in Tampa Bay
of Points” Blamed for Bills Loss
again my faithful followers, it is I the one and only, The
Master Roscoe here again to give you the best sports information
in the free world. Two weeks ago in this column, I advised
on how the Bills would experience growing pains, especially
against teams with good defenses. As I predicted, the Bills
opened the season with an easy victory over Houston and subsequent
loss in Tampa. The Bills just might be the easiest team in
the NFL to predict: If they score 20 points they win; if they
don’t they lose. Sounds simplistic, but it is true—of
the 18 games that Mike Mularkey has been head coach, the Bills
have lost every game in which they scored less than 20, and
won every game but one (last season’s finale versus
Pittsburgh 29-24) when the score exceeded 20. The Bills don’t
win games 13-10; they only lose them by that score. This past
weekend they played a difficult defense in Tampa, could not
score, got creamed and came home losers.
Tampa, Buffalo needed to show the same aggressive start that
they did against Houston. They need to attack from the beginning.
This does not mean McGahee up the middle or short passes in
the flat. After a Tampa penalty on the opening kickoff, the
Bills began the game at midfield. The Bills need to establish
that good field position means points—they need an aggressive
mentality that puts fear into their opponents.
Moulds and McGahee are among the most talented position players
in the league. The Bills need to take advantage of this early
and often. McGahee has proven that his first half-dozen carries
go for little yardage, and similarly Losman needs to hit a
few passes early to get into the game. I don’t care
if the opponent knows this—just do it. Wade Boggs never
swung at the first pitch—everyone knew—but he
collected 3,000 hits and went to the Hall of Fame. Throw a
quick screen to Molds, air one deep to Evans, maybe run a
pattern to McGahee down the sidelines, whatever; just be aggressive.
The Bills need to dictate the tempo of each game. Three and
out is okay if we are aggressive; there will be plenty of
chances to run McGahee. After a few games of establishing
this the Bills can change things up, but for now they need
fast paced, up-tempo, offensive football.
the meltdown in Tampa, all is not lost. A quick check of the
schedule shows several teams that the Bills can put 20 points
on the board against, even with young Losman at quarterback.
This week, Atlanta and Michael Vick visit “The Ralph.”
Although I don’t expect a shootout, Atlanta’s
defense can be had if the Bills come out firing.
Bills need to be aggressive like they were against the Texans.
In Houston, the Bills came out in a shotgun formation with
four receivers. Although this was a little over the top, the
idea was sound. Atlanta has a very solid front line and they
will put pressure on and get to Losman. They led the league
in sacks last season and in week one put a hurting on Philly’s
Donovan Mcnabb, but their secondary is the weakest part of
the defense (yes, that is former Bill Keion Carpenter starting
at strong safety). My fear here is that Buffalo will come
out in an offensive shell and just “try to stay in the
game.” The Bills will likely “max protect,”
putting extra blockers in to keep the defense off Losman,
and play conservatively. This is a recipe for disaster.
is a loosely used cliché, but Losman is a gunslinger;
he works better in a “hurry up” style offense
than in the huddle. So long as the weather is good, the Bills
should use this to their advantage. Despite popular belief,
the Bills need to let Losman run around and make plays, not
keep him in wraps so he can’t lose the game. The kid
needs to go out and play. If he proves unable to handle the
challenge, then we’re screwed either way, and a change
at the position will be needed. If one lesson can be learned
from the loss in Tampa it is that the offense has to make
plays. This team cannot rely on the defense to win; the offense
has to share the load. If they change their attitude from
conservative to relentless they will reach 20 points more
often than not, and as The Master already told you, that means
Atlanta, the Bills face New Orleans in San Antonio. This will
be the Saints first “home game.” They may have
America pulling for them, but their defense is only slightly
better than FEMA’s disaster response and the Bills should
be able to handle them wherever they play. The next two games
are division home games with Miami and the Jets followed by
a road game against Oakland—the Raiders have the worst
defense in the league. Last year the Bills scored 20 against
both Miami and New York at home, and they should again. I
am certain they will score 20 versus the Raiders; hell, I
could score three touchdowns against the Raiders. The Bills
will not win them all, but to go 4-1 or at least 3-2 is realistic—anything
less should be considered a disappointment.
less and Kelly Holcombe should be the starting quarterback.
Or me, if they lose to the Raiders.