The Bills are a tale of two defenses. They are a ball hawking, pass rushing shutdown unit at home. On the road, they are perhaps the worst defense in the league. After allowing only 10 points in the 1st quarter all year, they gave up two long touchdown drives in the opening stanza against the Chargers and things went downhill from there. San Diego rolled to a 48-10 rout that dashes the Bills fading playoff hopes.
We knew the defense was a sieve against the run but we didn't expect was that the pass defense would absolutely collapse and leave big gaping holes in the secondary for lots of yardage through the air. It was total domination as the Bills seemed to still be on east coast time.
It was obvious that it was going to be a bad game when the Chargers got 51 yards on their first two offensive plays. They did not stop as the Bills concentrated on LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees had a career day. He was able to pick and choose among wide open receivers all day long. The first drive ended with a Tomlinson touchdown on fourth down from the one. The second one ended with a 27 yard TD pass to a wide open Gates. In between the Bills had a field goal as their best two plays came on special teams. A 42 yard kick return by the gimpy but game Terrence McGee and a 53 yard field goal by Rian Lindell.
The Chargers were finally stopped but only because of a dropped pass by Gates. He must have caught the dropsies from Josh Reed who dropped a pass in the end zone on the opening possession and a nice on the run pass by J.P. Losman on the second series, hampering the offensive attack that showed some signs of poise early by Losman.
The Chargers were up 14-3 after one, and put the game away before halftime. A 23 yard touchdown pass to a wide open Eric Parker as Nate Clements was burned badly made it 21-3. All three touchdown drives were 70 yards or more. A Willis McGahee fumble setup another score. Lorenzo Neal beat London Fletcher on a play action pass on fourth and one to make it 28-3 and the rout was on but the half wasn't over yet.
The Bills final got a good drive as Losman ran for 30 yards setting up a 2 yard touchdown pass to Daimon Shelton. There was a negative in that positive drive though. Losman spiked the ball with 1:30 to go after his run. The ensuing touchdown gave the Chargers enough time to go 83 yards in just six plays in :46 to a 29 yard touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell to make the score 35-10 at the half.
How bad was the first half?
- The Bills were out gained 314-73 total yards.
- Drew Brees threw for 265 yards on 21 of 24 passing.
- So called lockdown corner Nate Clements played the worst half of his career. He was beat for two long touchdowns and was playing soft on countless other plays.
- On offense the Bills turned the ball over once and gained just 28 yards through the air.
- The Chargers held the ball for nearly 22 of the 30 first half minutes.
The second half was just waiting for the inevitable result and begging for a merciful ending to the pathetic game. The Chargers added two third quarter field goals thanks to an 11 play, 75 yard drive and a Losman interception to go up 41-10.
The team did a good job of keeping Tomlinson at bay, that is because Brees was busy killing them. The run defense didn't have a good game though, Tomlinson's backup, Michael Turner gained 39 yards in 7 plays to an insult added to injury touchdown to give the Chargers a whopping 48 points.
Offensively, they couldn't score in the second half as the Chargers teed off on Losman, attacking on every play as the Bills tried to throw downfield a lot, completing only one, a 42 yarder to Lee Evans. That got within scoring range twice in the final quarter but came away empty both times.
Nobody really expected the Bills to win in San Diego but it was very disheartening that they didn't even show up. Why did they waste their money even flying out West? A high school team could have done a better job. It was a pathetic performance that should show management that this team needs to be overhauled in the off season. Losman showed some signs of life but he also struggled. The defense is old, tired, and just plain bad, a total rebuilding project is needed on that side of the ball. Why am I looking at next season already? Because this season is over.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Chargers: