CAPACCIO: Bills-Chargers: Arrow Up/Arrow Down

November 19, 2017 - 10:54 pm
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Disaster.

That might not be the only way to describe what happened to the Bills in Los Angeles, but it’s certainly one of the more accurate ways. From Nathan Peterman to the defense to injuries, it was an absolute disaster and overall nightmare. There are plenty of arrows to go down, but unlike last week, I’ll try to put a few together instead of just saying “everything,” which would basically be right.

ARROW DOWN

QB Nathan Peterman

An absolutely disastrous starting debut for the rookie quarterback. After one good pass to Kelvin Benjamin, who was hurt on the play, it was all totally downhill after that. Peterman finished the game with one more completion to his own team than to the Chargers defense. Five picks in all. Four in the first quarter! The first wasn’t really on him, although he threw the ball a little hot, but Patrick DiMarco had it go off his hands and into the air. But the next four were on him in different ways. Two wear a direct result of Peterman trying to do too much when he felt pressure. Another was throwing it into no-man’s land on a miscommunication with his wideout. A defensive back jumped the route on another one because it was clear Peterman was getting rid of the ball where and when he did. The final line: 6-for-14 for 66 yards, 0TDs and 5 INTs. Things really could not have gone any worse for Nathan Peterman and now you have to wonder how his own confidence is going forward - if he were to even start (or play?) again this season.

Run defense

It wasn’t the 300 (minus 2 kneel downs) yards they gave up last week to the Saints, but it was a carving up by the Chargers run game against the Bills defense that once again had gaping holes in it and poor tackling. 146 yards. That’s 638(!) yards given up on the ground by the Bills defense in the last three weeks. Over 212 average per game. Wow.

The non-coverage of Keenan Allen

If the score hadn’t gotten out of hand the way it did when it did, I wondered if Allen would make a run at some records. He finished the game with 12 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns. He had 9 for 123 and the two scores at the half! He was running free through the Bills secondary all day long. They had no answer.

Third down defense

When things are spiraling out of control on offense and you keep turning the ball over, you have to at least stop the bleeding a bit on defense to give yourself a chance. The Bills let the Chargers extend drives time after time with a 50-percent conversion rate at 7-for-14 overall. 

ARROW UP

RB LeSean McCoy

Shady got off to the tune of 114 yards on only 13 carries, an 8.8 yard per carry average. He busted off several big runs and found the end zone once on the ground and once through the air - on a 12 yard reception.

QB Tyrod Taylor

Taylor was in a tough position when he entered the game at halftime, down 37-7. But he was able to breathe at least a little life into the offense and played well, especially given the circumstances. His final numbers were 16-for-26 passing for 172 yards and a touchdown. He added another 36 yards and a score on the ground.

K Stephen Hauschka

The Bills kicker broke the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made from 50 yards or more away when he hit from exactly that distance in the third quarter. 

THE BIG PICTURE

Here we are again. A place we’ve been so many times before. A season starts and looks somewhat promising, maybe even moreso in this case, then it all falls apart by Thanksgiving.

5-5. After starting 5-2. Three straight losses by combined scores of 135-55. Even the most pessimistic of Bills fans, many of whom were quick to tell everyone this would happen and are now probably basking in their self-aggrandizing glory, couldn’t have predicted this type of collapse.

And now, on top of all of that, we basically have a quarterback controversy. And not because both players have played so well. It’s back to square one. All the big steps that seemed to have been made now appear to not only be wiped clean but that this team may have gone even further behind from where they started. At least that’s what it feels like. No progress. 

Now, for the first time this season, the Bills are no longer in a playoff position. Despite a lot of games falling their way once again this weekend this is what happens when you continually lose. Other teams pass you.

Are they still right in the thick of things and have plenty of opportunity to still be playing in January? Sure. And they even get a Kansas City team next Sunday that’s lost won one of their last five games themselves and are having plenty of their own issues lately. But why wouldn’t anyone think the Chiefs are playing the right team to get out of their funk and start feeling good about themselves again?! Because that’s what the Bills are right now - the team everyone else wants to play.

But it’s not over. Not by a lot. I’m just not sure if that’s good or bad right now.

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