Saints 47, Bills 10: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
ORCHARD PARK, NY – If you thought the Bills Thursday night flop against the Jets in Week 9 was rock bottom, think again. Buffalo was utterly embarrassed by the Saints on their home field in a 47-10 drubbing, their first loss at New Era Field this season. Back-to-back losses have them on their first losing streak of the season as well.
It was a struggle finding much good from this one. Here’s my best attempt:
Buffalo’s opening drive – New Orleans won the toss and deferred, so Buffalo started with the ball and put together a nice nine-play, 57-yard scoring drive. LeSean McCoy broke off a 36-yard run, Kelvin Benjamin caught his first pass as a Bill and the offense got all the way to the Saints 18. They looked like they were poised for a pretty productive day despite settling for a field goal. Nothing went right the rest of the way.
Nathan Peterman’s Bills debut – The Nathan Peterman era has officially begun! Peterman entered the game late in the fourth quarter with the Bills trailing 40-3 and quickly picked up the team’s first first down of the second half. Eventually, they’d turn it over on downs but he’d get a second possession to show what he could do and finished off a six-play, 75-yard drive with his first career touchdown – a seven-yard pass to Nick O’Leary. Peterman finished with more passing yards (75) than Tyrod Taylor, whose 56 yards were the lowest of his Bills tenure.
Penalties – Buffalo had eight of them today for 56 yards, which isn’t their worst penalty performance of the season. Still, many of them were extremely untimely.
Third Downs – Third downs were a killer for the Bills on both offense and defense. Buffalo converted just two of their 11 third down attempts and went three-and-out five times. Meanwhile, the Saints offense converted on 50-percent of their third town opportunities.
The Red Zone – An area where the Bills used to slam the door on their opponents and often hold them to field goals was a weakness on Sunday. The Saints were five-of-seven in the red zone. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s offense went 54 minutes between their two trips to the red zone, coming away with 10 points.
Tackling (again) – Can I just direct you to last week’s piece? Make that back-to-back games where missed tackles have been a major issue. It’s becoming a pretty bad habit for a Bills defense that was so good at the fundamentals early in the season. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram were human pinballs today.
The Run Defense – Marcell Dareus’ 300-pound frame was missed dearly along the defensive front today. Buffalo’s D-line was manhandled by the Saints O-line all afternoon, to the beat of 298 yards rushing – the most rushing yards the franchise has yielded in a single game since 2012. (Seattle rushed for 311 yards that season). Ingram, who accounted for 131 of those yards, had three rushing TDs. Kamara added one to go along with his 109 yards. Even Drew Brees scored on the ground as did third-string running back Trey Edmunds in garbage time. New Orleans was having so much success running the ball that they ran the football on 24 consecutive plays, from the 12:25 mark of the third quarter to the 4:58 mark of the fourth quarter. Hopefully, you started all your Saints running backs in fantasy this week.
The Offense – After finishing off a nine-play, 57-yard opening drive with a field goal, the Bills offense went ice cold. They ran a total of 23 plays combined over their next six possessions, gaining just 48 yards in the process. In the second half, Buffalo ran three plays on each of their first three drives, throwing an interception and punting twice. Their first first down of the second half came with 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter with rookie Peterman under center and the Bills trailing 40-3. Up until that point, Buffalo had gained just two total yards in the half. They finished the day with 198 total yards, while New Orleans tallied 482 yards. A truly pathetic performance.