Is this game a sign for the future of the Buffalo Bills this season? If so, the Bills are trouble. After a 19-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns (3-6), the Buffalo Bills (6-3) are still three games above a .500 record but are now questioned as true contenders in the AFC as well as the NFL.
In a game where neither team scored more than once in a quarter throughout the game, it was the Browns that had the better leverage. The Bills did not see their first lead of the game until the fourth quarter off of a Josh Allen touchdown run. That was soon lost after Baker Mayfield drove the Browns down the field and into the end zone with 1:44 minutes left in the game.
Even though it was the defense that gave up the game-winning touchdown, the offense has to be held accountable for this loss. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll made some questionable calls, Allen was not able to complete the long ball once and Stephen Hauschka missed two field goals, including the potential game-tying one in the fourth quarter.
What went wrong for the Bills today? The offense could not get going anything going, especially when they got a break. Affected through penalties and not converting on crucial plays is what ended up being a headline for the Bills.
The Bills were called for multiple penalties throughout the game. Lee Smith was called for two holding calls, Ty Nsehke was called for a hold and both Star Lotulelei and Jordan Poyer had cost the Bills a penalty each.
The lack of discipline played a role in the Buffalo loss.
Early in the first half, the Browns found themselves having seven…that’s right, seven different chances to score from inside the Bills’ two yard line. In a matter of that span, the Bills stuffed the Browns offense and did not allow a touchdown and caused a turnover to allow Allen and the offense to get something going. They went three and out for the second consecutive time.
Throughout the game, the Bills defense had made big stops but the offense was not able to capitalize to get the offense in the red zone.
The biggest missed opportunities for the Bills? Two missed field goals. Hauschka is one of those kickers that rarely misses on attempts. He missed two total, including a game-tying kick. Granted, he had to kick them both from a long distance away, but with his rhythm he has had since coming to Buffalo, it was odd to see that.
Lack of Player Usage
Today, we saw Robert Foster get more involved in the offense and it benefited the Bills offense early. After Daboll used him in the scheme for a little, he was never to be seen again come the second half. Instead, Andre Roberts would get a few looks but would not bring any impact for the Bills on both special teams and the offense.
Devin Singletary had eight carries for 42 yards on the day. He caught three passes for a total of eight yards. Last time I checked, when Singletary is heavily involved the Bills offense is able to move the chains more. Moving the chains sets up first down after first down and the Bills are put into scoring position.
Not using Singletary as part of the game plan has hurt the Bills in two of their three losses on the season.
What Happens Moving Forward?
No need to panic. The Bills are still in position to make a run for the playoffs, but they do not look to be anywhere near ready. This process is going to take time and the fact that they are at 6-3 with a second year quarterback, knowing the teams’ past history, this should be a good sign for the future.
The Bills offense will continue to be under a lot of fire as long as Daboll continues to call the plays. Expect these types of games moving forward with the Bills. They either win in a close battle or lose a heartbreaker.
-Brandon Ray is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the Buffalo Bills. Make sure to follow Brandon on Twitter at @brandon_ray79.