Indianapolis - (WKBW) Players said their playoffs began last week. They essentially ended on Sunday with the 20-13 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium. In a game the Bills had to have, they didn't have it. Not at Quarterback. Not in Coaching.
The one guy that did have it for the offense didn't touch the ball nearly enough. C.J. Spiller averaged 7.6 yards a carry against the Colts, but finished with only 14 carries for 107 yards. His lack of opportunities against a defense that had struggled against the run
was just one of the mind numbing problems coming out of the loss.
The Colts defense entered the day without the teams top cornerback available in Vontae Davis, but the Bills couldn't take advantage on a consistent basis. Ryan Fitzpatrick finished 17-for-33 for 180 yards a touchdown and an interception. He hit Stevie Johnson for a 63-yard strike, but missed on open opportunities down the field to Spiller and Donald Jones. His interception in the fourth quarter should have all but done the Bills in until Johnson forced the fumble. The Bills went three and out with a chance to tie the game at 20 after getting the ball back with under four minutes to play.
Add the Bills lack of production inside the red zone to the list of problems. Once again the Bills struggled inside the 20. The 1-3 performance on Sunday dropped the Bills 1-7 in their last two games in the red zone. You can put a lot of that on play calling. You can put a lot of that on Chan Gailey.
Gailey had a very tough day on several fronts against the Colts. He chose not to kick what would have amounted to a 52 yard FG
indoors and rather elected to punt the ball from the Indianapolis 34. Gailey said after the game that Rian Lindells range is in the 51-52
range, but that he decided to try and play the field position game. The Bills gained 23 yards on the Shawn Powell punt.
Gailey also grossly mishandled things later in the first half.
You can start with the Bills second red zone opportunity of the game. Stevie Johnson's 63 yard grab set the Bills up with 1st and 10 from the Indianapolis 17 with 3:15 to play. The Bills then went incomplete short pass right. Incomplete short pass left. Fitzpatrick scramble for 4 yards. 31 yard field goal. Not the way to capitalize on a career long reception by Johnson.
The next Bills drive was even more mind numbing. After the defense held, the offense got the ball back on the Buffalo 12 with :58 left to play in the half. The Bills went incomplete pass to Stevie Johnson. Incomplete pass to Stevie Johnson. Fred Jackson 4 yard draw. Punt.
The drive took all of :14 seconds, putting the ball back in the hands of the Colts offense with :32 left. Indianapolis drove 50 yards on 5 plays and
kicked a 50 yard field goal as time expired. Bills trailed 13-6 at the half.
The Bills had their chances in the second half. The defense couldn't get off the field on third down. Fitzpatrick's interception halted a drive that had the Bills at the Indianapolis 36 with a chance to tie the game.
Good teams make plays. Good teams find a way to win on the road. Good teams don't have to play out the final five games knowing that the playoffs are an unlikely destination for a 13th straight year.
I don't believe that blowing things up every three years gets you anywhere. I like Chan Gailey as a person. Gailey however will be the first to tell you that football is a production based business. When you are 4-7 in a year that was supposed to include a "big step forward", it's hard to call that production. We will see if he can keep his team motivated over
the final five weeks.