The Bills plan on winning games in 2010 by running the ball, working the clock, playing solid defense and excelling on special teams. It's a strategy that's as old and reliable as the game of football itself, and it has proven to be successful for many teams over the years.
On Sunday, the Bills accomplished half of their plan. Problem was, they failed miserably on the other two and lost to the Dolphins 15-10. Buffalo ran for a mere 50 yards and held the ball for only 23 minutes, negating the solid play by their other two units. QB Trent Edwards didn't help much either, as the team struggled to move the ball all game long.
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Outside of one touchdown drive where the Bills ran a hurry-up offense, the team didn't generate many positives when it had the ball. Eight of its 12 possessions lasted four plays or less, and only one drive netted more than 27 yards. RBs C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch combined for only 38 yards on 14 carries (2.7 yards per attempt), not even close to what head coach Chan Gailey envisioned from a pair of former 1,000-yard rushers and the team's top draft choice. Only once did a runner gain 10 or more yards on an attempt and Spiller (six yards on seven carries), who was dynamic in the preseason, didn't even gain one yard per rush.
Edwards wasn't much better. While his numbers were average — 18-of-34 passing for 139 yards with one TD and no interceptions — he did a poor job of sustaining drives, converting only 2-of-12 third-down pass plays he attempted, including three sacks taken. He did throw a 31-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 4th-and-11 play, capping a drive that saw the Bills work the clock instead of trying to drain it. But on a day when the Bills' defense held Miami to only 15 points despite the Dolphins having the ball for nearly 14 minutes more than Buffalo, the one big play was not enough.
"We played well enough to win in a lot of areas, but offensively we didn't play well enough and that's my responsibility," Gailey said following the loss. "The quarterback takes the blame in this game — the quarterback and the head coach. We both understand that. We're big boys."
Gailey was honorable to shoulder the blame, but he'll soon realize that unless his players execute the team's strategy more effectively, he won't have any choice but to make some changes.