Three touchdowns on four chances for Houston. Three field goals on four chances for Buffalo.
There were plenty of other things that led the Bills to their 21-9 loss to the Texans, but generally speaking it's just a matter of making the plays when they're needed.
As for the rest? Let's go back and review, shall we?
- From what we've come to know of the Chan Gailey offensive attack, when things start to go awry and the Bills trail their opponents, the run game doesn't have much of a place in the second half offensive attack. This was the case once again at Reliant Stadium, despite the Bills' two best playmakers normally residing in the backfield. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson combined for a total of 12 carries on the game. While they each got five additional touches in the receiving game, that still isn't enough. For my money, one of those players (Spiller, in my opinion) should be getting 22 touches by themselves. Then allow the other player to have an impact as well with a good amount of times with the football in his hands. The Texans wanted to take away the run. They did, and the Bills never adjusted. The overall lack of adjustments seem to be a lingering characteristic of this 2012 version of the Buffalo Bills.
- Not to make the start of those totally about the run game, but C.J. Spiller needs to be getting the ball a whole lot more than he is right now. Even in games where the offense and the run game is working, he isn't getting the majority of the snaps at running back. That has to change. Ryan Fitzpatrick knows it, and admitted it after the game. He didn't say they needed to get Fred Jackson the ball more, it was all about Spiller. He has been ready to become one of the most explosive players in the NFL. Let him loose, Chan.
- Yet again, third down was an enemy of the Buffalo Bills, but not on defense this time around. The offense found a hearty amount of struggles in trying to convert on third-down opportunities and stay on the field. Questionable play calls and a lack of execution led the Bills to only converting on two third down chances out of 11. They had the opportunities to make plays and stay in that game, but they just failed to do so.
- Predictably, one of the best running backs in the NFL had a field day against the worst run defense in the league. When the Bills tried to predict Arian Foster's zig, he zagged. When they thought they had a stretch play locked up, he burst up field for a big gain. There were some exceptions, with the Bills getting stops at the line of scrimmage a handful of times. By and large, however, the Bills could not get a handle on Foster and stopping big plays in the run game. That led to some huge wholes in the pass defense.
- That leads us to our next contestant on 'Which opposing player had a field day against the Bills defense?' Welcome back, Andre Johnson. Thoughts that maybe he had slowed down or that he wasn't the same player any longer just couldn't be further from the truth on Sunday, November 4. He was open all day. If not for great coverage by Stephon Gilmore late in the game, he would have been right amongst the weekly receiving leaders with a pair of touchdowns. He got injured, yes, but cornerback Aaron Williams continued to disappoint on the left side.
- It looked as though Stevie Johnson took a helmet to the leg early on in the contest, and that hampered him throughout the rest of the game. To his credit, he showed guts once again and kept heading out there play after play, even though he hobbled to and fro to the huddle time after time. I have to ask this question though: Was it necessary? He was slowed down so much that he didn't look like the same receiver that is able to beat his assignment off the line of scrimmage so soundly. He wasn't the same guy who could get where he needed to be on long passes down the sideline. I understand the importance to him as a player and a fighter to battle through the injury. But if you're hindered so much that you can't make more than one catch the rest of the game, maybe it's time to take one for the team and sit the rest of the game out.
- One of the Achilles heels of the Bills' linebacking unit continues to be biting on play action. This week's victim? Nigel Bradham. In man-to-man coverage, Matt Schaub faked the hand-off, rolled left and through it back to the right side of the field to Owen Daniels for a touchdown. You may have noticed Nigel Bradham trailing behind him on the replays by about 10 yards. Play action strikes again!
- To the Bills' credit, I thought their pass rush was a bit improved in this game. Mario Williams looked to have more of an edge to his game against the Texans than at any other point of the season. Now, that could be just because he was playing against his former team, but I think the peace of mind he received following wrist surgery certainly played a part, too. He played well in the first half, as did fourth-year player Kyle Moore. After threatening over the past several games, Moore finally got the first solo sack of his career. It's been a long-time coming for one of the best pass rushers the Bills have on the roster.
- There have been times throughout the season where second-year safety Da'Norris Searcy would get some time on the field for either George Wilson or Jairus Byrd. I found it a bit odd that Wilson found himself along the sideline what seemed to be half the time for Searcy, and Byrd was out on the field consistently. I asked Wilson after the game if he had gotten banged up at all, to which he said, "No." Predicting what question was coming next, Wilson then said, "You have to ask the head coach about the rotation." Perhaps one of the 'evaluations' over the past week was the Bills wanting to get Searcy some more time on the field and perhaps more production out of their strong safety. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out over the second half of the season.
- I'm not going to roast Chris Hairston for his woes against defensive end J.J. Watt, because the guy has been borderline unblockable for most of the season. Watt was constantly making plays, whether it be in the backfield or by stopping the run at the line of scrimmage. He is a special, special player, and one that gave the Bills fits.
- The last thing I'll turn to is the overall predictability of the offense. A few examples: 1) The screen worked in the first half of the season and at the beginning of the game, but was quickly figured out by the Texans. However, the Bills continued to go to the well despite a lack of production. 2) A big passing play put the Bills in great position to potentially put the ball in the end zone, and on the ensuing first down the offense trots out Fred Jackson behind center in shotgun for the Wildcat formation. The defense knows he's not going to throw the ball. Why that call there? 3) It worked, but Dorin Dickerson's first play in weeks just so happened to be a screen play to him. As soon as he ran out there, I said to myself, this is likely a TE screen. If I can do that, odds are the coaches who get paid a lot more than I do can anticipate it as well. This offense at times lacks creativity in play-calling, and perhaps the playmakers to properly execute all the plays in the playbook. And yes, I'm talking about the quarterback.
Bills' MVP: DE Kyle Moore - In a mediocre effort from the Bills, Moore gets MVP honors for his first career solo sack. It's been a long-time coming for him.
Bills' LVP: LB Nigel Bradham - Think he'll be working on recognizing play action this week?
Up Next: Sunday, November 11 at New England
With Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans, the Bills are very close to having this season turn for the worse. Only this time they just might not be able to get themselves out of it. Through eight games, the Bills are on pace to win the same amount of games as they did in 2011, despite having what they boasted as a much more talented roster than last year. If they don't win against New England on the road, draft talk will be starting by Week 11 once again in western New York.