Week 9: Cowboys Knock Off Bills 10-6
Pathetic offensive road show kills Bills again.
by Steve Saslow
The Bills fell to their second straight loss as the Cowboys hung on for a 10-6 win over the Bills. The road woes continue for an offense that stretched it's non touchdown streak to 17 quarters. The offense constantly was inexplicitly baffled by the Cowboys blitz package. They didn't have an answer for something that they knew was coming and had two weeks to prepare for. The defense bunkered down and dominated the game for the most part.
The difference in this one was two fumbles by Drew Bledsoe. The first one gave the Cowboys the ball at the Bills 24 and five plays later the Cowboys had a 7-0 lead. Quincy Carter hit TE Dan Campbell on a play action pass for a two yard score on third and one late in the first quarter.
The Bills offense would muster two second quarter Rian Lindell field goals to pull within a point at halftime. The second half the offense did not convert a single third down, and that is something they worked hard on over the bye week. Their one scoring threat ended on Bledsoe's second fumble of the game late in third quarter at the Cowboys 25. If he took the sack, Lindell could have tried a long field goal to pull the Bills within a point.
The Cowboys had gone ahead 10-6 on the opening possession of the third quarter as they used a good kickoff return to setup a 51 yard field goal that gave the Cowboys breathing room. That was the way the game would end as neither team moved the ball in the second half.
The Cowboys got two first downs in the final minutes to run out the clock as the defense was exhausted by then. The defense played well enough to win holding the Cowboys to just 10 points, one score was setup by the offense and the second by the kick coverage team. The blame for the loss goes squarely on the offense, or does it? The offense was painfully pathetic and one good touchdown drive would have given the team a victory. The defense shutdown the Cowboys and held them to just 236 total yards which would be enough to win if the offense wasn't the worst road show the league has seen in years. Knowing that, the defense actually needed to do more than just stop the Cowboys, they needed to make big plays. They needed to force turnovers. The lack of takeaways is eerily similar to last year's unit, as they have only forced one turnover in their last four games. They also needed to score, since the offense certainly wasn't going to do it.
While we are handing out blame, how about the coaching staff? They had two weeks to prepare an offensive gameplan for the top defense in the league and they seemed bewildered and confused most of the game. Bledsoe became as gun shy as Rob Johnson ever was in that familiar number 11. The offense seemed shocked and had no answers for the Cowboys blitz. They knew it would be coming, they had two weeks to prepare for it, and they had no idea how to stop it!
Oh well, the season is basically over now, and we have to live through seven more games before Williams, Gilbride, and most of the other coaches are shown the door. Then it will be time to start all over again on the coaching staff, and many changes will need to be made to the offensive side of the ball. The biggest change that may be needed, dare I say... Quarterback. Bledsoe has been below mediocre in his 17 games in Buffalo and New England may have known all along what they were doing in making the trade. Nevertheless, they have 7 games to change my mind, but the way they are going, things may just keep getting worse.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the game. Not surprisingly the goats are on offense and the gameballs are on defense and special teams: