Bills starting to resemble Jauron teams
Losses are not like signatures or snowflakes.
Some losses are exactly the same. The scores may be different and the circumstances which led to said loss may vary from time to time, but ultimately it’s the same old, tired reasons and excuses.
That’s what has suddenly happened to the Buffalo Bills under Chan Gailey. Now, Gailey’s Bills are starting to resemble the teams Dick?Jauron had in Buffalo.
Gailey’s Bills are finding ways to lose each week, sometimes hanging tough with a good team before proving to be far too inferior.
What’s worse, though, with Gailey’s Bills is another dangerous comparison to the Jauron Era — no progress. The Bills may not be worse than they were when Gailey took over in 2010, but they certainly aren’t much better.
There needed to be much more progress at this point as Gailey is halfway through his third season. The defense has gotten much worse somehow, while the offense is competent, but very inconsistent.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has resorted to making only safe throws and not taking many chances as to not risk a game-killing mistake — like the one against the Tennessee Titans two weeks ago — by throwing the ball down the field. So Fitzpatrick’s numbers from Sunday’s 21-9 loss to the Texans look decent — 25-of-38 for 239 yards and zero interceptions — but he had no touchdowns and is failing the “eye test.”
Fitzpatrick is either unable or not being allowed to make the big throws down the field enough when this team so desperately needs it. A wide open Stevie Johnson is being missed by Fitzpatrick far too often, and now Gailey is dealing with major second-guessing for only giving Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller a total of 12 touches.
Jackson and Spiller are arguably the Bills’ biggest strength — Buffalo is 6th in the NFL in rushing — and giving them a total of only 12 carries and 22 total touches (both had five catches each) is unacceptable in a game the Bills did not trail by double-digits until the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Bills under Jauron would grind out a few wins against bad teams, and occasionally play pretty well against good teams before figuring out a way to lose. That is what is happening to Gailey’s Bills now.
With a chance to earn a statement win over the Patriots last month, the Bills suffered a historic collapse and followed it up with an even more historic meltdown a week later in San Francisco.
Breaking down the Bills’ 3-5 record this season, you can say the team has been overmatched a couple of times, beat up on a couple of bad teams and squeezed out an ugly win at Arizona. It is the last two weeks that may have been the most worrisome because those were definitive Jauron Era type losses.
If the Bills aren’t improving, then they’re essentially regressing. The Bills’ second-half schedule — after this Sunday at New England — used to appear soft, but now is much more difficult.
The Miami Dolphins are in the playoff hunt and the Bills still have to play them twice, while the Indianapolis Colts have been far better than most imagined with rookie Andrew Luck taking over for Peyton Manning.
While there’s a decent chance an 8-8 team in the AFC could sneak into the playoffs this season, it’s more reasonable to expect the Bills needing six wins in their final eight games to be a legitimate postseason contender.
That’s what this season was supposed to be about — making the leap into playoff contention in Gailey and GM?Buddy Nix’s third season together. Instead, the Bills are stuck in quicksand once again, going nowhere fast after teasing fans with hope.
Follow Paul Jannace on Twitter @pjscribe