ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — If the defeat against Baltimore looks familiar, it should. Ed Oliver thought so.
“This loss and the Patriots loss rank in the same category as far as two prestige teams, playing right there with them and, ultimately, coming up short,” Oliver said.
“That’s what really pisses you off.”
This game was the New England loss with a few more fireworks at the end. It even came complete with a six possession exchange of consecutive punts in the third quarter that put this contest’s fun level just above “toothache”.
I get his frustration. This Bills defense might be championship caliber. The offense? Not so much.
That doesn’t mean the Bills start a finger point contest. In fact, the defensive players were more stingy giving up divisive answers than they were against the Ravens. Something that was no surprise and much to their credit.
Long term, this team is still fine. It’s still great. It’s still a respectably dogged AFC playoff team that no one wants to face in January. That’s way ahead of schedule.
They still have gobs of money and nine draft picks to spend in the offseason. All the arrows trending up Sunday morning are still pointing northward.
They might be stuck, for this year, with an offense that isn’t ready to win big games. In the two games against the top AFC teams, Josh Allen went a combined 30-67 with 299 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a fumble lost. That ain’t good.
It’s not just on him. The Bills have allowed ten sacks in those two games versus 23 in their other 11 games combined. Allen takes some responsibility for the sacks, but so does the O-line.
After being ballyhoo’d as one of the top receivers in the NFL, John Brown has just eight catches for 91 yards in his last three games. That included a pedestrian as can be three for 26 against Baltimore.
Cole Beasley certainly picked up the slack lately, but could not make enough plays to get Buffalo over the hump against the Ravens. He even owned up to dropping a “dime” from Allen on a deep ball in the third quarter.
The point is not that the offense is deficient and should be jettisoned into the sun. It’s just not good enough to win playoff games or even championships right now. Since the Bills seem all but locked into a postseason berth, the eyes are getting bigger and the goals loftier. They have every right to be.
There are going to, very likely, be two more chances to prove the current pieces are enough for an AFC checkmate–in two weeks at Foxboro and in the playoff opener. The offense took a decent jump the last three weeks after a disappointing loss in Cleveland. It’s not pie in the sky to think it can’t take another.
Even if the Bills lose rockfights to New England and division winner X that are as uneasy on the eyeballs as this Ravens game, it’s still not a reason to panic. It just means Brandon Beane’s work is not done. It means the Bills aren’t a finished Super Bowl product just yet.
And in year two of this rebuild, that’s no reason for anyone to be pissed off.