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CAPACCIO: Bills-Jets: Arrow Up/Arrow Down

By Sal Capaccio

Twitter: @SalSports

A miserable loss to end the season for the Bills, 30-10 at the Jets in a game that didn’t even seem as competitive as the 20-point deficit on the scoreboard.  The final game to a disappointing season, and the final Arrow Up/Arrow Down column, as well.  Once again, unfortunately, for the ninth time this season, I begin with the Down Arrows….

Arrow Down


Anthony Lynn didn’t deserve the effort that took place, both mentally and physically, from many of his players at MetLife Stadium.  I really believed going into the game players would try to show and prove they are a better team than one that had its head coach fired.  But that didn’t happen.  There were glaring physical mistakes and mental errors.  And there was simply no energy on the sidelines all afternoon.  It was as bad as it appeared from TV and on the scoreboard.  If not for the Jets missing on a couple fourth down opportunities, it might have been a lot worse.

EJ Manuel

Manuel was hoping to have a good enough showing to not only impress the Bills enough to convince them to bring him back, but also show the rest of the league that he could once again be a viable starting QB option.  it was the worst possible performance and result for the fourth-year pro.  It wasn’t Jacksonville-game-in-London-train-wreck bad, but it was about as close as you could get without the picks and fumble-6.  EJ missed open receivers consistently.  He sailed balls high, threw them low, and tossed them into wide open spaces.  When he did hit a pass catcher, it was often in a spot he had to adjust pretty handily to get to, and usually was unable to.  The final stat line for Manuel was 9-for-20 for 86 yards, two sacks, one lost fumble, and three points scored.  It was an awful day for the former first-round pick.

Kickoff recovered by Jets for TD

Of all the plays and moments of the now-seventeen year playoff drought we mock, laugh at, or think to symbolize the futility, this one may go to the very top of the list.  It was just inexcusable for something like that to happen in a professional football game.  First, the communication was so poor on the kick return that no one was near the ball to field it.  Then, after it started bouncing around, Mike Gillislee (or someone) had to know that once the ball goes ten yards it’s live and free.  It isn’t declared dead or a touchback once it crosses the goalline.  Clearly, Gillislee thought that was the case.  If he wasn’t taught that, it’s a miserable failure by the Bills coaching staff (especially special teams staff), but my guess is he had been told and simply had a lapse in judgement.

Running game

Where was the top rushing attack in the NFL?  A total of 28 carries for 68 yards for only 2.4 yards per carry.  No Bills running back averaged better than 2.8 yards per carry by himself.  That’s downright terrible.

Run defense

On the flip side to the above, the Bills were consistent in allowing an opposing back to rumble through their front-seven.  Bilal Powell ran for 122 yards on just 22 carries, an average of 5.5 yards per run.  Over the last four games of the season the Bills allowed, as a team, rushing yards per play: 5.7, 5.1, 6.9, 5.5.  

Two lost fumbles

Coming into the game the Bills had a chance to set an NFL record for the fewest turnovers in a season.  They didn’t achieve it thanks to two lost fumbles.  One by EJ Manuel on a sack and another by RB Jonathan Williams when he was barely touched.  Put the first in the “physical mistakes” column.  Put the second in both “physical” and “mental mistakes.”

Arrow Up


Wow.  Who would’ve thought this would show up in the Up category at all this season?  What has been an issue again for most of the year was one of the best parts for the Bills Sunday.  Coming into this season, the Bills were one of the ten most penalized teams in the league.  But they tied a franchise record with zero, that’s right ZERO penalties in this one.  There was one flag thrown for intentional grounding on Cardale Jones, but the Jets were flagged for roughing him on the same play, which caused offsetting penalties and both not to count on the official stat sheet.

CBs Kevon Seymour and Marcus Roberson

Both did a nice job all day, with the rookie Seymour getting the start in place of Stephon Gilmore and Roberson getting extended playing time.  Neither had specific stats to show for it, but they were both generally in good position all day when the ball came their way or to force it somewhere else.

LB Lorenzo Alexander

The twelve year veteran finished his best season ever with a solid performance.  The Pro Bowler filled up the stat sheet with three tackles, one for a loss, a sack, and two QB hurries on defense.  He did all of this while clearly banged up for most of the game, as well.  Alexander limped into the locker room as the last one off the field but came out and still played defense and special teams, where he collected an additional tackle on the day.

KR/PR Brandon Tate

Tate had a nice season returning punts and kicks and had a 23-yard punt return and 42 yard kick return in this finale.

Fourth Down Defense

If there is such a thing as fourth down defense, the Bills played it as good as they could.  The Jets went for two fourth-and-shorts in Buffalo territory and both times were stuffed at the line of scrimmage on runs.  Linebacker Preston Brown was in on both stops.

The Big Picture

That’s it.  This season is a wrap.  After week 17, again.  The playoff drought continues and plenty of question marks surround the organization from top to bottom.  What will the team do at QB, especially after the way the Tyrod Taylor situation was handled this past week?  Who of their 24 free agents will return and who won’t?  Maybe most importantly, who will be the team’s new head coach in 2017? 

As Bills fans once again sit and watch twelve other teams vie for a championship, they’ll soon start looking at college prospects (the Bills will pick tenth) and available free agents.  Then it will be waiting for the schedule to be released and reading OTA and minicamp reports before training camp begins at St. John Fisher.  Then wondering if “this will be there year” the longest playoff drought in professional North American sports ends.  

The more things change, the more they stay the same…….

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports

01/01/2017 11:57PM
CAPACCIO: Bills-Jets: Arrow Up/Arrow Down
Please enter your comments below.
01/02/2017 12:51AM
Now what?
Bills front office: If well into the 21st century my GM says on your radio station “you pass to score and run to win” I don’t need him leading the search for our next coach. By the way, great to have your podcasts on demand. Refocusing, we could have had Taylor almost for free this season and with the franchise tag next season we could had him for two seasons for a very reasonable average price before we had to tie ourselves to him long-term, or not, depending on the outcome. Instead we gave him a good rise this season, not needed at all, and we offered him a deal that we are scared to death to fulfil unless he becomes the second coming of Joe Montana, so we drove ourselves into a dead end that may leave us dropping Taylor and paying him on top in order not to have to pay him even more. Disastrous management enough to have our GM fired because of a self inflicted injury to our team. Anthony Lynn: Don’t understand at all why he should be our clear cut leading candidate to be our next HC. I didn’t see anything special from him to support that and if we think that running is the solution to win in the league nowadays we’re clueless. Tyrod Taylor: with out him playing this week it was the best audition to have him back next season until we find the real long term solution at QB. But oh wait, we can’t do that because our GM drove us into a dead end with him with the deal he gave him. Keeping the not good enough needs to be the plan for next season while we put all our effort into finding his successor. He’s our best QB since Bledsoe, which doesn’t say much but makes him needed until we find better. Buffalo Bills: if we are changing HC and starting a new QB I see that as, most probably, a big set back so we may as well take advantage of the occasion to make a complete clean house from bottom to the top, except for the Pegulas every body in the organization out of the window. The roster should be good enough to drive us through the desert. Finally, Is it too much to ask a professional football player to know the basic rules of the sport he’s pay to play? Rgds from Spain.
01/02/2017 1:30AM
Groundhog Day
Anyone really believe things will be better next year with Whaley and whatever coach he brings in for essentially a one year stint? Whaley will be whacked after next season when they miss the playoffs for the 18th year!
01/02/2017 4:49AM
Not sure what you were watching but
...Williams ran into the Jets D-lineman (Richardson?) pretty hard. Don't think you can accurately describe that as "barely touched"/ May wanna watch again, but that would be cruel.. take my work for it.
01/02/2017 5:55AM
With Whaley in charge next year will be a disaster and after his firing it will be a 3 yr rebuild.
01/02/2017 6:02AM
here is an idea
STOP watching, stop supporting, stop going, stop buying nfl anything... National Felons League... they cant stand for the anthem, support the troops for the very freedom that allows them to play a game making millions of dollars. why would the hard working class be supporting them?.. the fact the nfl is still even viable is representative of where this country is as a whole. i stopped watching the nfl about 25yrs ago and i literal had a chuckle reading the mess this organization is in.. my point is you can sit back and laugh at these fools if you would just quit them... i say arrow down on all of it and find something better to do with your hard earned paycheck than to give it to a bunch of disrespecting, doping, criminals.. good luck
01/02/2017 7:19AM
Pegulas Punt on responsibility
Ewe so it’s so nasty having to work for a living in the entertainment industry. Well then hire a football czar or president to run your club. Evidently you’re smarter than Polian or Coughlin. What the real issue is that you think that since you have a horseshoe in your hip pocket in the oil and gas industry you can apply that same logic in another. Well you’re not in Kansas anymore and it does take some high level planning to formulate a winning football team. So let Miss Kim run the club and hire Psy as coach. Now that’s entertainment. Then you could produce your own reality TV show sell the rights and make millions.
01/02/2017 8:06AM
A. Lynn
He got what he asked for. If this is the GREAT RESPECT everyone on the team has for Lynn, & he gets the HC job. BRACE YOURSELF.
01/02/2017 8:49AM
Arrow Down
Doug Whaley. It'll be years before the Bills even sniff the playoffs with this incompetent fool in charge.
01/02/2017 8:51AM
Doug Whaley should be sent out the door...............
Along with E.J. and Sammy (Always hurt) Watkins. When Cardale needed his help, the TV folks show Watkins walking to the dressing room (yet another "injury") waving to fans, having a grand old time. This team goes NO WHERE as long as Whaley is the GM and Brandon is in the background. they should trade Watkins to the NFC for what they can get.
01/02/2017 9:50AM
waste of time to complain
01/02/2017 10:13AM
Arrows up? Are you kidding me? The Bills and Sabres are both embarrassing and a disgrace to the leagues in which they play and to the loyal and long suffering fans in Buffalo. Does either organization have even the remotest idea of what good management is? I suspect not and that includes the utterly clueless Pegulas. You thought Ralph Wilson was losing it in latter years - well this couple never had it in the first place. Rex Ryan must be laughing himself silly. The Bills last game of the season demonstrated that the ineptitude displayed on the field was not solely the result of bad coaching. He will find work elsewhere. As for Manuel and the interim coach, start looking for a new profession. Might I suggest basket weaving? Now to search for pro teams in both sports that actually get know, the concept of actually trying to put out a good product.
01/02/2017 10:24AM
The no penalty stat
As usual, a great analysis but I beg to differ on the "Wow no penalty" arrow up. The lack of penalties in a way, ironically highlights the lack of effort and how with the firing of Rex Ryan and the benching of Tyrod Taylor, the team was lost. Ill conceived moves, throwing AL into an untenable and unfair position for his first game.
01/02/2017 10:27AM
The More Things Change....?
Sal, If things are just "staying the same" shouldn't we be demanding change at the top? Your entire article lays the foundation for Whaley to be axed yet you fail to reach that conclusion.
01/02/2017 10:30AM
Wonderlic, Marcel Darious & Doug Whaley
Reports are the Marcel is a 5 and Doug Whaley is a 6. Read on from Bart Scott: Scott noted that Dareus was suspended for the first four games of this season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. “Instead of reading his playbook, he was too busy lighting up,” Scott said. “Are you serous? First of all, I’ve been in this system my entire career. Eleven years, I’ve been in this system. As a defensive lineman, you only have like four [or five] fronts. Man, if you can’t remember five fronts, I don’t know what to tell you, bro. We can’t put the playbook in crayon.”
01/02/2017 10:33AM
How about
Lynn, Bradley and Chip Kelly (OC)?
01/02/2017 10:35AM
Wonderlic Crayons = Buffalo Bills
As in a dumb team because they draft dumb players because even the guys in the front office are rock heads. I heard next years play book will be color by numbers. Bart Scott is right on. Ever here some of these guys talk? What he say what he say?
01/02/2017 10:42AM
Typical Family Owned Small Business
Ever work for a nonunion family owned small business. They will make the Kardashians look brilliant Take a look at the two behind the curtain. This team has all the signs of meddling owners who are clueless but love the power and the control they have over others. Trouble is they have kids that they will have to answer to. The kids will straighten mommy and daddy out!
01/02/2017 10:53AM
If this was an audition for him and it was his job to lose then in my opinion and many other Western New York fans he lost the job. This was one of the worst efforts by a Bills team since the Kay Steven's era. This team lacks discipline, heart and coaching. Lynn is not the answer nor is Whaley the answer for a GM. Commentators on all the networks have stated that Whaley is going to hurt the coaching search and some can not believe he is still in the GM position with the poor picks he has made. It is time for an overhaul if a quality team can't be fielded with a competent coaching staff then it is time to save my money and utilize it on other events other then Bills games. The Bills and Sabres are quickly becoming the joke of the NFL and NHL and the people of Western New York deserve better!
01/02/2017 11:03AM
Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test & TYROD TAYLOR
Wonderlic score of 10 equals that the player is literate. Average NFL player is 20. Tyrod at 15 is the worst quarterback score among all 32 starting quarterbacks. That alone would explain his inability to read the defense and set the play. Also would explain his inability to release the ball to a wide open receiver. Wonderlic measures your cognative ability I really like him but the facts are the facts.
01/02/2017 11:06AM
The big picture is
the Bill's are a dumpster fire. No established, reputable, coach would even consider signing here. No QB, underachieving 'Stars', and an upper hierarchy that survives by throwing head coaches under the bus via 'Leaks' when results don't match the hype. Call Roman for his perspective on assistant's survival ratings. The great hope of all franchises, the draft, has been of little help but the clown in charge remains - Whaley. Don't believe me, ask Ryan how much help he received in his 31 games. No first rounder in year one and his second draft class should apply for Medicare. Word of warning to all candidates - get everything in writing - and you may reach 32 games!
01/02/2017 11:36AM
Wonderlic Test Score Tyrod Taylor = Jim Kelly
I scored a 28 on my 1st try. Try it as it’s not easy as it’s a timed sample exam in the internet. Plus there is a trick to get a better test score but I did not use it nor will I say what it is as you will figure it out after 10 questions. Both guys noted above scored a 15. Typical NFL super bowl winning quarterbacks are in the middle 20’s to 30’s in score. That could explain Bills issue with Tyrod yet they did draft EJ and for what reason. Cardale Jones scored a 25 on the Wonderlic which is equal to Ben Roethlisberger. EJ Manuel scored a 28!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
01/02/2017 11:48AM
WOW What a weekend.
Bills lose, Bandits lose and the Sabres can beat that by losing twice. Just a great weekend for Buffalo Sports.
01/02/2017 12:04PM
Does Losing In Buffalo Ever Get Old?
56 years for the football team and 46 years for the hockey team. Over a century with no championships and no end in sight. In fact, it is so bad that neither can even make it to the playoffs.
01/02/2017 12:32PM
That's what this team is, and what this entire organization should be feeling.
01/02/2017 1:09PM
Big WGR poll
Back in Sept only 29%of the people polled got it right in forecasting 7 or less wins for the Bills.33% had 10 or more wins for the Bills.
01/02/2017 1:19PM
In a way, it's a small blessing that if poor Bruce DeHaven's time on Earth had to end so soon, he was spared the infuriating and nauseating specter of the Bills' failure to protect the football on the kickoff the J-E-T-S recovered in our end zone for a gift-wrapped TD. But for the fact that I like and value Mike Gillislee so much as a change-up RB, I would say he should be cut for such an inexcusable failure that you wouldn't even see most high school players making! But Gillislee is a physical player, he typically plays his guts out, and he "might" have gotten his bell rung earlier in the game, so he gets a reprieve ... as for most others, however, any/all other players who FAILED to EXPEND FULL EFFORT SHOULD BE CUT and/or NOT RE-SIGNED (in the case of free agents looking for big paydays elsewhere). Two very basic reasons: (1) this ROTTEN ORGANIZATION needs to be GUTTED and PURGED from top to bottom (i.e., NOT "just" a head coaching change) -- GM, scouting department, and lazy, selfish, uncommitted and underperforming players; and (2) even so-called "good" and "best talented" players who REFUSE to EXPEND their BEST EFFORT (even when the chips are down on a disappointing season) are WORTHLESS "members of a team" (a team is only as strong as its weakest link), THIEVES who steal their game check, and are NOT TRUE "PROFESSIONALS" who can ever be relied upon ... they will NEVER be of the necessary caliber to deliver us a CHAMPIONSHIP (which is supposedly the goal, after all). Addition by subtraction, because their presence drags down a team when things invariable don't go well from time to time. In terms of pruning the organization, I wish the Pegulas would get over their love-fest with Whaley and recognize that HE is the person who built this team with selfish, mentally soft, unprofessional players.
01/02/2017 3:56PM
Motives behind buying the Bills must be revealed
Pegulaville has left the Bills with two options, be an eternal laughing stock in the NFL or sell the team to the highest bidder. In 7-10 years WNY'ers will have to decide to either build a new billion dollar dumpster fire arena or watch the team become a winner in a different city. The playoff streak will be over 25 years by then and my gut tells me that most fans will have had enough.
01/02/2017 4:20PM
THIS TEAM IS LOST...may day... may day...may day... we need help!!!!
I will go out on a limb here...NO playoffs for the next 10 more years and that might be too optimistic. Whaley, Brandon, scouts and dead weight players all must go.... a full Rebuild necessary or forget ever winning. Sorry to be Grim, but that's ourreality. Next year if what i say doesn't happen... 3-13. Year after that 4-12, year after that 2-14 and so on... enjoy!!!!
01/02/2017 11:18PM
If the lying Bills get rid of Tyrod Taylor
I will not be back as a season ticket holder, or any games for that matter, and neither will any of my friends or family. Anyone who thinks he is a bad QB should be locked away in an institution for the mentally insane. You are a menace to society. The reason this was another horrible season was because of the defense and coaching.
01/04/2017 2:15PM
@ If the lying Bills ...
How melodramatic. Buh-bye. Tyrod may not be a "bad" QB -- BUT he's certainly NOT yet a "good" one either. He is the best of the 3 we presently have, but that's not saying much. He is average (some good traits and capabilities, but also many bad ones) -- which means he may deserve a place on our roster going forward, BUT NOT at $30 MILLION next year against our salary cap !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The premise you're stating is slightly disingenuous -- it's not an issue of the Bills "getting rid" of Tyrod; it's an issue of Tyrod getting rid of himself by over-valuing himself and refusing to re-negotiate his contract into a more reasonable and salary-cap manageable one given his performance. Unless he does, he will fire himself because he will be treating himself like he's Tom Brady ... which he clearly isn't. That's simply fact ... and if you and your family/friends can't understand that, I respectfully suggest that you are far more in need of being "locked away in an institution for the mentally insane." You people are also in denial. Yes, the defense, bad coaching, and UNDISCIPLINED players across the board let the Bills down this year -- BUT SO DID THE OFFENSE, WHICH WAS INEPT AT TIMES. Tyrod does NOT "get a pass" (no pun intended) on this fair criticism, because he performed downright poorly on occasion and missed open receivers too. To believe that Tyrod is without blame or that he doesn't share responsibility for the failure -- and/or that he'd be the second coming of Joe Montana "if only" the bad defense and bad coaching hadn't let him down -- is nothing short of delusional.
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