FitzMaddening: The criticism of Ryan Fitzpatrick's inability to throw the deep ball has almost always been centered around his lack of arm strength and inability to get the ball downfield. Sunday was just the opposite - but just as bad of a result. Twice in the first half Fitz OVER-threw receivers who were open down the sidelines, and both would have probably had six points. First, it was Stevie Johnson in the first quarter. He clearly had a step on his man down the right sideline. Then, CJ Spiller was behind his defender in the second quarter on the left side. Both players had touchdowns ahead of them - and both times the ball was too far ahead. Then, there was the throw right before halftime to TJ Graham. He wasn't really open, but the throw was no where near him. He was on the sideline. The ball was at the hashmark. Basic accuracy is an issue. It's been an issue more sporadically in the past, but it's now a consistent game-to-game, drive-to-drive, and even throw-to-throw question mark. A throw to Donald Jones could have been a big play early in the game near the goal line. Jones was open enough not only to catch the ball but maybe score and make it 7-3 Bills. It was thrown behind him. Jones may have been expected to hold on because it did hit his hands as he was reaching back, but that's a throw that needs to be made. Just like the other three I described above. Just like many others we see more and more frequently every week.
The Other Williams, too: Last season, Leodis McKelvin and Drayton Florence took a lot of heat - and deservedly so - for how badly they were continually beaten in coverage. Well, Aaron Williams has officially taken that mantle. And, again, deservedly so. It's so disappointing to see this kid look like he has. He's getting beat on basic moves by wide receivers. Nothing fancy. And when he does, he's not even close. Turned around. Beaten on deep balls. If there's a way for a corner to get beat, Williams has done it. Wanna know how bad it and he's been? Fans have been clamoring for McKelvin to start.
Defenseless: We've all see the numbers. They were plastered all over the TV and twitter Sunday, will be all over the newspaper, this radio station, and other Internet outlets all day Monday and probably most of the week. The historically bad numbers the Bills gave up on defense in San Francisco, and coupled with the numbers in New England a week ago. A defense that spent over $127 million this offseason and it's first round pick (including his salary) to not only make sure that did NOT happen, but be a difference-maker this season. Well, mission accomplished. They are making a difference in NFL record books. Everyone shares blame. The front four have been abused the last two weeks. A front four that added one high-priced defensive end (Mark Anderson) and one extremely high-priced end (Mario Williams) specifically to get to the QB. They can't even get a sniff of a passer right now. The linebackers. Where are they? It doesn't matter if it's a run play or a pass play, there always seems to be a linebacker in the picture getting defeated by a blocker one-on-one, missing a tackle, or getting torched down the field by a tight end or running back. The secondary. See above regarding Williams and add the fact that that first-round rookie, Stephon Gilmore, has looked like, well, a rookie. The safeties are doing nothing to stand out in a positive way. They're just…..there. Sunday starting safety Jairus Byrd even cost the team a touchdown with a hold on special teams.
Want-stats: Actually, I don't. I saw enough of them Sunday and have to read them all day today every time I look at anything about this game. But all of the above has to be directed at defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. Last week I made a lot of points to direct the defensive issues against the Patriots at the players more than the coach, but put the blame on Wanny for his lack of adjustments against the Patriots. This game wasn't about adjustments. It was about having his players in the right spots, coached up to do what they are supposed to, and executing. It's not happening at any level of the defense (see above). It's not only two weeks, it's three, going back to game one against the Jets. The question of (and pounding of fists by fans on tables for) a change is as great as I can ever remember for a coordinator this early in a Bills season. But just as many questions surface if a change is made. Who would they hire? Would it even matter? But, sometimes in sports, changes are made for the sake of change. Changing a culture, a mindset, just a different way of looking at things and a new set of eyes seeing what needs to be done differently. In hockey, a goalie gets pulled even when it's not his fault, but a team is losing or uninspired. In baseball and basketball, coaches get thrown out to get the attention of their players. Something - or someone - needs to change on defense. Maybe the coordinator. Maybe the scheme. Maybe the players on the field. Maybe playing an Arizona team next week that's given up 17 sacks the last two weeks is just what the doctor ordered to get this defense and their confidence in themselves and each other back on track. Everyone is beating the Cardinals offensive line. Everyone is getting to their quarterback. If the Bills can't do it, it may be a combination of several of the above that changes soon after.