You know, if the Buffalo Bills could figure out how to win these close game, they could be battling for the top spot in the division.
Instead, Buffalo is occupying their normal spot at the bottom of the AFC East. The Bills suffered another heartbreaking loss to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 in overtime after a good comeback effort in the 4th quarter. Here are some takeaways from Sunday.
Thad Lewis showed us the he is an admirable fill in for injured E.J. Manuel. Thad threw for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both of them coming in the 4th quarter. The only real flaw of his 2nd career start was his fumble in the 3rd quarter. Lewis was able to drive the Bills down the field in the final 2 minutes, capping off the 80-yard drive with a beautiful bomb to rookie Marquis Goodwin.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, the Bills are cursed with injuries. Adam Schefter reported this morning via Twitter that Thad Lewis has a minor foot sprain and was walking around in a walking boot after the game. The QB position has been dinged up all year, with Manuel hurting his knee once in the preseason as well as last Thursday, Kevin Kolb suffering a potential career-ending concussion, and now Lewis who sprained his foot at some point during yesterday’s game. The Bills have announced that they are working out former Raiders backup Matt Flynn today. Flynn has lost his starting job for the Seahawks last season to Russell Wilson and this season to Terrell Pryor in Oakland.
Continuing with the injury theme, C.J. Spiller gave it his all Sunday despite his injured ankle. Spiller rushed for 55 yards on 10 carries against the Bengals. Even though he played decently, you could tell that he was having trouble making the cuts that we are accustomed to seeing him make. Hopefully Spiller can get healthy before next Sunday because Buffalo is going to need him if the quarterback situation doesn’t start looking better.
Defensively, Buffalo struggled for the much of the game. The Bengals were getting huge chunks of yards at a time. Cincinnati ran the same screen play what seemed like 10 times Sunday, and Buffalo didn’t catch on and stop it until about the 9th.
Buffalo also continued to struggle stopping the run. BenJarvis Green-Ellis killed them on the ground, rushing for 86 yards. Green-Ellis got many of these yards on 3rd down because Buffalo was unable to get him down on first contact.
On a positive note, Buffalo’s secondary is starting to come back from all their injuries. Leodis McKelvin came back last week, and both Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore were able to play this week. I personally didn’t think Gilmore should have been playing Sunday. If you missed it, Gilmore has a huge cast protecting the wrist that he broke in the preseason. Gilmore had trouble tackling guys because he didn’t have his left hand to grab on to them. I love that Gilmore attempted to play, but I would rather wait a few more weeks than have him missing tackles all game.
The legend of Kiko Alonso continues to grow. Alonso registered 22 tackles Sunday.
The rookie middle linebacker out of Oregon now leads the league in tackles and is tied for the league lead in interceptions. Alonso is making a strong case for himself to be Buffalo’s first defensive rookie of the year since linebacker Shane Conlan did it in 1987.
All in all, I can’t be too upset at the way the Bills played Sunday. They took a pretty good Bengals team to overtime with a practice squad quarterback and a slew of other injuries. Let’s hope that some of these guys can come back before they play the division rival Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
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