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Simon

Bills game was all about what if?



We can go ahead and just refer to this as the "what if" game.  And I'm not just talking about the huge swing that took place on the game's most memorable play(most painful for Bills Nation).

It seemed certain the Bills were about to take a 17-3 lead over the 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs about four minutes into the third quarter.  The Bills had multiple cracks from the Chiefs one yard line.  

The first play was an incomplete pass that resulted in a pass interference call giving the Bills first and goal.  A first down run by Fred Jackson produced no yards as did a second down run by Jackson.

 On third down Jeff Tuel wanted TJ Graham but Sean Smith had other ideas, coming up with the pick and returning it 100 yards to tie the game at 10.  As you might imagine, the stadium fell silent as stunned fans tried to figure out what had just transpired and how that was possible.


As opposed to most people on twitter, I didn't have a problem with a pass play being called, a play where Stevie Johnson was wide open in the back of the end zone.  I had a bigger problem with the two run calls that preceded the interception.

On the first Jackson run, the Bills brought in the big boys going with three tight ends and two backs, inviting the Chiefs to bring all of their defenders into the box.  

On the second Jackson run, the Bills changed personnel and went with three wide receivers, one running back and a tight end which helped spread the defense out and Tuel was operating out of the shotgun.

The problem I have is something my colleague Jeremy White often brings up.  Why not try a quarterback sneak?  What's the point of handing the ball off to a guy who is five yards behind the line of scrimmage when the QB is right there at the one?  Can't Tuel just get behind Eric Wood and drive in right behind him or maybe go over the top?

I'm sure we will be talking about that series and that pass play on third down all morning and perhaps on Tuesday so I'll move on and get back to my theme of what if.

The other obvious what if is TJ Graham's fumble that was recovered by Tamba Hali and returned 11 yards for another defensive touchdown.  What if Graham holds on? Even if that drive goes nowhere, the Bills are tied at 13 early in the fourth quarter instead of going down by seven.

There was a what if on the very first possession of the game but it will probably be forgotten by many in light of the Bills costly turnovers. What if the punt return for a touchdown by Leodis McKelvin isn't wiped out by a penalty.  Although on the replay it looked like McKelvin might have been tackled if Nigel Bradham didn't knock down the Chiefs player with the block in the back.

Let's move on to the second quarter for our next play.  What if Tuel hits Robert Woods who is open in the back of the end zone for a touchdown pass?  The Bills could have been up 14-3 at halftime but they end up settling for a Dan Carpenter field goal on that drive and a 10-3 lead at the break.
 

On that same drive, Tuel went for Woods in the end zone again and Woods got his hands on the ball but Chiefs corner Marcus Cooper was able to break it up.  What if Woods hangs on? That was a second chance at a 14-3 lead.

What if the freaking NFL would actually allow catches to be catches?  I have no idea what is a catch and isn't a catch thanks to a league that has too many rules and complicates what should be simple decisions.  If the deep ball to Marquis Goodwin was ruled a catch then the Bills have the ball at their own 46 with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, trailing 20-13.  But it wasn't a catch, the Bills challenge failed and they were back at their own six with a third down coming up.  They punted after an incomplete pass.

In other news from this game, for those of you who thought Nathaniel Hackett was too conservative, you must have loved this game.  It was bombs away as Hackett continually called for Tuel to stretch the field.

 He attempted six passes of 20 or more yards but only one was completed.  It was the picture perfect 59 yard bomb to Goodwin that produced a touchdown.  One pass should've been caught by Graham who had the ball go through his hands and off one of his arms.  Tuel takes the blame for one of the other incompletions as he under threw the speedy Goodwin who had beaten Cooper on the play.


Hackett stayed aggressive after turnovers too.  On the drive after the interception/TD, the Bills went for it on 4th and two in KC territory and tried a bomb for Graham.  On the series after Graham's fumble was returned for a score, Hackett called for the bomb to Goodwin which was there if the throw was better.

I was glad they went for it on 4th and two, as I would think most people were, but you can certainly question the idea of having the inexperienced QB throw the low percentage deep ball.  The Bills had run 7 times on that drive for 44 yards.

Tuel's first ever regular season start began well as he completed five of his first seven passes for 112 yards and the TD.  But after that, the Washington State product went 13-32 for 117 yards and 2 picks.  That, despite the fact the run game was eating up and spitting out the Chiefs defense.  Buffalo rushed for 241 yards on 38 carries which is a robust 6.3 yards per carry.

The loss spoiled a great day for the Bills defense which held the Chiefs offense to 210 yards, 23% on third down, no touchdowns and three field goals on their nine drives(not counting the kneel down plays at the end of the game). 

One final what if for you.  What if EJ Manuel wasn't injured? I think the Bills would have won this game as well as the game in Cleveland if Manuel didn't get knocked out and we'd be talking about them being 5-4 instead of 3-6.

Do you think the Bills Stadium Committee meetings should be public?
  Yes, the public should know what's going on
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