Monday, November 1, 2010

I gave you a "Chan"ce, Gailey.

Another Sunday, and another gut wrenching loss for the Buffalo Bills.  This time it was a game winning field goal by Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop as overtime expired.  Some people like to focus on the positive side of things, things like: "they're competing week in and week out" or "3-4 plays turn out differently and this team is 4-3" or "at least the offense is better."  Me on the other hand, I am a realist.  As Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said last week: "Stats are for losers."  The bottom line is, this team has the talent to win football games.  Should they make the playoffs? No.  But should they be 0-7? Absolutely not.

If you want to know where to place the blame.  Look no further:

It's obvious from watching this team that Chan Gailey at least sort of knows what he's doing when it comes to offensive production.  He's done something Dick Jauron could never do which is make players out of Roscoe Parrish and Stevie Johnson. And I will also give him that the team has been far more productive ever since Ryan Fitzpatrick was inserted into the starting lineup and Trent Edwards was released.  But that just leads me to my first point about why I am wary of Chan Gailey. 

1. At the conclusion of training camp Chan Gailey decided that Trent Edwards gave this team the best chance to win football games.  Since when has Trent Edwards EVER shown that?  I find it hard to believe that Edwards was that much better than Ryan Fitzpatrick in training camp; especially considering how well Fitzpatrick is playing right now.  You know, the guy with the #2 passer rating in the entire league.  Edwards was so incredibly bad he was benched after 2 games and then released.  But .... he gave this team the best chance to win games coming out of training camp.  YEAH ... OK.

2. At some point in time you just have to find a way to get your team "over the hump."  This is the 5th game this season that the Buffalo Bills could have easily won.  Miami was a 5 point loss that more than likely would have been a win had Trent Edwards not started (back to point #1),  New England was essentially losing for 3 quarters and we gave up the win, Jacksonville was losing 13-3 before we imploded in the 2nd half as usual, Baltimore, once again a just before halftime and 3rd quarter implosion leads to a loss.  Buffalo's defense basically held Baltimore scoreless in the 1st and 4th quarters and we still found a way to lose.  Which brings me to the worst loss of all:

3. Buffalo had SO MANY CHANCES to beat Kansas City yesterday and just failed at every turn.  Near the end of regulation, a great punt return by Roscoe Parrish gave the Bills the ball at midfield with timeouts to spare and about a minute on the clock.  Buffalo gets a 1st down and has the ball on the KC 43 yard line, 1st down.  Instead of just trying to get 6-7 yards to get into FG range, Gailey calls a pass play.  The ball slips out of Fitzpatrick's hands and is intercepted sending the game into OT.  Why are you even throwing the ball when you're just about in field goal range?  All you need is a FG to win.  It's not like scoring a TD there is going to get you 5 wins. Then, on the Bills' 2nd possession of overtime, Fitzpatrick took the team from their own 7 yard line, down to the Kansas City 44 yard line; essentially on the verge of Rian Lindell's FG range.  All they really needed was again another 6-7 yards for a makeable field goal.  Even in that wind Lindell can make that kick, which he proved later in OT.  Instead of just running the ball 3 times to try and get 7 yards (which ANY NFL team should be able to do) Gailey calls 3 straight passes, incomplete, incomplete, 3 yard gain, and then punts the ball for a net gain of 20 yards.  It's a roughly 55 yard attempt.  YOU ARE 0-6 JUST KICK THE FIELD GOAL AND TRY TO WIN. 

Chan Gailey showed me there that he was afraid to lose the game.  At 0-6 he was afraid to lose.  You will never succeed in sports if you play to NOT lose.  And when you're already 0-6, you're just compounding the problem.  Then, to cap it all off, when the Bills were given new life after Ryan Succop missed a 39 yard field goal, Fitzpatrick again took the team to the Kansas City 42 yard line, 1st down.  1:30 left on the clcok, Kansas City has no timeouts remaining.  Instead of once again running the ball, getting into Rian Lindell's field goal range and MORE IMPORTANTLY running the clock out on Kansas City, Chan Gailey again called 3 straight pass plays.  Incomplete, incomplete, intentional grounding.  Which in turn put Buffalo out of field goal range and forced them to punt it back to Kansas City, who then drove the field in about 1 minute and kicked the game winning field goal as time expired.  Why in God's name would you give Kansas City a chance to get the ball back?  If you run the clock out and attempt a field goal, you either win, or the WORST case scenario is you miss and you tie.  Instead, you gain negative yards, punt the ball back to them, and then lose the game when for the 3rd time in 15 minutes, all you needed to do was get anywhere from 6-10 yards and you probably win. 

The end game/overtime decision making was just HORRENDOUS by Chan Gailey and reminded me so much of the Dick Jauron era that I wanted to vomit.  I hope this was just a bad day for Gailey and the Bills and not a continuing trend.  But when that's all you've witnessed for the past 10 years, it's hard not to think the worst.

Jimbo, is NOT happy.

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