Merry Christmas to all our readers.
After studying most of the night for all the playoff scenarios, I’ve concluded that the one result we all have to root for is Kansas City beating Denver.
I know that seems like a an easy choice to root for, but I was torn on all the outcomes. You see, if KC loses, then we are tied with them at 10-5. We own the tiebreaker too, so we’d be #5 if Denver wins tonight. Denver would be 9-6. Or a few other scenarios would also give us the #5 seed. By the way, that #5 seed is so important because it could mean a trip to beatable Houston, rather than a trip to NFL-favorite Pittsburgh. But then again, the Texans could overtake the Steelers as the 3 seed, meaning that we prefer to be at #6. And I don’t want to go to Baltimore either, and they are still alive as of this morning.
So two things factor into all of that: #1, Let’s just make the playoffs and worry about rooting for certain seeds later. If Denver loses Sunday night, then we are in. That is the over-riding goal.
#2, We play the best team in the league next week, while KC gets a free win at doormat San Diego, and the Broncos get a home game against the Raiders and whatever QB they decide to throw to the wolves. The Denver defense will not, guaranteed, lose to some journeyman scrub QB named Matt McGloin. Derek Carr’s broken leg really really hurt the Dolphins.
New England has something to play for, and I have to predict that they will dissect the Dolphins D worse than Buffalo did. We may win, but let’s assume we lose. It’s likely that we end up at 10-6, so we definitely need Denver to lose once. They ain’t gonna lose next week, so it’s all on the line Christmas night in KC.
Among the items I noted yesterday from the Bills game, was yet another crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Jarvis Landry. Only this time, the refs missed it.
It was huge, because it was right before Andrew Franks’ long field goal to tie the game. After Damien Williams inexplicably refused to run out of bounds, there was a mad scramble to get the offense off the field while sending Franks and the FG team onto the field. Jarvis Landry was visibly upset by what Damien Williams did, and as Landry exited the field, he whipped his helmet off. That’s 15 yards right there. He was in the field of play.
To make matters worse (or even luckier that the refs didn’t call it), Landry then slammed his helmet onto the turf…all still while he was in the field of play. His hotheaded antics cost us 15 yards every game, and we are extremely lucky that the refs missed it. If they called the penalty, we woulda been at 4th and 18 and likely lose the game.
Adam Gase simply must get Landry under control. He is a liability when he cannot control himself, and he very nearly cost us the whole season.
Although Rex Ryan didn’t call his timeout in time, safety Corey White did. White, #30, was signalling for a timeout while Franks was lining up his kick. White signaled repeatedly, but the refs didn’t see him apparently. Even if they got the timeout, Franks still might have made the kick, but either way, the Bills have a legitimate gripe about that.
Gase continues to talk about all those passes as his way to get Matt Moore into a groove. The QB doesn’t need a groove when your entire RB corps is performing so well. On our first possession of overtime, we drove the field with nonstop runs. I know this sounds like a broken record to you guys, but the Bills couldn’t stop our run. So Gase calls for a long bomb to Dion Sims!? Huh, why? Needless to say, the pass failed and we had to punt again. Just one of the many many times over the past few month when Adam Gases calls pass plays when we only need a few yards.
In the 49er game, we held a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter, and we had THREE possessions in that 4th quarter. Gase called 8 passes and 1 run in those three possession. Each one of those three “drives” resulted in a three-and-out and ate up a grand total of about 35 seconds per drive. We had three different chances to put that game away, and three different times Gase called for passes instead of running out the clock. No wonder the 49ers came so so close to tying us at the end. That is absoultely inexcusable play-calling. It’s losing play-calling.
Hard to fault a guy who has us at 10-5 and on the brink of a playoff berth, but it’s easy to fault one specific aspect of his game: play calling.
Speaking of easy to fault, Damien Williams gets the dunce cap of the week for not realizing the situation when he stayed in bounds at the end of regulation. It’s sheer ignorance, and he needs a scolding.
If Williams and Gase are the dunces, then my heroes are Andrew Franks and Andre Branch. Andrew Franks won two games for us in the last 3 weeks with dramatic game-ending FGs. I don’t care how close they were, there is no greater pressure on a professional athlete than a kicker trying to win a game. So proud of Franks for once.
On defense, Andre Branch was all over, all day. In overtime, Branch was in the Bills backfield so often, it was as if the Bills invited him into their huddle. A great game from Branch, when no one else on defense did much.
Honorable mention goes to DeVante Parker for finally breaking some tackles. And to Bobby McCain. Why? On the Bills final play in O.T. when Suh batted the pass away, McCain was charging in on a blitz. He didn’t do much, nor did he get to Tyrod Taylor. However, McCain was disruptive enough to make a couple of Bills linemen go his way, which more than likely freed Suh up. If Suh hadn’t blocked that pass, I don’t think the day would have a happy ending.
And the final comment of this Christmas…Last week, we saw several articles about how Vance Joseph is head coach material. After watching him have zero answers and adjustments for the Bills’ offense, I don’t think we’ll be seeing those articles anymore…