Game 4: Bills Lose Tough One 16-14
Team Fails To Finish A Game Once Again.
by Steve Saslow
This game was eerily similar to the other three. The Bills had a chance to win it in the final minutes but once again failed to finish the game and are now 0-4 on the season after the 16-14 loss to the Jets.
To be fair, the Bills shouldn't have been in the game in the final minutes as the Jets dominated the game for three plus quarters. They did their best Bills imitation though, as they let opportunity after opportunity pass them by. As a result the Jets had just a 13-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter when they should have put the Bills away a long time before that.
The Bills played opportunistic defense forcing two turnovers in their territory. They were helped by a missed Doug Brien field goal into the wind in the first quarter. Brien would redeem himself by hitting three field goals including the game winning 38 yarder into the wind with :58 left.
The Jets failed to put the Bills away and in the process showed a lack of respect for the Bills offense. Evidence of that was the conservative game plan. The Jets settled for a field goal just before the half instead of going for the touchdown. They also settled for field goals in the third and fourth quarters and punted once on a 4th and 1 in Buffalo territory. They just figured 13 points was good enough against the Bills offense, it turns out it wasn't.
The second Jets turnover gave the Bills the momentum that they were lacking the whole game. Pennington was under pressure when he let an ill advised throw go that was picked off by Jeff Posey. That was a huge play because the Jets were looking for another field goal that would have put the game out of reach.
The Bills offense came alive as Drew Bledsoe methodically moved the ball down the field with short passes. Then on a third and nine play Willis McGahee took a pitch outside around the blitz and rumbled 21 yards for a first down. On the next play Bledsoe hit another forgotten man, Mark Campbell in the middle of the end zone for a touchdown.
The defense than forced a three and out and then it took the Bills only two plays to take the lead. Bledsoe hit rookie Lee Evans for a 46 yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-13. The offense, that scored three touchdowns in their first 15 quarters of football scored two in three minutes.
Of course, the way the season has been going you just knew the Bills would not be able to finish the game and they couldn't. Chad Pennington moved the ball right down the field with the short passing game and Brien hit the winning kick. The Bills did not give up moving the ball to the Jets 48 before a sack, an incompletion and a picked off hail mary ended the game.
There were some positive signs as the Bills were given up for dead midway through the fourth quarter and did battle back and almost steal the game. Of course, they aren't good enough to steal games. They don't have the mental toughness to steal games. When push comes to shove they seem to always give up the big play at the absolute worst time. They like to think they have an elite defense. What they have is a good defense. An elite defense would not give up game winning scoring drives twice in the first four games in the final minutes. We all know the shortcomings of this offense but if this was an elite defense the team would be 2-2 at the very least.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Jets: