Buffalo Bills defense can only do so much in defeat to Texans
Before the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans game this past Sunday, it was reported that Kelvin Benjamin said "No." to Josh Allen when asked if he wanted to practice routes during warmups by several notable media outlets. The more shocking part of this report is that the Bills offense actually tried to warmup at all before the game because they came out ice cold and were shut out in the first half.
The first two quarters were a true joy for those that like offensive juggernauts. The Bills drives ended on a punt, fumbled punt return, punt, blocked punt, punt and the end of half. The first half was highlighted not only by the inefficiency of the offense but a complete nightmare on special teams as well.
Ray Ray "I got my head in the" McCloud's fumbled the opening kickoff but the Bills were able to recover the ball preventing disaster. The Bills drive would end with a punt but their defense would get the ball back due to the youthful resurgence of Kyle Williams who had a sack and a half on consecutive plays. The Texans punt to the Bills after their first series on offense was unsuccessful but not nearly as unsuccessful as McCloud's attempt to catch the ball leading to a turnover and his second fumble of the day. This begs the question, "is it better for the Bills to not even attempt to catch punts anymore?" It might be safer at this point.
The Texans would make the Bills pay for the mistake when Deshaun Watson threw a beautiful pass to a well-covered Deandre Hopkins who made a great catch for a touchdown and a 7 to 0 lead for Houston.
After trading punts, the Bills once again stalled on offense. Corey Bojorquez was bull rushed by multiple Texans on a play that looked like half the blockers on the Bills line took a nap. The Texans blocked the punt and used the short field to add another three points to their tally for a 10 to 0 lead. They would make one more attempt to drive down the field to score before half but Jordan Poyer intercepted Watson on a pass he had no business making. The half would end Houston 10, Buffalo 0.
At halftime I decided to eat a peanut butter ice cream bar which pretty much tells you all you need to know about how I was feeling about the Bills, myself, and their chances in the second half.
The 3rd quarter started off with good fortune for the Bills as Lorenzo Alexander tipped up a pass and came down with the interception which was just the second of his long and storied career. Hard to imagine but it's true.
Buffalo was able to execute a few good runs on offense much to my surprise and all the sudden I saw something that I thought I would never see again -- 1st and goal for the Buffalo offense. They led with a four yard run making it 2nd and goal from the 4. Two incomplete passes later and the Bills settled for a field goal making it 10 to 3 in favor of Houston. The shutout is finally broken but what a wasted opportunity.
One of the best plays for the Bills offensively came when Josh Allen was able to connect with Kelvin Benjamin, who had finally warmed up, on a 39 yard play that took the Bills from their own 21 to the Houston 40. Unfortunately, Allen was hit from two sides on the play, hurting his elbow. He tried to stay out there but he came off the field after one more play. When he came off the field, it felt like a piece of my heart was ripped out. I began to ponder a second peanut butter ice cream bar but ultimately refrained.
With Josh Allen out, Nathan Peterman would get yet another chance to play starting snaps for the Bills. If Peterman performs just one more miracle, I believe he will be able to achieve Sainthood. The Bills would only gain five yards on 3 plays on the drive after Allen left the game setting up a 52 yard field goal for Steven Hauschka who nailed it to make the score 10 to 6 Houston.
The Bills defense was determined not to let the offense throw this game away. Harrison Phillips, the Kyle Williams mini-me, got tired of watching his "big brother" do work all day. Eager to get in the action himself, Phillips was able to pounce on a fumble caused by Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes as they were sacking DeShaun Watson making his big bro Kyle proud.
On the Bills next drive, Chris Ivory looked like he might have some room to run but he was pulled down by his hair from behind. This wasn't the first time Ivory has been tackled painfully like this. Last time, he was on the Jets facing the Bills in the below play. I think it's time for that man to get a haircut.
After that, Nathan Peterman threw the most beautiful pass a Bills quarterback has all season into the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to Zay Jones putting the Bills ahead for the first time 13 to 10. I couldn't believe it. The Bills were actually winning this game. How is it possible?
The teams traded punts but then Watson got the motor on the Texans offense churning. After completing three passes that gained over 10 yards on the drive, Watson tossed one towards the end zone. Phillip Gaines was called for defensive pass interference setting Houston up at the 1 yard line. Somehow, the Bills defense came up huge once again. They stuffed the Texans for two negative plays and then a false start pushed the Texans back to the 8 yard line. They settled for a field goal tying the score at 13 to 13.
The Bills seemed poised to drive the ball and win the game on a field goal but Peterman had other plans. He was desperate to throw a touchdown and couldn't wait for the Bills to drive down the field so he threw a terrible interception that resulted in a pick six by the Texans giving them a 20 to 13 lead.
Taiwan Jones dropped the kickoff but picked it back up before making little progress. Peterman had enjoyed the first interception so much, he decided to throw another one sealing the Bills fate. It was a winnable game to be had by the Bills, but the offense just couldn't do their jobs well enough to help out the defense. The loss of Josh Allen crushed the Bills but when your defense only allows 216 total yards and forces 3 turnovers you should win that game every time whether you warmed up or not.