TORONTO (WGR 550) -- There are a lot of different ways to approach writing about the embarrassment that we witnessed as the Buffalo Bills were shellacked at "home" by the Seattle Seahawks 50-17, but I've heard it summed up best by my colleague, The Bulldog:
"It's a coach gets fired kind of game."
No arguments here, Bulldog.
The way the Bills played on Sunday, they came out flatter than the turf at the Rogers Centre both looked and felt. From top to bottom, almost every single player and coach on that field is to blame. Instead of showing any ounce of passion to secure jobs for next season, the Bills curled up in to the fetal position.
We knew one fact a while ago, except there were still mathematic chances of making the playoffs. Tonight, however, the Bills are mercifully ushered out of any lingering playoff debates. Thirteen straight seasons without a playoff appearance. Eight straight seasons with a losing record.
Most importantly, the franchise looks to be set back at least one more time with how their coach is finishing out an embarrassing third season that started out with promised hope and optimism from the front office. With the way the Bills lost that game, Chan Gailey's security in my mind went from semi-safe to a kick towards the unemployment line if he finishes 5-11.
On that note, let's review the game:
- The way the Bills presented themselves in that game, it reeked of unpreparedness and a defeatist attitude. The ironic part is that it mimicked their head coaches decision making the week prior. There is a reason why, despite all their adversity, coaches all over the league have their teams in position to win on a weekly basis. Not all of them, but that's the value of having a competent head coach. Chan Gailey is a nice gentleman that has a very good idea of what works on offense in the NFL. In clutch times, when his team needs him the most, he's caught in foggy and flawed logic inside his mind. Sticking with Bulldog's sentiments, a change needs to be made at head coach. This group should be way farther along in Week 14 of a crucial season -- a season that every organization member publicly used the 'p' word when talking of realistic expectations -- than they are right now. It's not as though they hung around. Seattle came right in as if they were playing the Arizona Cardinals for four more quarters. A good coach, despite the injuries that plague any team's season, has his team ready to compete and not get embarrassed in front of a fan base that they're attempting to impress. The message is stale and it's painfully obvious. He's had enough time in the win now NFL. Time is up. Gailey has run out of chances in Buffalo, or ones that he'd have in any other city around the league.
- I'm sure the majority of Bills fans that attempted to stomach that game kept flashing back to Day 2 of the 2012 NFL Draft. Russell Wilson ran the read-option, executed play-action passes and delivered in clutch situations -- enough to make any fan of the team sick when they thought about what GM Buddy Nix said about the diminutive quarterback during the week. Let's take you back to Friday:
"You know, I know people that have done that, Howard. I mean, Bill Parcells, if the measurables weren't there -- height, weight and speed -- they weren't on the board. You can't do that I don't think, and Bill's been very successful and that's his way of doing it, but I firmly believe that winners come in all sizes. I think Russell Wilson was one. We knew that when we spent a lot of time with Russell. He was on our radar, but we felt like we had to have a speed receiver. They took him in the third. That was a little high for us as far as our needs."
Nix contradicted himself quite plainly. The 'winners come in all sizes' cliché was convenient, but didn't apply to their rock solid draft strategy in 2012. If he's a winner, then wouldn't he be a winner in the third round just like he would in the fourth? The logic behind it blows me away. Meanwhile the Seahawks have themselves a franchise quarterback, despite the GM of the Bills 'knowing' he would be a winner. It's almost insulting.
- And if Bills fans weren't sick enough about the 'it was too early' explanation Nix spewed out about Russell Wilson, there was the player they took in his place showing why he was the pick over a player that could have turned a major position of need around. T.J. Graham really stole the show. I hope by this point the sarcasm hammer has hit you over the head. The third-round receiver dropped four passes and couldn't beat a much less heralded rookie on a deep route (the thing he was brought to Buffalo for). Sure, he may end up being a solid pro one day. However, the fact that they admitted an interest in Russell Wilson but didn't pull the trigger on him because of a lack of size is a joke. Speedy receivers can be found anywhere in the draft, especially ones that have had the kind of effectiveness Graham has had through his first 14 games. They better hope Wilson doesn't continue to have the type of success that he is. If he doesn't, fans will continue to look at him as one (of the many) that got away.
- It took 14 games, but the Bills are back in to their normal 'mediocre malaise' to close out the regular season. They got to eight losses, and it was as though they shut down. There were a few exceptions to the rule. Stevie Johnson showed more passion than any other person on the field for the Bills. C.J. Spiller rushed for over 100 yards. Scott Chandler had a solid day (partially thanks to the Seahawks defense backing off). That's about it, though. Where is the passion from your top players? The question to Mario Williams was simple:
Me: "Are you embarrassed?"
Mario Williams: "When you lose the game you lose the game, man."
Therein lies the problem within the locker room at One Bills Drive. If you're not ticked off after being outplayed for 60 minutes, there is a major issue.
- I won't spend too much time on this, but C.J. Spiller eclipsed both 100 yards on the day, and 1,000 yards on the season in the loss to Seattle. He was one of the few to show up, with his run that left Chris Clemons stuck in place coming to mind first and foremost. However, there weren't enough Spiller's on the field for the Bills.
- Just to give a secondary gut-punch from the Seahawks' sidelines was a former Bills running back going wild in the first half of the contest. Marshawn Lynch's day was offset by Spiller's day a bit, but he was another shining example of the Bills having no answers for anything Seattle was doing on offense, defense and special teams.
- In another case of the 'just because he's a rookie and starting doesn't mean he's good' series is the plight of fourth-round cornerback Ron Brooks. For the third week in a row, Brooks was getting routinely gobbled up in both run and pass situations. The Bills almost never pull a player mid-series, but they made an exception for the poor play of Brooks. They went back to Aaron Williams at cornerback. Something tells me that position may just be a target in free agency this offseason.
- In regards to Ryan Fitzpatrick, I thought he actually started off the game quite well. He was making good throws to receivers and put his players in position to make plays. It wasn't until the game was too far gone that Fitzpatrick tried to act the part of the superheroes that his t-shirts sport at times during the season. Both interceptions were distinctly his fault and took away any lingering thought, no matter how minute they were, of a potential comeback. His fate in Buffalo has already been sealed, it seems.
- That's not to say that the regressing play of his offensive line didn't have anything to do with the lack of an offensive output throughout the contest. Cordy Glenn had a poor evening, and that's putting it nicely. He was beat clean by Chris Clemons on the strip sack that resulted in one of the most crushing blows of the game. He's a rookie and he'll learn, but man was that a step back for the left tackle that has looked so good at times during the season.
- And with that game ends the first term of the 'Bills in Toronto' series. Over five games, the Bills collected one win, getting blown out twice along the way. What's the old saying? This house is not a home? That would be an apt way to describe the stale and neutral atmosphere of the Rogers Centre when the Bills play there. In their defense, the home team really hasn't given them much to cheer about, though.
Bills' MVP: PSY - You could multiply the energy for all 60 minutes of the game, and it didn't come close to the four-minute halftime show.
Bills' LVP: The Bills - That about sums it up.
Up Next: Sunday, December 23 at Miami
- And here we are again. The Bills' officially, and routinely, turn their attention away from the present season. Instead, they now shift their eyes to the offseason and hope that something turns around for 2013. I have some ideas on how to do just that, and I'm sure most of you do, too. A common principle of most of our theories? A new head coach, and a new starting quarterback. To April we march.