Game Review: Bills – 2018 Week 4

Alright, there we go, here’s a game we can overreact to in a positive way. We’re going to the Super Bowl!

On offense, Rodgers is looking closer to 100%. He seems  like he’s getting closer to being fully mobile, but on that 10 yard sack with a few minutes left in the half, he looked like he couldn’t twist and accelerate on it as fast as he has in the past. He’s also still working on dialing in his accuracy. That could be because the knee is still tender, it could be because he hasn’t been getting a lot of practice in, or it could just be that the pressure isn’t on for him to dial it in yet.

I’m guessing the biggest factor is the knee, based on all the sidearm throws – that’s what you do when you don’t want to put as much pressure on your lead foot. The big positive is that he doesn’t seem to be regressing from a health standpoint.

Newsflash: Aaron Jones is the real deal. We’ve known that for a while. He’s the best runner on the team, truly special and dynamic. The reason he hasn’t been in is because he’s probably the worst pass protector of the bunch. All offseason there was chatter of how he had been working on that. The fact that he’s getting more snaps lends credence to that.

The play-calling looked a little different today, too. There were more bunch routes and some picks. However, they were balanced out with inside runs and flare passes on 3rd and long.

Another thing that struck me about the offense was how little I noticed Byron Bell. That’s a good thing. I think the kid has talent. I know he had some bumps playing tackle in the NFL, but he looked like he has all the tools to be a decent right guard.

Oh, and Lance Kendricks still can’t catch.

On defense, hey look: Clay Matthews got a sack without getting a flag! Actually, he’s been having a really solid season, showing up to rush a lot of pass attempts so far.

The guy I notice the most, though, is Jaire Alexander. He doesn’t have gaudy stats and he doesn’t have a lot of splash plays (except for maybe that game-clincher to beat the Vikings in week 2), but he is always around the ball, always covering tight, very rarely seems to be out of position, and never takes a bad angle.

That’s cause for excitement from a position group that has long been the weak link on the defense. Tramon still has gas in the tank, Jackson is looking solid in his snaps, Breeland is a strong veteran addition, and don’t forget that Kevin King is the best of the bunch.

The thing about Alexander that I really like is that he doesn’t get hot headed. Every week it looks like veteran receivers are trying to push his buttons (which may just be a reaction to his constantly-running mouth), but he never takes the bait. He stays cool.

Now it looked like he lost his cool on the Bill’s last drive before the half when he shoved Josh Allen during a scuffle after a play where the Bulls failed to convert a third and twelve. When I saw the flag, I thought Alexander was being an idiot and finally cost his team with his chippy attitude.

But he didn’t. The ref was staring at it the whole time, saw all the back and forth, and basically told Josh Allen to get up (because he flopped like a little b!tch). I don’t know if Alexander was playing the odds, knowing that there was some pushy-shovy and the refs didn’t call anything or if he just blew his stack, but after the savviness he showed in the preseason with the punt return rules, I wouldn’t put it past him.

I am liking him more every week.

The safeties didn’t make a lot of abysmal errors, which is more than we can say about the last few weeks. Actually, Haha came up with a really nice pick. Its been even longer since we’ve been able to say that.

It was also nice to see that the defense didn’t go into bend-but-don’t-break early and give the Bills a bunch of garbage time stats. They put the hammer down, attacked, and finished the shutout.

So the game looked great against a team that spanked Minnesota last week, what does that tell us?

Nothing.

Last week was a fluke. I wrote about it in my pregame article. This isn’t a good team. Josh Allen may be good someday, but right now, he’s just another example of why rookie QBs needs to sit, learn and adjust to the pro game.

This was a nice tune up game and the team starts to gel to close out September, but the troubling number of drops, fumbles, and near picks show that there’s still some more tuning to be done.

 

Self-Grading

Here’s a look at the predictions I made in the pregame column and how they panned out:

Rodgers audibles all day to make up for line deficiencies against a tough pass rush Hard to tell, but it looked like he pulled it off.
David Bakhtiari allows zero pressure on the blind side Oh yeah, Bak is a beast
Jimmy Graham gets 100 yards Only 79 yards shy…

Jaire Alexander comes up with another pick Oh yeah, and it was in the end zone… which is nice…
Oren Burks keeps Josh Allen’s scrambling in check Don’t know how much Burks had to do with it, but the defense definitely had a great team effort to keep a young, athletic QB from getting away from them
Clay Matthews gets a sack without being penalized Eureka!

Randall Cobb breaks a long punt return I’ll bet he would have it he’d played

Packers 27, Bills 13 Eh, close enough

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