Week 12: Win and Move On.

Creator: Rich Barnes | Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time this century, the Bills will have back to back, non losing seasons. Sean McDermott stays undefeated post bye weeks. The Bills march closer to an AFC East title with Miami keeping pace. There is a lot to unpack with this incredibly strange game. 

Win is a win.

Ugly wins are better than pretty losses. The Bills could not get out of their way in the second half. Turning the ball over three times and constant painful penalties stymied the Bills chance to put the game away. But despite their best efforts, the Bills did put the game away with timely plays when it was absolutely needed. I spent too much time find moral victories in loses for years to ever feel bad after winning a game.  These Chargers weren’t your normal 3 win team. No team had beat them by more than 8 points prior to Sunday. The Chargers had been playing like a top five offense for many weeks, only to be held in check for most of the afternoon. Regardless of how it looked, the Bills won a two score game against a team that took Kansas City to overtime, ran with Tampa Bay, and pushed the Raiders. Good teams win despite their mistakes. Good teams find a way. Time after time, this team finds a way. 

It is okay to want more. 

There is a growing resentment between fans who are happy with any win, and fans who want more. Here is the thing, you can be happy with and win AND want to see a better performance. Bills are currently sitting at +17 point differential. Good for only 6th in AFC and second in their own division, to Miami. Buffalo struggles to land a death punch in game after game, their seconds half execution leaves something to be desired, and when turnovers come, then come in bunches. The Bills also leave teams hanging around too long. It came back to bite them before the bye, and could have bit them again here.  Most glaring, is the difference in this offense when John Brown is and isn’t on the field. To make a playoff run, Bills need to keep addressing these issues to make a playoff run. But it is also okay to bask in 8-3 with more wins against teams with winning records than any team in football.

(Over)Commitment to the run.

Bills ran the ball six more times than they threw the ball today. And it wasn’t ineffective. Singletary and Moss averaged 7.5 and 6.6 yards per carry respectively, for 172 yards on the day.  But that came with fumbles when the offense could have iced the game with a field goal, or even touchdown. Fumble aside, there were a number of second and long runs that a major no no if you are trying to play modern football. In every run heavy game this year, it appears Josh never finds his rhythm. This offense has played it best when the football is in the hands of Josh Allen. Running the ball has its place. But this is not a run first team, and Daboll should not force it to be a run first team.  

Defense continues to find their way. 

If we are passing around apologizes to AJ  Klein, Tremain Edmunds, and Taron Johnson, then we ALL owe a big fat apology to Leslie Frazier. Fans were clamoring for something to be done. Anything to get AJ Klein off the field. Anything to bench Taron Johnson. Both players have stepped up their game since then, but they are also being put in better positions to succeed. Klein has been moved all over the field from edge rusher to middle linebackers. Frazier has made sure  he is in spots that fit his strengths. No more covering tight ends, and more snuffing out the run and firing at the quarterback. In the second half of this season pass rushers are getting home, and defensive backs are holding on to interceptions. Frazier and McDermott are calling timely plays in big stop to keep the offense in the game. Shades of 2019, except with an offense that can score.  

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