– Matt Haring
The game that we deserved. Throughout the course of the game I had to splash cold water on my face to make sure I wasn’t having flashbacks to an August preseason game. I had my texted a few of my friends asking if they wanted to head to the beach after the game, but they reminded me it was late December.
1) Right side of the offensive line
The absolute tire fire on the right side of the offensive has never been more obvious than it was today. Tyrod Taylor was running for his life, and took quite a beating from the Cowboys defense all day. Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito have done a fantastic job all season on the left side, but John Miller and whomever is playing at right tackle have been horrendous. Most recently it has been Jordan Mills turn to join in on the fun. All of this leads to questions about Cyrus Kouandjio and how he could possibly not be an upgrade to Jordan Mills, but at this point his development must still not be at a point that the coaching staff is comfortable with. RG John Miller did leave the game with an ankle injury, and was replaced by Kraig Urbik in the 4th quarter.
Fixing the right tackle position should be one of the highest items of the priority list this offseason unless the coaching staff feels Henderson and Kouandjio can continue to grow, which doesn’t appear to be the case at this point. Free agency would be my preferred method of addressing offensive line. There’s a serious shortage of NFL ready offensive line talent coming in from college due to the nature of spread offenses.
2) Gillislee is Goodislee
Excuse my horrible title. If there’s one position the Bills don’t have to spend any time on this offseason, it’s running back. We know what Lesean McCoy can do, we’ve seen Karlos Williams provide a bruising change of pace, and most recently we’ve seen that Mike Gillislee can provide a big spark. With touchdown runs of 60 and 50 yards in consecutive weeks, it’s safe to say Gillislee has earned a spot on the team next year.
3) Other fill-ins fail to impress
With the rash of injuries in recent weeks, there was a chance for younger players to step up and make impact while filling in at their respective positions. One player I was particularly intrigued by was 7th round draft pick Dez Lewis, who was called up to the active roster this week. Lewis played sparingly, and couldn’t find his way onto the field over newly signed Greg Salas. The 6’ 4” Lewis could fill a void in the Bills WR corps in the future if he can climb the depth chart. Chris Gragg and Nick O’Leary didn’t make much of an impact filling in for Charles Clay, either. The most notable play from the TE position was O’Leary slipping on what would have been a sure touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, Kevin Reddick and AJ Tarpley continued to get playing time while Nigel Bradham remains sidelined. Neither have played particularly well all season, and that continued today. Tarpley’s tip drill interception and forced fumble on special teams don’t change much in terms of his performance. Lastly, Mario Butler got the last minute nod with Ronald Darby out with a groin injury. As much as I’d like to tell you how Butler performed one way or another, I cannot in good faith give an evaluation of a defensive back while they are defending the hapless Kellen Moore. I’ll get back to you next week if Butler plays against the Jets.
All of a sudden, things have become mildly interesting in the season finale against the Jets. Fresh off an overtime victory against New England, the Jets now control their own destiny and face a win-and-you’re-in scenario. Poetic, isn’t it? The Jets coming to town to clinch a playoff berth against their old ball coach. It’s a story that will dominate the headlines all week, of course. Lucky us. The Bills won the last meeting in New York 22-17 on Thursday night. New York is pretty clearly the better team, but the Bills should be motivated to spoil the season of a division rival.