Word on the Street: Meet the Bills

Word on the Street: Meet the Bills
October 25, 2011, 1:49 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comWith wins over the Raiders, Patriots and Eagles, that little engine of a football team from upstate New York known as the Buffalo Bills have shown they are not to be(think ofGlenn Close's inflection in Fatal Attraction when reading the next word)ignored no matter what recent history suggests.Fantasy football players know that running back Fred Jackson is tearing it up, but what else is working for coach Chan Gailey's 4-2 squad and what weaknesses can the Redskins exploit?Offensively, the Billsare scoring like Charlie Sheen during an epic Vegas weekend. Behind Jackson and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills are averaging 31.3 points (3rd in the NFL), 141.0 rush yards (4th) and 378.5 total yards (10th) per game. The all-purpose Jackson has consistently produced at an MVP level, though Fitzpatrick'snumbers have dipped after a hot start. Through three games, the Harvard alum tossednine touchdown passes, had a 3-to-1 TD to interception ratio and averaged 280 passing yards per contest.Over the next three games - the last two coming against the Eagles and the Giants - Fitzpatrick has thrown an equal number of touchdowns (3) and interceptions while his yardage output has dipped dramatically to 212 yards per game.Stevie Johnson paces a surprisingly effective group of receivers with 33 receptions (15th) for 332 yards and four touchdowns. I say surprisingly because nobody really has a clue who these guys are, or at least did not before they started making plays each week. However do not be fooled into thinking tight end Scott Chandler is a talent simply because he has four touchdowns. His fluky three-week stretch to start the season has been followed up bya trio games with a combined four receptions for nine yards and zero scores.(quick aside -remember when everyone felt bad for Lee Evans, the supposedly good receiver on a bad team whose talents were allegedly being wasted because the Bills passing game was keeping him down? Well, now that the injured Evans is sitting out for the Ravens and the Bills passing game has stepped up, maybe we had that one wrong.)Buffalo's scoring has benefitted greatly from a ball-hawking and opportunistic defense, one that has picked off 12 passes (2nd) and returned an NFL-leading three for touchdowns (insert your "imagine if Rex Grossman was still the Redskins starting QB" joke here). However...That level of production has generated several high-scoring wins for the Bills, but the defense's inability to slow the opposition when it does not create a turnover has allowed the other side to score as well. Since week 2, the Bills have allowed 23 or more points per game.Whether teams attacks on the ground or with the aerial game, the Bills defense gives up the yards;30th against the run (135.7), 30th against thepass (284.8)leads to 31st in total yards allowed (420.5). Both the Bills and their opponents average over 5.0 yards per carry, which bodes well for a Redskins ground game looking for a spark after two straight weeks of struggles. Then again, the Eagles and Panthers had little trouble moving the chains via the hand-off. Therefore,by the numbers, this figures to be a game highlighted by the running backs and it is the AFC East squad sporting the guy playing like an MVP candidate...C.J. Spiller was a top-10 pick by the Bills just last year. Now? With Fred Jackson's MVP level of successand Spiller's inability to shine, the former Clemson running back is seeing more and more time at wide receiver. (BuffaloBills.com)Sounds iffy that former Maryland sack master and Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman (Achilles) will play on Sunday (BuffalBills.com)Redskins RoundupWith Santana Moss sidelined, it is time for the kid receivers to grow upa bit. Terrence Austin and Niles Paul figure to be first in line. (Tandler CSNwashington)Losing streak seems to have a triple effect (Daly - Washington Times) Redskins need to stop the bleeding (Jenkins - Washington Post)So, you buying Beck as the guy? (Shapiro - CSNwashington)Redskins look like the young and the hopeless(Snider - Washington Examiner)Cool film breakdown of the Redskins offensive line (Hogs Haven)Breakfast BuffetBefore you check the Ravens-Jaguars instant analysis, let me offermine: if Rex Grossman was under center for the Charm City crew Monday night, they win that game. That is how bad the offense sputtered, that is how bad the quarterbacking play was. Wow, seriously, what happened to Joe Flacco? (CSNbaltimore)Here's a bonusthought to Redskins fans frustrated over the burgundy and gold fans: Watching Flacco's craptastic effort is more proof that finding a stud QB is not so easy. Just ask Dan Snyder If a non-stop texting 14-year-old girl managed the Cardinals last night in the World Series instead of Tony LaRussa, this wouldn't have happened (Yahoo)Orioles dysfunction is Cardinals success (Loverro - Washington Examiner)How stringent are the tougher academic standards for athletic programs being called for by the NCAA President? Connecticut, the defending college basketball national champions, would not be the defending national champions (Washington Post)