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What does this Bills win mean?

Good news Bills fans.  The unthinkable didn’t happen.  The Bills did not become the first team to lose to the Cleveland Browns this season. Instead, they did as many expected and thoroughly beat a team that was designed to be horrible.

 Watching the Browns reminded me of the Sabres tank teams.  You knew they were supposed to be bad as part of a rebuilding scheme and yet you still find it hard to believe a professional team could look that awful. 

To the Bills credit, they didn’t play down to the level of their opponent.  They came out and took care of business on a day when it never felt the Bills could actually lose to the now 0-14 Browns.

 The Bills offense did what it does best, run the football.  More specifically, let LeSean McCoy run the football. McCoy and his teammates shredded the second worst run defense in the league from their very first possession.  McCoy, as usual, exploded through big holes opened up by his blockers or just beat defenders to the edge.  In a season that seems headed to another non playoff ending, watching McCoy has easily been the most enjoyable part. 

The Bills didn’t need the passing game to do a whole lot thanks to the ground game which ends up with an impressive 280 yards on 40 carries.  Tyrod Taylor was tasked to produce one of those “manage the game” performances and he did, passing for 174 yards and a touchdown while not turning the ball over.  Once again, Taylor also used his legs to frustrate an opposing defense.  Taylor even found the usually under utilized tight end Charles Clay who recorded a season high seven catches for 72 yards, his second best total in 2016.

The Browns defense was in the giving mood with the holidays approaching.  The Bills offense churned out 451 yards, 29 first downs and had seven trips inside the red zone.  When you consider the fact the Bills had eight possessions, seven trips inside the 20 shows you just how pathetic the Browns defense looked.  They never came up with back to back stops.  The Bills went field goal, touchdown, punt, touchdown, punt, touchdown, field goal, downs.

The defense, one week after being run over by the Pittsburgh Steelers, had the better of their matchup too.  Robert Griffin III doesn’t look like he will regain the form he had when guiding Washington into the playoffs.  RG III was inaccurate and seemed able to only make shorts throws and passes into the flat.  He was under pressure for a good chunk of the game by a strong Bills pass rush.  The Bills held Cleveland to 269 net yards, 16 first downs and a 27% conversion rate on third down.  The Browns went three and out on half of their 10 drives.

What does all of this mean?  That depends on your perspective.  If you are still evaluating Tyrod Taylor then you would feel better about the Bills quarterback after a less than stellar showing over most of the previous six quarters.  If you think the Bills should give Rex Ryan at least one more season, you’d say the defense certainly hasn’t quit on their coach. 

If you believe a winning record would be a sign of progress, even if the Bills miss the playoffs for a 17th straight season, then you’ll be happy to know that remains a possibility. 

For me, this game doesn’t change a single thing.  It would be like taking a class that has 16 sessions scheduled but you ended up taking the final exam in the 13th session.  Sure, there are still three more days left but your grade has already been determined. The Bills 2016 season has two more classes on the schedule but the Pittsburgh game was the final exam.  For that matter, the Oakland game was a major test that had to be taken leading up to the final.  

Neither the test nor the final went well.  A 33-13 triumph over one of the worst looking teams in my lifetime as an NFL fan doesn’t make me feel any better about Ryan as the head coach going forward or Taylor being the long sought after answer at quarterback.  

The final two games should provide tougher challenges than Cleveland.  Miami more so than the Jets since the Dolphins have won eight of nine games.  But the Bills will be facing a pair of teams playing their backup quarterbacks and one of those backups, Bryce Petty, will have a total of four starts under his belt. 

I’m probably not giving Miami enough credit.  After all, they are in a battle for a wild card playoff spot.  The Dolphins also beat the Bills earlier this season and Jay Ajayi had a career day running the ball.  Ok, if they beat Miami that would be a nice win.  Lets call it some extra credit.  

Sadly, it won’t be enough to get the Bills a passing grade for the class.

12/18/2016 6:37PM
What does this Bills win mean?
Please enter your comments below.
12/18/2016 7:06PM
Mr. Pegula...
We all know the key to success in the NFL starts with a quality quarterback and the Bills have not had 1 in 17 years. And that fault lies on the shoulders of the front office (Nix, Donahoe, Whaley (yes Whaley), and Brandon (yes, Brandon), and the rest of the personnel dep't). Their record speaks for itself with no playoffs in 17 years. Just as Lindy & Darcy had to go because they were unable to bring the cup to the sabres in 17 years, Rex, Whaley, and Brandon (along with scouting staff) must go. They have repeatedly failed to address the quarterback problem. As we see with GMTM and Dan Byslsma and the Sabres, there are people out there who are capable of turning the Bills franchise around. The problem is right now they are not working for you at One Bills Drive.
12/18/2016 7:10PM
Keep Rex
Next year - Super Bowl!!!!!!
12/18/2016 9:24PM
It means Simon & WGR 550
are still trying to pin the tail on their scapegoat of choice, Rex Ryan. Granted, he is a shameless self promoter, but that is hardly sufficient cause to fire him after 30 games. What does it then say of the Teflon king, Whaley? Good friends of Russ Brandon and Kim Pegula are untouchable?! Four drafts into his reign and Manuel is a bust, Watkins a massive over billing, and 2016 draft nothing but undelivered hype. Juggle the facts all you'd like and you can't escape those facts - even on a good witch hunt. Either fire them both or allow them to complete the job you hired them to do Terry without media trying to sway public sentiment.
12/18/2016 9:38PM
What coach is going to want to coach the Bills for 3 years or less? Well-run franchises like the Giants, Packers, Ravens, and Steelers have consistency and surety for the job. Who wants to move for a three year job or less. I certainly do not. Nick Sabanand Urban Meyer are not leaving the college game.
12/18/2016 10:01PM
Time to move on
The Browns are the worst team I have ever seen. Beating them saved face for the Bills. However it is time to move on from Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor.
12/18/2016 10:26PM
This game
was the best Bills game of all time.
12/18/2016 10:49PM
this mess and continuity is all russ and overdorfs fault. they are the continuity. kim lets it happen. sure blame greg roman. i love rex personally but hes just an avg. coach. terry pegulla needs to grow a pair
12/18/2016 10:55PM
i get your frustrated with some callers, but quit being so arrogant. i know some is sarcastic but this is the business you chose. quit if you dont like it. unless your on your knees to russ. im sure wgr s staff wont post this because your so biased. hey go work for cleveland
12/19/2016 2:01AM
It means who is going to stay, and who going to be out.
I really don't know hoe will terry and kim handle this. But our owners know that just can't end up this way every year. i mean it's really simple, you look at players who have been here more than 2 to 3 yrs. And if they are not producing than it time to go. And we have not seen this team play altogether since 1999. taking injuries is one thing, but taking suspensions should not be tolerated from here on out. if these players were on the field we just might of made the playoffs. So yes there has to be changes if not than it will be 18 yrs and counting.
12/19/2016 3:01AM
So they failed second grade?
and now next year, they have to repeat second grade again with rex ryan and taylor, or do they go to third because summer school might give them credits towards next year ?
12/19/2016 6:30AM
Who will make it to the promise land first?
The Browns or the Bills? The Browns for sure.
12/19/2016 7:09AM
The Head Coach looks like a genius and you don't talk about firing. (Whaley) hasn't found a good (QB) yet? If anyone should be fired go figure where the real blame should lie?
12/19/2016 8:19AM
this win means nothing
you just beat a bunch of guys who should be working at UPS! the worst football team i have ever seen. if i was a Browns fan i would want the whole team moved to London
12/19/2016 8:39AM
Oy vey, Howard!
Do something about that acid reflux of yours!
12/19/2016 9:06AM
Rex is not the problem, OMG!
This experimentation with non starting QBS here in Buffalo is almost unbelievable? This failing experiment has been going on before Coach Ryan came here to try to win without a good QB?
12/19/2016 9:28AM
12/19/2016 10:24AM
They beat Cleveland...
I knew hiring Rex Ryan was a mistake...Watching the Cowboys last night with that huge offensive line, Elliott and Prescott made me see how far the Bills are behind...and the two of them are rookies. Ill bet if I did my homework on the Cowboys team, theseplayers were available to Buffalo. It starts with the draft and a O line then a QB...and running back. All great teams with great QB's have great O lines...The Bills are #1 in rushing in a passing league.
12/19/2016 11:16AM
No hope in the near future
How does a team with only $30 million in cap space and only 36 players signed for next year get out of this cycle of mediocrity? The short answer is you can't. If you don't keep Tyrod then you save another $15 million but then your best QB option on the roster is Cardale. Next year will be the same as this year unless the team is gutted and 2017 becomes a "tank season". Sorry WGR but Rex Ryan didn't draft these wannabe football players and Rex didn't write the free agent contracts. The blame for this mess is squarely on Brandon and Whaley's shoulders.
12/19/2016 11:20AM
Re: Acid Reflux
Yes, it is getting really annoying....
12/19/2016 11:45AM
Welcome to Buffalo...
Gus Bradley. This win did little to affirm anything the Bills do. They beat a winless team...woohoo, big deal, my high school team could have shredded the Browns (Go Grand Island!) Anyway, this win should do little to instill confidence going forward. It's when you beat the good teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Oakland, I mean...they couldn't even beat the Jets or Dolphins..two key wins that would have the Bills in the wildcard. They are pathetic when their backs are up against the wall, and that is on the coaching staff. Get rid of everyone and start anew. Still, even after beating a winless team.
12/19/2016 1:00PM
12/19/2016 1:22PM
Feet Fetish...
Our D needs to be amazing if the Buffalo Bills plan on playing this type of football. As soon as you fall behind in a game, your doomed. Running the football is nice, but not being able to break the 200 yard mark passing is a problem. We don't have a QB that can dig us out of a hole and you usually cant 'run' out of the hole. Get a better QB or create a #1 ranked D.
12/19/2016 2:02PM
Shill talk 550---Shillman 550
The fans deserve nothing better, still see so many who want Tyrod back at a "lower" price. It's like leaving your wife and coming back thinking she's changed. We have simply developed a loosa mentality starting with the Media. Listen to more national radio, everyone knows Taylor is horrible, Ryan was a joke of a hire. It takes us a year after the fact to determine this. And why is Pegula giving a coach 5 year contract? You give a new coach no more than 2 years until proven. The players want a pansy who caters to them. Ryan is antiquated, thinks you can win with a system that has been outdated since his father. Until we get a good GM, Coach and QB watching the Bills is a waste of time. So is listening to this station with the same old employees who have worked together for 10 years and give you the same boring stuff day after day
12/19/2016 3:45PM
Can't Keep Firing Coaches.......
It certainly hasn't worked defensively the way Rex sold it 2 years ago when he arrived. On the other hand the offense has given more than I expected ranking in the top 9 in scoring this year. However, I'm willing to give Rex and Tyrod a 3rd season for several reasons. First what kind of coach are you going to get if all you're given is 2 seasons? Three would be fair and I thinkl Rex deserves it. Second, if you fire Rex and jettison Tyrod, you'll set the team back at least 3 more years without making the playoffs. Third, Tyrod can and is effective when they let him play to his strengths which is using his running ability in designed plays. Doing that will open up the passing game downfield. QB's take time, give it to Tyrod. Fourth, Buffalo had significant injuries on both sides of the ball that impacted the teams performance. Sure all teams have to deal with injuries but when a top WR like Watkins or your #1 & #2 drafts picks are lost, team performance will be impacted because it's not the team you built. It's unfortunate that the fans and media have already assembled with pitch forks and torches in hand ready to storm One-Bills Drive. But step back, take a deep breath and really think this through and realize blowing it up now will only make the process longer with no guarantees of success........
12/19/2016 9:13PM
Wrecks makes Marrone look good. St Doug was smart enough to take the money and run -get away from this disfunctional franchise. Housecleaning starts with canning Whaley. Until Whaley is gone the Bills are not going to the playoffs. Bring back Polian -andgive him carte blanche to revamp the organization. To hire and fire anybody he wants.
12/20/2016 6:16AM
Despite Issues: Keep Rex but unload brother and Defensive Coordinator
I did my own homework on former bills players drafted and those free agents that were cut or left since 2010. At least [29] former Bill players are playing in the NFL of which [16] are on 2016 playoff bound teams. That means the scouts and Whaley are bringing in the right talent that gets cut by the coaches simply because of the constant churn of personnel. Yet these same players that were cut or released or simply left play for some of the top teams. It does make sense for continuity. That’s means keeping the status quo for now. Just get rid of Rob and the Defensive Coordinator.
12/20/2016 6:50AM
"Nothing it means nothing" -Realistic fans "It means 900 Super Bowls in a row, starting next year, don't fire our leash master Russ Brandon. He doesn't have the stink of meddling and the drought, he's dreamy..." -Shill Cashillio & Excuse Murphy
12/20/2016 7:28AM
With a good QB the Bills would be in the Playoffs this year!
Look back the season there's 3 games maybe 4 where we needed the QB to pull out the game and he couldn't. All we here are excuses and blame everyone else. WHY?
12/20/2016 7:39AM
Believe the fans, its not REX!
Get a QB that can pull a game out when its needed.
12/20/2016 8:15AM
Yeah, Fire the Coach, Keep a bad QB & Bad G.M.?
LMAO! Only here in Buffalo?
12/20/2016 8:29AM
how funny
listening to sports radio in cleveland yesterday one announcer said the Bills Taylor they can have him! if the announcers in a city where a team hasn't won a game think Taylor is no good then he must be no
12/20/2016 8:29AM
Only BIG name person at #1 Bills Drive is Rex Ryan.
None of the players for sure. It has to be his fault that the QB on this team is not good enough to win the games when it really counts?
12/20/2016 3:50PM
ill use a baseball analogy to illustrate how the front office is not getting it done. when drafting and signing free agents they get some good players and ill agree this is more talented then most of the teams we have had over the drought but to win you need to consistently upgrade all positions most importantly the depth. the top teams hit on top talent and secondary depth players its like hitting a double then getting a couple singles in a row to get runs across the plate what the bills are doing is getting doubles then popping out striking out a couple times and leaving their runners stranded and not getting enough runs to score enough to win. whaley seems to me to be slightly above average but not good enough to get the job done like tyrod.
12/20/2016 4:35PM
Rex Ryan~Donald Trump
2 of a kind. They can sell you anything and make you think you got a deal. Who else can win 15 games in 2 years, 2 of those teams made it to the playoffs, and some people still think he's a defensive savant. Go figure.
12/21/2016 12:57PM
:RE: Rex Ryan~Donald Trump?
Is this comparison that important to you? Sounds like sour grapes to you? Get over it and find a life.
12/21/2016 2:09PM
sick staff hurting morning show
I'm tired of these call ins and scratchy voices in the AM. for Howard it's from screaming at various family and dog during bills/sabres loses and with Jeremy it's from excessive Chippewa clubbing pursuing teeny boppers wearing mirrored shades screaming "don't you know who I am"? Mr Davis sir, please look into this, these men need disciplinary action
12/21/2016 4:17PM
Who are you going to replace Tyrod with??????
To refresh a few memories and enlighten the Millennials who weren't born that it took Kelly until the 3rd season before we made the playoffs! I can remember all the idiots back then shouting "$1 million for a QB who throws interceptions? Get rid of him!" (Kelly threw 56 TD's/45 Int's his first 3-seasons). Now I know Tyrod's not Jim Kelly and it's impossible to compare eras but the point I'm trying to make is to show some patience! Tyrod is not responsible for the previous 15 seasons without playoffs (and neither is Rex or Pegula) but the media and fans act as if they are. I saw the BN article the other day with the 10 QB's that are expected to be available for next season and I wouldn't take one of them at this point in their careers over Tyrod! I mean Fitz was on the list. Really, are we that desperate? Mike Glennon, the 6-6 statue? QB's take time to develop. The same applies to Rex as well, who are you going to get if you keep changing coaches every two years? If you pull the shoot on this after 2 years I can guarantee this drought will hit 20 years.....
12/22/2016 10:44AM
angry but hopeful
Like most Bills fans I'm angry at the prospect of missing the play-offs again but I think Rex and company need at least one more year. Most of the blame should fall on Whaley but you can't fire the GM without cleaning house and a full sweep is not the answer. The only person that needs to go is Rob Ryan, he is a waste of space (a lot of space) and adds nothing to this team. Has added anything to any team since his early Oakland days...
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