end and backs for substantial gains. The Jets only touchdown came on a 4th and goal sneak. The Jets’ O-line got a gooe enough surge for the points.

The Bills’ only injury occurred to EJ Gaines’ shoulder. We’ll monitor his progress throughout the week.


The Jets played decently on special teams. The young kicker (Catanzaro) made two long first half field goals, the young punter nailed a clutch 4th quarter kick inside the five (Edwards) and the young return man (Raymond) had a long return in the 4th.

The Bills got 1 good punt return from Brandon Tate. Other than that, the Bills were below average in the kicking game. Placekicker Stephen Hauschka missed his only attempt from 45. It had the distance but the ghost of Weeb Ewbank seemed to brush it aside at the last moment.


ARTICLE By BRANDON FAZZOLARI / @spot_bills / Facebook – Brandon Fazz


Arizona Cardinals: Buffalo Bill and the Queen


Patrick Peterson

After a tentative season-opening loss to New England, the Arizona Cardinals found their stride against visiting Tampa Bay last week. Carson Palmer threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns in the 40-7 victory, and the defense proved it can be one of the league’s premier units when all pistons are firing. When it was over, Arizona found itself in a flat-footed tie with every team in the NFC West at 1-1.

On to Buffalo.

Historically, western teams traveling east for morning games haven’t fared well. But the Cardinals catch a break traveling to upstate New York in snow-free September, and they face a stumbling 0-2 Bills team fresh off the firing of Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. That early-season move comes with a whiff of desperation, considering Buffalo’s defense was far worse last week, giving up 37 points and nearly 500 yards in a loss to the visiting Jets.

But the Buffalo Bills lead the league in one respect: they are the only team named after a 19th century frontiersman.

“Buffalo Bill” (William Frederick Cody) was a ranch hand, Pony Express rider, fur trapper, gold prospector, and buffalo hunter. In 1867, he was contracted to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with meat. He set off on a wild-eyed 18-month spree, slaughtering 4,282 buffalo. The bloody deed earned him the moniker that would stick with him the rest of his life.

Cody cemented his legend in 1883 with his formation of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, a sweeping spectacle with a cast of hundreds, Indian attacks on wagon trains, stage coach robberies and yes, a buffalo hunt. It portrayed a western frontier that was rapidly disappearing but captured the public’s appetite for tales of daring and conquest–not unlike Buffalo’s 2015 hiring of Coach Rex Ryan, a tough-talking gunslinger type who led the New York Jets to the doorstep of the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2010. But wins have been scarce lately and some fans are calling for his head.

The natives are restless.

Meanwhile, the mood lightened considerably in the Valley of the Sun after Arizona dismantled Tampa Bay last week. The victory was partly spurred by Carson Palmer warming up in a Stay Puft marshmallow suit prior to the game. Really. Palmer had lost the team’s weekly quarterback competition, and the loser must take the field questionably dressed. Check out the video: http://foxs.pt/2cXsWJx.

Palmer’s exploits helped keep the team loose, but their improved performance was likely due to solid game-planning and execution. The Cardinals defense picked off Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston four times. Larry Fitzgerald had been the lone bright spot in the receiving corps in week one, and this time seven different receivers caught passes. And the offense didn’t turn the ball over. Since 1940, the only other time the Cardinals started the season with consecutive turnover-free games was 2008, the year the franchise reached the Super Bowl.

Arizona’s defense strives to be one of the league’s top units, and it was especially promising last week. Coach Bruce Arians had uncharacteristically called many of the defensive plays in week one, and the zone coverages he dialed up took the edge off the aggression the squad is known for. Arians stayed away from that side of the ball against Tampa Bay, and Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher returned to man coverage and called for blitzes 43% of the time, from all angles, leaving the Buccaneers flummoxed.

Arizona looks to corral Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor today, who threw for 297 yards and three TDs last week. Taylor may be scrambling to find viable targets this week though, with Sammy Watkins, Greg Salas and tight end Charles Shaw all questionable with injuries.

The Cardinals are healthier but are still missing some pieces, most notably right guard Evan Mathis, who is sitting out with turf toe and didn’t even make the trip to Buffalo. Mathis had played in pain against the Bucs Sunday and Carson Palmer noted that when he came in Monday morning, “his entire foot was purple.” Medical issues aside, I find the color purple unsettling, as it brings to mind unpleasant things such as Barney and eggplant. I suppose it’s the color of royalty though, which conjures images of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who at this moment may be holed up in her bedchamber in Buckingham Palace, Welsh Corgis lapping at the purple spider veins in her feet.

I’ve gone off the rails. Again.


The following players will be unavailable Sunday, and may be otherwise engaged:
Cordy Glenn, offensive tackle: ankle
Colt Anderson, safety: foot
Evan Mathis, guard: purple foot

The Cardinals’ task today is to overcome jet lag and a hostile Buffalo crowd. A loss would leave them with a 1-2 record, and raise fresh questions about a team with Super Bowl aspirations. A victory would keep them tied for the division lead and help their season-opening loss recede safely into memory.

– Eric Forgaard

This blog is not sponsored by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

New York Jets – Week 2 Review – @ Buffalo Bills

The Bills left a bad taste in the mouths of Jets fans, coaches and players last season. The Jets managed to obtain a very respectable 10-6 record, yet still somehow missed the playoffs. This fate was sealed with a week 17 loss to the Rex Ryan led Bills.

The Offense

The good

Ryan Fitzpatrick– Consider me befuddled. My biggest knock on Fitz this off season was the holding out for money I felt he didn’t deserve. When looking at the tape last season, by which I mean beyond the stats, you realize how many drawbacks Fitz had. His deep passes were inaccurate and it took extra effort from his receivers to make him look good. However, in this game he looked like a 12 million dollar quarterback. He started clumsy with the ball coming loose several times including a recorded fumble which was thankfully recovered by the Jets. He quickly moved past that and picked apart a pair of highly touted corners and a secondary that many considered to be one of the best in the league.

Wide Receivers– Coming off a game where the Jets passing game could be described anemic at best ( not to say the offense didn’t work well in other facets), this game was a revaluation, a return to form if you will. Quincy Enunwa continues his growth, and unlike last week the big two (Decker and Marshall) had stellar games.

Brandon Marshall– Although I mentioned the wide receivers above, I am giving Marshall his own category because of that scary looking injury. From the initial looks of it I gasped in shock, fearing the worst. It looked season ending and, at Marshall’s age, potentially career ending. However, surely enough the machine trotted back onto the field in the next drive.

The bad– Not too much bad on offense, one could argue early on things were looking a little ugly as Fitzpatrick looked like he forgot to hold a football, but these problems were quickly gone. The one big thing that I will point out is Jalin Marshall’s fumble! The Bills turned this one slip up into a big play going in the wrong direction for a touchdown.

The Defense

The good

The Defensive Line– I have a feeling this unit will be talked about a lot this season and show up frequently in this category. While this performance wasn’t as dominating as their 7 sack showing against the Bengals, this was still a dominant and physically opposing unit that limited one of the best rushing teams in the league last season to just 86 yards on the ground. Only 59 of those yards came from LeSean McCoy. They provided a lot of pressure against a mobile quarterback, and if the secondary helped up a little better they would have done some real damage and the score would have been much more lopsided.

The bad

Darrelle Revis/ Game Plan for the Secondary– The secondary gave up two big plays that kept the bills in the game. Two long touchdown passes of over 70 yards kept the Bills hope for a victory alive. One of those plays was directly on Revis, an 84 yard bomb to Michael Goodwin, a receiver with Olympic level speed. Now here’s the thing Revis may have lost a step, but I’m not a fan of how he is being used. During the prime of his career he was such a good shut down corner because of how good he was on the line of scrimmage. He would play man press coverage and receivers would struggle even getting off the line to run their routes. We all know now that he was nursing a wrist injury, an injury that required off season surgery. This is why last season he played a lot of off coverage, gaining a head start against an opposing receiver so he could be in the right place at the right time, of course his age made this difficult and their were times against young speedy receivers where he was simply outclassed. I think in order for Revis to have a good season the defense is going to have to find a way to let him be the physically imposing presence he once was on the line, while having a safety net behind him.

Special Teams Report– The Jets lost only 6 games last season, but in many games they gave up punt returns of kick returns for touchdowns. Furthermore, punting was a real issue last year as well and opponents too often would have a short field to work with. I am happy to report that with a new couch in place and an injection of young talent it looks like the special teams won’t be the liability they were a season ago


Takeaways From Pats Win Over Bills by Evan Lazar

For the eighth time in the Bill Belichick era the Patriots have started the season 2-0.

Their divisional tilt against the Bills was as emotional as expected. There was some chippy play from both sides, and a total of 25 penalties called.

Rex Ryan’s bunch was expectedly hyped to play the defending Super Bowl Champs at home.

Let’s take a look at some takeaways from the Patriots win after film review:

Patriots Use Multitude of Offensive Formations: It was hard to keep up with the Patriots formations and moving pieces on TV, so I can only imagine how difficult it is to diagnose as a defense. You wonder how and why on certain plays Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman find themselves so open? The answer, in part, is due to how many different looks the Patriots throw at the opposing defense. Gronk, Edelman, Amendola, Dobson, Chandler, and Lewis all saw the field a lot, and individually lined up in just about every spot possible. The Patriots expect a lot out of versatility out of their skilled position players, and they delivered this past week.

Offensive Line: The Bills played a lot of man coverage in the secondary, and mixed in 16 blitzes on 61 Brady drop-backs. Through the first two weeks of the season it is clear that the Patriots are emphasizing getting the ball out as quickly as possible, as Brady’s snap to throw numbers are off the charts. Having said that, this was another solid performance upfront as the Patriots threw 61 times and Brady was only pressured 12 times. The offensive line really held up well in pass protection, and on plays that needed that added second or two they stood tall. The unit is still short two starters yet they have delivered in back-to-back weeks.

Brady’s Big Day: It’s hard to ignore how good Tom Brady has been through the first two weeks of the season. It’s outrageous to talk about MVP candidates this early on, but the two-week MVP award would have to go to Brady, Rodgers, or Arizona QB Carson Palmer. Brady tore apart a defense that slowed down one of the best quarterbacks in 2014 last week, and his 466 passing yards were the 2nd-most in his historic career. Success comes from the top and trickles its way down. Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff set the tone, and then Brady leads the way. These first two weeks have illustrated just how great of an example Brady sets for his teammates. Minus a few misses on some deep balls, Brady has been perfect.

My favorite Brady throw of the day? The 22-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman. Brady gets the entire BUF defense to bite on play action, and barely gets the ball out to a wide-open Edelman, also a great run after the catch by JE:

Pass Rush: Believe it or not the Patriots now lead the NFL in sacks with 11. The Patriots 8 sacks on Sunday were the most by the team since 2003, and the pressure up front had Taylor looking around for room instead of downfield. After film review, there were a number of instances where Taylor missed open receivers, and it was often because of pressure in his face. 8 sacks on 21 pressures is very good production.

4th Quarter Play Calling: There has been some discussion about how the Patriots handled playing with the lead in the 4th quarter. It was surprising to see them continue to throw despite a sizeable lead, and that might have cost them a bit in the Bills comeback attempt. On their first drive in the quarter, the Patriots passed on all eight plays before turning the ball over on downs. On the next drive they ran just two plays, both passes, before Brady was stripped sacked by Jerry Hughes. Between the two drives the Patriots only chewed up four minutes of clock, giving the Bills a decisive advantage in terms of plays ran in the 4th quarter. It’s entirely possible that the Patriots were just so confident in their short passing game that they figured a short completion was the same as a run play, but it’s also possible that they were trying to run up the score a bit on the Bills. The aggressive play calling that led to the turnover on downs and a fumble nearly cost them the game.

4th Quarter Defense: Along with some missteps in the secondary that are to be expected, there were some errors up front during the Bills comeback try. The biggest difference between the Patriots solid defense through the first 3 quarters, and the 4th quarter was how the front 7 handled quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is an exceptional athlete, and is going to find some running lanes from time to time, but on some key plays down the stretch he bought his receivers time with his legs. What makes mobile quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Taylor so difficult to defend isn’t when they take off running downfield, but when they move around to buy time for their receivers to shake the coverage. The Patriots did a decent job of keeping Taylor in the pocket for much of the game, but failed to do so on the three late touchdown drives by the Bills. On the touchdown pass to Robert Woods, Taylor avoided the rush nicely to his right buying time for Woods to find an opening in the zone, and on an even better play, found Percy Harvin for a big chunk after escaping to his left on the following series. Taylor started to find his groove as the game went on.

Missed Opportunities: Despite putting up 40 points and over 500 yards of total offense, the Patriots still left some points on the field. 40 is a lot, but they very easily could have been in the 50’s with a little bit better execution. One throw in particular that stood out was Brady overthrowing Edelman on 4th and short late in the game. Edelman clearly had a step and a good throw would have been 6, and would have sealed the victory. Against a great defense you will be more than happy with this offensive output, but it still wasn’t perfect.