The Buffalo Bills had very high expectations entering the 2021 NFL season. They had reached the AFC Championship the season before. They came out this year playing well, and had most people believing they were serious contenders to win a Super Bowl.
Following the Bills 41-15 blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts at home, it looks like it’s time to get back to the drawing board.
All of a sudden, the Bills find themselves in 2nd place in the AFC East.
The loss leaves a lot for Bills head coach Sean McDermott to ponder. Here are three key takeaways for the Bills after their putrid performance against the Colts.
The Bills defense is not as dominant as once thought. In the two games this season that Buffalo’s defense lined up against a tough, physical offensive line, they got blown off the ball.
In their Week 6 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Derrick Henry ran for 143 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Sunday, Jonathan Taylor rushed for 185 yards and four scores on the ground. Taylor also added a touchdown reception.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 21, 2021
The game of football might have changed in recent years to allow for passing games to thrive. But the battle of the trenches can still change any game. Until the Bills show they can hold their ground against a powerful offensive line, they will continue to struggle vs those types of opponents.
The Bills also need to be more buttoned up with the little things. They were flagged seven more times Sunday for 56 yards. The Bills have been called for the 4th most penalties in the NFL this season, as of this writing. Keep in mind, they have only played 10 games. Most teams near the top of the list have not had their bye week yet. Buffalo has.
That speaks a lot of coaching. Head coach Sean McDermott and his staff need to do a better job preparing these players so they are not put in positions where they might need to commit infractions. The players themselves also need to do a better job avoiding penalties.
Another important takeaway from the loss to the Colts is that quarterback Josh Allen continues to play inconsistent.
It was thought earlier this season that he might win a league MVP. Yet, Allen has hurt his chances significantly in recent weeks. He played poorly in the loss to the Jaguars and has thrown five interceptions in the last three games. The Bills need Josh Allen to be more consistent for them to take the next step forward.
The final takeaway from the blowout loss is that the Bills officially have a fight on their hands for the AFC East. As Buffalo has struggled lately, the New England Patriots are playing as well as anyone in the league right now.
The Bills are down 38-7.
A loss drops Buffalo to 6-4.
The Patriots are 7-4.
The Patriots are on the verge of leading the AFC East. pic.twitter.com/gz6yCKTihK
— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) November 21, 2021
The Patriots have won five straight games and are crushing every bad team they play. That’s what good teams do. The Bills, on the other hand, lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars a couple of weeks ago.
The Bills host the Patriots Week 14, and then will travel to Foxborough two weeks later. More than likely, the division will come down to those games. Assuming they split them, Buffalo currently holds the tie-breaker via divisional record. But there is a lot of football left to play this season.
Unless Buffalo starts playing more physically on both sides of the ball, it might not even matter.
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