Bills vs. Redskins live-blog
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • October 30, 2011 @ 3:42pm
Post-game—Buffalo moves to 5-2, and if Pittsburgh holds its late lead against New England, the Bills will be in a tie for first place in the AFC East after this week. Root for Pitt!
——————-Final, 23-0 Buffalo——————
:40—On 4th and 12, Beck throws the ball out of the back of the end zone, mercifully ending the Redskins’ day.
:54—Kirk Morrison gets in on a tackle as he pushes Beck out of bounds. Beck tries to hit Hankerson in the end zone, but Leodis McKelvin breaks up the pass. Morrison notches his first take-down as a Bill, as he exploited a gaping hole in the Redskins’ line. Nine sacks today for the Bills.
1:59—Encroachment on the Bills’ Kellen Heard. 1st and 5 now during this meaningless Redskins drive. Beck locks in on Fred Davis and launches a missile in his direction—Davis reels in the pass, makes two defenders miss, and rumbles down to the BUF 36. Thurman Thomas and Jim Kelly are both on the sideline.
2:10—Beck connects with Fred Davis for a first down—six catches for 51 yards for Davis, the only ‘Skin with more than four catches or 40 yards. Two minute warning; Buffalo leads 23-0.
2:48—The hysterically loud audio of FOX mics up Marcell Dareus, who grumbles an “Oh shit!” when Beck scrambles outside the pocket, then releases a tribal yell once he hauls down the quarterback just past the line of scrimmage. Amusing.
3:30—Mike Shanahan has never been shutout in his entire career—spanning 266 games. That’s an intense number. That streak looks like it will end today—congratulations if you started the Bills’ defense in fantasy football this week! Rian Lindell’s field goal from 41 yards out is cash—his third FG of the day—and it’s 23-0 Buffalo.
4:01—It’s very strange when commentators discuss their “regular partners.” It’s just not a comfortable conversation. Smith runs two yards off right guard out of the Wildcat again.
5:35 —Brad Smith receives the snap and pushes forward for five yards up the middle. When the offensive team is trying to run out the clock, the Wildcat makes sense because it eliminates the need for the quarterback/running back exchange. Jackson rumbles forward for a first down, and Buffalo will milk the play clock and the game clock.
7:12—Brad Smith takes the Wildcat on second down for a one yard loss. 3rd and 7 for the Bills from the BUF 40. Fitzpatrick fires a pass to Stevie Johnson on a quick slant for an easy first down—DeAngelo Hall finally pulls him down at the WSH 43.
7:48—Beck wildly flings a deep pass towards the end zone—Donte Stallworth slips in his route, and Jairus Byrd easily intercepts the football. To make matters worse for Washington, Fred Davis rudely grabs onto Byrd’s face-mask, tacking on 15 yards to the end of the return with the personal foul.
9:43—A screen pass to Helu nets eight yards on first down; he’s a shifty little back out of the backfield. Helu swings out wide on second down, too, reeling in a short toss to move the chains. Crossing pattern to Fred Davis—too much of a cushion by the Bills’ linebackers and safeties—and the former USC tight end takes the ball to the BUF 38.
9:59 —The total yard difference is 351 to 104 in favor of Buffalo. That’s pretty lopsided, huh?
10:17—Lindell is on to try a 44 yard attempt, and he clangs it off the right upright—Washington holds. The score is still 20-0 in favor of Buffalo though.
11:04—Fred Jackson tears through the line—just a yard short of the first down. The Buffalo offense is starting to fall apart though, as two men were in motion at the same time—now it’s 3rd and 11 after two consecutive penalties. Ball on WSH 26. Jackson’s hit quickly after the handoff by Brian Orakpo, and he can’t garner much yardage after the initial hit.
11:33—Kraig Urbik, who’s had a penalty-marred day, jumps offsides with the Bills in a Wildcat set. 3rd and 6 now instead of 3rd and 1. The Brad Smith signing really hasn’t benefited Buffalo whatsoever.
13:31—Innocent screen pass to Fred Jackson, who burns O.J. Atogwe (who took a horrendous angle) for a first down up to the WSH 25. On the ensuing first down, the Amish Rifle takes off with his feet and picks up five yards. Jackson plows into the line again for another four yards—this is the kind of play-calling I expected would happen earlier in the second half.
14:04—Fitzpatrick crumbles under the pressure from Washington’s front four, and former Cowboy Stephen Bowen hauls down Buffalo’s QB for a loss. The ‘Skins defense certainly hasn’t given up, but Buffalo’s offense hasn’t needed a sense of urgency, either. Fitzpatrick calls timeout.
14:52—George Wilson may have made contact with Fred Davis a few yards beyond the five yard limit, but he batted the ball intended for Davis into mid-air, then easily intercepted the pass. Probably not how Beck wanted to begin the fourth quarter. Wilson’s fourth pick of the season. Fred Jackson runs hard—straight into Chad Rinehart—but not after picking up a solid five yards.
—————-End of 3rd Quarter, 20-0 Buffalo—————-
:08—Torain snags a short pass over the middle, but to start the fourth quarter, Washington will grapple with a third and 4.
1:04—Perfect throw on 3rd and 4 from Beck to Terrence Austin on the left sideline—good sharp cut on the out route, and Terrence McGee and Jairus Byrd couldn’t react in time to Beck’s snap throw. Beck, an older rookie when he came out of BYU in 2007, is very errant on his next throw to the sideline.
1:42—Justin Rogers sprints down the field quickly to cover Moorman’s punt, but a rather fortunate bounce for Washington sends the ball into the end zone. The ‘Skins start from their 20, and Dwan Edwards pummels Beck after a six yard completion to pass interference.
3:01—Fitzpatrick is sacked by Kendrick Gholston, and Andy Levitre got away with a pretty obvious hold. He hooked the outside pass-rusher—I think it was Orakpo. 3rd and 14 from the BUF 39. Quick crossing pattern to Brad Smith doesn’t result in nearly enough yardage for the first down, and Moorman will punt again. I’m a little surprised we didn’t see more of Fred Jackson on that drive.
3:44—Yahoo! has split the sack between Dwan Edwards and Marcell Dareus. Will we see Rex Grossman take the next snaps for Shanahan’s club? Troy Aikman, always standing up for his fellow QBs, says there’s “really not much that Beck can do” to avoid these sacks.
3:44—Beck barely avoids sack number seven, as Dareus dragged him down just beyond the line of scrimmage. Still, the ‘Skins failed miserably on fourth down, and Buffalo takes the ball back at its own 44. Beck has exhibited Trent Edwards-like pocket presence—a rare ability held by few QBs that still hold NFL starting jobs.
4:14—Spencer Johnson makes his second big play in the last two series. After bringing down Ryan Torain in the backfield earlier, Johnson ripped Beck to the turf for a nine yard loss. Sixth sack on the game. In a prevent defense, Beck finds Gaffney over the middle for 16. 4th and 4 for the ‘Skins, and they’ll go for it. Desperation mode.
5:15—UB Spectrum writer Aaron Mansfield noted via Facebook that there is a sprinkling of empty seats at the Air Canada Centre, and that the arena is roughly 75% full. Tickets are just so pricy up there! Beck overthrows Anthony Armstrong on first down—Beck doesn’t throw what you’d call an “accurate” deep ball.
5:15—Brandon Banks returns the punt 22 yards to midfield. The Redskins, desperate for their first points, must start attacking downfield on this drive. Three scores is considerable ground to make-up, and the futility of their offense so far is unbearable. I doubt the Canadian audience approves.
7:02—No, Thom Brennaman, Ryan Fitzpatrick looks very little like Zach Galifinakis. Oh wow, FOX, men have beards?! They must all look identical! Spiller loses two and Jackson loses four, so it’s 3rd and 16 from the BUF 24. An intermediate route to David Nelson is complete but six yards shy of the first down marker. Brian Moorman makes a rare appearance today to boot the ball back to Washington.
7:45—As much as I’ve never liked him as a player, the Redskins are dearly missing Santana Moss, who’s out after left hand surgery. Aside from super-raw Leonard Hankerson, a speedy but confused wideout from Miami, there’s no one to stretch the Bills’ defense. This is a major reason why Ryan Torain hasn’t seen any space today, as the Bills’ defensive line has not only been exceptional, but Buffalo’s safeties have been able to creep up into the run box.
8:02—Buffalo only rushes four and still manages to sack Beck for the fourth time today—this time, it’s Chris Kelsay who brought Beck down. More pressure on third down, and Beck whips the ball into the ground. Another safety blitz blew up that play. Rocca punts back to Buffalo, and the Bills are cruising mid-third quarter.
9:21—Illegal formation on Washington, who has possession of the ball at its own 33. Fantastic run defense by Spencer Johnson, who was grabbed by an offensive lineman but still managed to pull down Torain by the shoelaces for a seven yard loss. 2nd and 17 now.
10:16—Fred Davis, seemingly the only dangerous member of the Redskin offense, cuts smoothly in his route for a short gain. There’s an off-side penalty on Buffalo, however, and Shanahan opts for 2nd and 4 instead of 3rd and 1. Beck rolls right and heaves a pass for Jabar Gaffney in front of Terrence McGee. There aren’t many sweeter names than “Jabar.”
10:56—Another Brian Orakpo GEICO advertisement? Awesome. At least this one doesn’t feature the caveman in a cheerleader costume. “I’ll take the bus, and you won’t be seeing me at the pancake social tomorrow!”
10:56—This may sound a tad obvious, but I’ve been really impressed by Fitzpatrick’s composure on third downs this year compared to last year. There seems to be a great deal more trust in Chan Gailey’s play-calling, and there’s remarkably little panic from the veteran passer. Sure, Fitzy may be a “system quarterback,” but he fits this spread system to a T.
10:56 —Perfectly executed surprise play-call on 3rd and 1 from the 15, Fitzpatrick drops back, sees Chandler isolated in coverage against London Fletcher, and lobs a ball with great trajectory for Chandler’s second score of the afternoon. 20-0 Buffalo, another drive that featured a big play from Fred Jackson. Is it too ridiculous to start the MVP chatter for Freddy?
11:45—Cutback run from left to right by Jackson earns another nine yards, and he only needs the most narrow crease to find room. At times, it seems like he creates his own holes. 3rd and 1 from WSH 15.
13:14—Fitzpatrick, on third and short, rolls quickly to his right, shortens his release and fires a ball into Stevie Johnson’s chest. First down, Buffalo! Fletcher again in on the tackle; ball on WSH 24. Jackson falls forward for two more.
15:00—After Gano’s kickoff is knelt in the back of the end zone. Eric Wood springs Fred Jackson for a 43 yard run off left guard. Ball on WSH 37, and Jackson runs the same play, this time for four yards. FOX makes the obligatory Coe College mention. When will they mention that Marv Levy went there too?
Halftime—Aside from the costly interception in the end zone, Fitzpatrick has been magnificent in his first game since signing a lucrative extension. He’s 14-20 for 183 yards, one TD (to Chandler) and one INT (to Fletcher). Buffalo’s D conceded only 61 yards of total offense to Shanahan’s offense in the first 30 minutes.
Halftime—The 46 yard pass to Jackson—predominantly yards after the catch—was the key play on the scoring drive at the end of the half. When you have one of the league’s elite tackle breakers like Jackson, the Bills have put the ball in his hands on 14 of the team’s 34 offensive snaps. It’s smart, as the Bills lead 13-0 against an impotent Washington offense.
——————Halftime, 13-0 Buffalo—————-
:21—Incomplete to Stevie Johnson on a low throw. 2nd and 10 from the WSH 24—a screen pass to Brad Smith is sniffed out by London Fletcher, and Buffalo’s manages to quickly spike the ball to halt the clock with two seconds left. An offside penalty on Urbik hurts a bit, but it’s a 44 yard attempt by Lindell, and his kick is true. 13-0 Buffalo as we head into halftime!
:29—Washington dials up a blitz from the middle linebacker, but Fitzpatrick is too quick on his release, finding Fred Jackson in the left flat. Jackson breaks Rocky McIntosh’s tackle and picks up another 30 yards after the catch—Buffalo is now in field goal territory! Fitzpatrick is shaken up after the hit by London Fletcher, and Tyler Thigpen is warming up rapidly on the sidelines. A rib issue, the FOX commentators suggest, and Ryan Fitzpatrick stays in the game.
:56—Five yard stop route to David Nelson is basically a glorified run in the spread offense. Fitzpatrick’s pass is too strong for Jackson on second down, and suddenly it’s third and 4 at the BUF 26. Soft zone coverage on third down leaves space for Stevie Johnson along the sideline, and he calmly grabs the ball and bursts past the marker. Buffalo uses its second timeout with 35 seconds left. Ball on BUF 31.
1:13—Washington settles for a screen to rookie Roy Helu on third down, and the diminutive back jukes his way for eight yards—still two short of the first down. Rocca’s high-hanging punt is spotted at the 20 yard line, and the Bills will have 80 yards to go with two timeouts left and 1:05 on the clock.
1:22—Protection breaks down for Washington, as Dwan Edwards dominates Erik Cook and pummels Beck to the turf. The ‘Skins pedestrian offensive line is making the Bills’ pass rush look more like the Steelers’.
1:55—Chandler’s not in the game, and London Fletcher steps in front of a pass—that Fitzpatrick forced in to Stevie Johnson—to make the interception. A bad, bad place for the Bills to turn the ball over, and Washington has life. Beck breaks contain and slides after an eight yard gain on first down. The clock continues to tick below 90 seconds, however. Ball is on WSH 27.
2:00—Expect Fitzpatrick to target Chandler again here on third down—plenty of attention will be paid to Stevie Johnson on the flanks, and the Bills’ TE has the penchant for lurking in open space in the end zone.
2:02—Third and goal from the 8 yard line, but the two minute warning stops the play. Big play coming up for both teams, as Buffalo can break the game open with another TD before the half. A Lindell field goal would be fine, but Buffalo can truly put a stranglehold on the game with another seven.
2:50—Fine route by Naaman Roosevelt forced Carlos Rogers to turn his body around completely, and by the time he recovered, Roosevelt had already hauled in the ball for a first down. The former Buffalo Bull has earned his quarterback’s faith. Mike Shanahan shakes his head in disgust, and it looks like he’s been tanning far too much, as his skin matches the Redskins’ maroon.
3:58—Fred Jackson sweeps right with David Nelson as a blocker in front of him—Nelson can’t find anyone to block, and Jackson’s stopped for no gain. 3rd and 12 from the WSH 31.
5:05—Jackson exploits a gaping hole and eludes LeRon Landry’s arm tackle, but the play is coming back. Troy Aikman doesn’t agree with the holding penalty on Kraig Urbik, but the call stands nonetheless. 1st and 20 for the Bills from the WSH 39. WR screen to Brad Smith gains a healthy eight yards.
5:42—Quick hitter to the right sideline to Stevie Johnson, who has plenty of time and space to turn up field and sneak past DeAngelo Hall for another first down. The ball is on the WSH 29.
7:15—1st and 10 Buffalo from the BUF 45. Quick slant from Fitzy to Spiller, who turns on the jets, crossing the first down marker before he runs directly into his teammate, Stevie Johnson. A jarring unintentional hit by the Bills’ wideout. Jackson creeps through the line on first down for seven yards.
7:52—Two of the three sacks can be placed squarely on Beck’s shoulders, however, as he held onto the ball for too long on Moats/Barnett’s sack and the last take-down by Dareus. He doesn’t look particularly comfortable in the pocket, especially when it’s collapsing rather consistently.
7:52—Beck shows off a little arm strength in a bomb downfield to Anthony Armstrong, but Jairus Byrd assists in coverage, and the ball lands shy of Beck’s intended receiver. 3rd and 7 from the WSH 17; Marcell Dareus smothers Beck after he pushed powerfully off his block. Buffalo’s third sack of the first half stalls yet another drive—the ‘Skins Trent Williams-less line is quite leaky.
8:45—Some rather no-name players have TDs in the 4 p.m. games. In addition to Scott Chandler, the Lions’ Titus Young, the Steelers’ Mewelde Moore and Cincy’s Jerome Simpson have all reached paydirt. Corey McIntyre sinks his teeth Brandon Banks on the kick return, refusing to fall for the fake pass and flattening the runner inside the 20. He’s an aggressive special teamer and bone-crunching blocker in the run-game—perhaps the most underrated Bill.
8:54—Lindell trots on to boot a 37 yarder, and it’s money. 10-0 Buffalo, as the Bills at least muster a field goal after the blocked field goal by Spencer Johnson.
9:35—Fitzpatrick executes a play-action bootleg on 2nd and 9, but Fitzy’s throw slips through the fingers of wideout David Nelson, a former undrafted rookie signing from Florida. On 3rd and 9 from the 24, Buffalo sets up a screen to Fred Jackson, but unblocked Keyaron Fox pursues well to drag Jackson down.
10:31—Buffalo faces a 2nd and 7 at their own 42, and Fitzpatrick heaves a throw down the left sideline for C.J. Spiller. Well-beaten, Josh Wilson is forced to latch on to Spiller—an obvious pass interference call. 34 yard penalty on Wilson, and Buffalo’s at the WSH 24.
11:08 —Spencer Johnson (not Dareus, who did apply pressure) raises his massive mitts to swat Graham Gano’s 49 yard field goal attempt, and Buffalo’s defense holds Washington scoreless after conceding the ball on Fitzpatrick’s fumble. Two sacks—half the total the team had in six games prior—sent the ‘Skins reeling backwards. Credit George Edwards for dialing up the safety blitz on third down, as Beck had no idea it was coming until he was planted in the Air Canada Centre turf.
11:48—Grossman spent a good portion of this week in the hospital recovering from pneumonia, so perhaps replacing the ailing Beck isn’t the smartest move. Beck remains in the contest though, and is sacked on the safety blitz by Jairus Byrd on 3rd and 16.
12:20—Beck follows up a heady play with a bone-headed one, as he’s sacked by Arthur Moats and Nick Barnett six yards behind the line of scrimmage. He should have simply thrown the ball away. Beck underthrows Anthony Armstrong on a crossing pattern, and Beck, the inexperienced 30 year old, bounces the ball short. Beck hit his thumb on the helmet of center Erik Cook, and he’s being attended to on the sideline. Rex Grossman is healthy and active, so we may see the erratic veteran shortly.
13:37—Washington faces a 3rd and 5 at Buffalo’s 26; Beck throws off his back foot again but puts enough gas on the throw to hit Fred Davis before the defender Florence arrives. First down for the Redskins at Buffalo’s 17.
14:27—Bad exchange from center Eric Wood to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the ball bounces loose on the turf. Fred Jackson tries to pick it up instead of falling on it, and Brian Orakpo shows good awareness in gobbling up the loose ball. Washington starts at Buffalo’s 30 with a short field after the turnover.
15:00—Corey McIntyre is sporting a sweet Halloween-themed mouth-guard with fangs. He was terrifying enough to begin with. Fitzpatrick finds Stevie Johnson on a stop route along the sideline, good for eight yards. 2nd and 2 for Buffalo from its own 31.
—————End of First Quarter, 7-0 Buffalo—————
:44—Fred Jackson is popped just beyond the line of scrimmage by reserve linebacker Keyaron Fox—2nd and 7 for Buffalo. Barry Cofield, one of the more underrated nose tackles in the NFL, clogs the running lanes in the middle for Shanahan’s club. Right on cue, Fred Jackson wriggles through the middle of the Washington line for six yards.
1:01—If injuries are a major issue for the Bills, they’re even bigger for the Redskins. #1 wide receiver Santana Moss is out 4-6 weeks, starting running back Tim Hightower is out for the season, and prized left tackle Trent Williams isn’t in the lineup today. At least the Redskins have London Fletcher and O.J. Atogwe in the lineup today, bolstering a defense that will need to be impenetrable if Washington has a chance to win.
1:01—Leodis McKelvin is draped all over Jabar Gaffney, and the ball ricochets off the corner’s hands and falls harmlessly to the turf. Poor route by the receiver, says Aikman, the FOX commentator. Spiller fair catches the punt at Buffalo’s own 13, where Fitzpatrick will go back to work.
1:07—Beck overthrows Hankerson by a good 15 yards deep down the center of the field on 2nd and 6, setting up a third down from the Bills’ 45.
2:21—Miami alum Leonard Hankerson, in the game in a three-wide set, snags his first NFL catch. John Beck did well to step up in the face of the pass-rush and fire a strike to his rookie target. Beck atoned for dropping the ball on the turf—no Bill was there to knock the ball free or scoop up the loose ball—on the previous play.
4:24—Pretty pass by Beck as he shuffled his feet in the backfield, connecting with Fred Davis to move the chains. At their own 26, Ryan Torain chugs for two yards off left guard. The burly runner was drafted originally by Mike Shanahan in Denver and is quite familiar with the zone scheme that Washington now employs.
5:07—The ‘Skins start at their own 14, and John Beck wings a pass in to Fred Davis, his new favorite target for six yards. The Buffalo Jills are in attendance at the Air Canada Centre! It must really be a home game.
5:07—Fitzpatrick is 4-5 for 62 yards and a TD, picking up his play on the team’s second drive with two throws to Nelson and the scoring pass to Chandler.
5:11—After scoring four touchdowns in his first three games, Chandler had become a forgotten element in the Buffalo offense over the next three games, totaling four catches for nine yards and no scores. He’s made his presence felt already today, though. With Washington’s back seven run defenders more committed to stopping the run than defending the pass, it’s no surprise that Chandler was able to slip into space.
5:11—Touchdown, Scott Chandler! Fitzpatrick hung in the pocket with plenty of time, and eventually fired to Chandler, a street free agent not long ago, for a 20 yard TD score. 7-0 after Lindell tacks on the extra point.
5:49—Fred Jackson runs smack into Adam Carriker, but he falls forward again for a few yards. The ball is on Washington’s 20 yard line, and Buffalo’s offense is humming right now.
7:01—Troy Aikman admits to never wearing his wedding ring while playing after noting that Fitzpatrick wears his during games. Aikman suggests that Fitzy may be wearing the ring for the first time, possibly a result of the big contract extension, but that’s simply not true. Fitzpatrick has won it throughout his entire career.
8:27—Jackson squirts through a hole in the left B gap, maneuvering to the Redskins’ 36. With five wides, Fitzy throws for five yards over the middle to Nelson again. With the absence of Donald Jones, Nelson has shifted from the primary slot receiver to a starting outside position, and he’s become a much more prominent part of the offense.
9:30 —Fitzpatrick fits a throw into a tight window—basically triple coverage—to Nelson close to midfield. 26 yard gain, the first big play from scrimmage today. Fitzpatrick inked a six year, $59 million deal on Friday.
10:04—Sav Rocca’s punt to Spiller is fair-caught, and Buffalo begins at its own 20 after a five yard “ineligible man downfield” penalty.
11:42—On third and long, Fitzpatrick rifled a pass to Stevie Johnson short of the first down marker—Stevie made the grab, but he couldn’t slip the tackle and cross the first down marker. Washington is on its own 49 on a grab by Terrence Austin, but they’ll be short of the first down too. 4th and 1, and the ‘Skins will punt the ball back to Buffalo.
12:44 —Considerable technical difficulties so far, largely “internet” and “CMS” troubles. Very frustrating. Fortunately for this live-blog at least, both teams went three-and-out in their first series.
Pre-game—The two weeks of rest, strangely enough, did little to heal the ailing Bills, as Shawne Merriman will miss the remainder of the season, tackles Chris Hairston and Demetrius Bell remain out, Kyle Williams’ foot hasn’t made much progress and Donald Jones is listed as inactive this week as well. Only outside linebacker Chris Kelsay returns to the lineup.
Pre-game—The 4-2 Buffalo Bills return from their bye week to face the Washington Redskins (3-3) in Toronto. In the fourth year of their five year agreement to play one regular season game in Toronto, the Bills are 0-3 north of the border.