"Out-coached" is the first thing that comes to mind regarding this game. Rex had the Bills' offense very well prepared with a game plan to create key mismatches that caused most of the damage in the first quarter:
1. Target rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson. While Kevin did provide tight coverage overall, he surrendered two touchdowns and a 53-yard deep pass. It was more of a credit to Tyrod Taylor's accuracy and ball placement than any specific mistakes by the young defensive back. Buffalo essentially decided to hammer away at a less experienced player with expectations that their receivers would prevail, and it worked. To his credit, Kevin Johnson bounced back later in the game with pass breakups, which shows the level of confidence and maturity that he has very early in his NFL career. I think we expected that there would be games like this for the young star, and I'm confident he'll learn a lot from the experience.
2. Beat the edge with speed. They executed plays that were designed to overwhelm the Texans' defensive front with speed where it would work best. John Simon--who is well documented on game film as being weak in coverage, and in tackling technique--was the recipient of most of the first quarter abuse, resulting in over 100 yards of rushing before the second quarter.
3. Neutralize J.J. Watt. In their preparation, the Bills' coaches and players clearly picked up on the fact that Watt and linebackers Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney can get too aggressive with penetration in pass rushing, so they set up screens and draws to punish them for not staying home and setting the edge to contain the threat. During pass-protection situations, they also did what so many other teams have done this season in using double and triple-teams against #99.
It all worked to give Buffalo a quick lead before the Texans could make adjustments. By the time Houston did adjust, it was too late when you consider what the lackluster offense led by Brian Hoyer is capable of delivering. On that note, Buffalo was able to rattle Brian Hoyer all game long with blitzing to keep him off-balance and off-target.
It was a perfect game plan, and it showed that Rex Ryan and the Bills did their homework. Unfortunately, it also showed that Bill O'Brien, George Godsey and Romeo Crennel didn't prepare their team as effectively. Their in-game adjustments were good, but it was all "too little, too late."
I think this game pretty clearly spelled out why the Texans need a new quarterback. Brian Hoyer is a decent signal-caller; he can get you a win if the rest of the team around him is playing really well. He cannot get you a win, however, when he is asked to drive down the field with less than two minutes to go and score a touchdown. That singular ability separates the franchise quarterbacks from the stopgaps, and right now Hoyer is simply a stopgap.
Here's the entire game in a nutshell: On the 4th down play near the end of the game, Brian Hoyer looked legitimately surprised that REX RYAN sent a blitz.
TGC (The Grindcrusher):
Not a lot to separate two fairly average teams. The Bills' deep passing was better than the Texans' and that might have been the difference, along with a good running back. The Texans' secondary was a bit unlucky at times (if that throw is an inch lower, it's not a touchdown) but also very lucky in spots as well, what with the horrendous drop by the Buffalo tight end.
Not sure if it was scheme or J.J. Watt having a low-energy day, but in the end, the result is the same.
Next week is the Patriots, right? On Sunday night, right? You ever have that dream where you go to school and realize you're in your tighty-whities and it's too late to do anything about it and everybody taunts you all day? That's what I'm expecting for next week.
Well, that was anti-awesome. Credit the Bills for game-planning to neutralize J.J. Watt and take advantage of our weakness against the run.
This loss hurts because it was a winnable game for the team, and it would have helped us immensely, given the Colts loss against the Steelers. It's kind of feeling like we can't gain ground against the Colts because every time they lose, we fail to take advantage of it. But we're hanging around, and that may be enough for a playoff spot.
This was a game where the eye test showed some of the issues our offense has. If Hoyer's the answer at quarterback, we need to rephrase the question. We really need to do something to strengthen our run game. The moment I heard Brandon Brooks was going to be out, this game got iffy for me, simply because, even though we've shuffled the offensive line around this season, he's better than his backups and the Bills have a defense that can take advantage of the inevitable mistakes that accompany unfamiliarity. I'm pleased to see that OB thinks Brooks may have just had a food bug, given that talk about Brooks suffering from an ulcer was bandied about before the game.
Either way, we're on to NRG Stadium to welcome the 10-2 Patriots next Sunday night. That's the game that matters now.
I'll remember yesterday's game for: (1) Kevin Johnson looking like a rookie cornerback for the first time in a long time; (2) John Simon missing two monstrous tackles that directly led to Bills points; (3) Quintin Demps doing his best Eugene Wilson impression; and (4) inexcusable special teams penalty after inexcusable special teams penalty.
I'm not mad at Brian Hoyer. He was quite bad in the second half, but this is the life we have chosen. He has still been better than I thought he would be this year.
Credit to Rex Ryan for devising a game plan that was close to perfect and to his squad for executing that plan. The Bills were better yesterday and deserved to win.
The Texans simply need to put it behind them and get well against...the Patriots? Aw, fiddlesticks.
We lost in all three phases of this game.
Defensively, we reverted back to early-season form. Kevin Johnson was beaten more than he played poorly. John Simon looks lost and confused out there, and Vince Wilfork couldn't be more worthless if he tried. Unfortunately, the Bills showed how to negate J.J. Watt by basically using the entire offensive line to block him.
After looking so much better, especially after we re-signed Charles James II, special teams was Marciano-esque on Sunday. There's no place on the field where our lack of athleticism on the roster sticks out more than on special teams.
And then there's the offense. Perhaps Brian Hoyer didn't lose the game for us. That's a reasonable argument one could make. But Hoyer didn't win the game for us, either. After the TD to DeAndre Hopkins, Hoyer went 4 for 12 for 52 yards (against a prevent defense!) with an interception, and his accuracy was incredibly poor. This isn't the NFL in 1980. This is an offensive league driven heavily by QB play. To be successful, teams need better than 4 for 12 in clutch time from the most important position on the field.
No TE currently on the Texans roster should get a snap for the rest of the year. Just put Kendall Lamm out there and be done with it.
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