SNYDER: Bills’ offensive deficiencies exposed in ugly loss to rival loss

Two weeks ago, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was running through the press box screaming with excitement following a win over Carolina.  After last week’s loss to the Jets, he might as well have just ran straight out of the press box and into a hole.

Once again, it was the same old Bills Sunday.  Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel was 19-42 for 243 yards and a touchdown in the 27-20 loss to the Jets.  But look past the numbers and the glamour that comes with the first-round pick.  Sunday, he and the offense were awful.

Watching the game was like watching a car wreck. As ugly as it was, you couldn’t look away.  There were a total of 27 penalties in the game, 20 on the Jets.  The Bills never took advantage, and that falls on Manuel, Hackett, and rest of the offense.

The Jets seemed to know what play was being called before Hackett even looked at his play sheet.  It was painful to watch.

But the offense is young.  Manuel is a rookie.  C.J. Spiller had a bad game.  They’re all excuses for what was an inexcusable performance.

So what if Manuel’s a rookie?  He’s a member of the National Football League and a first-round draft pick.  He’s not a high school quarterback.  It’s time to stop taking moral victories and shying blame away from players we don’t want to see blamed.

Manuel was not a first-round talent, but the Bills selected him with the 16th pick in the draft.  He was the first quarterback off the board.  Expectations are sky-high, and he doesn’t seem ready for them.

Manuel struggled to complete dump-off passes, often throwing them into his receivers’ feet.  And the streaks down the sideline?  He wasn’t even close on any of them.

Many of Manuel’s long passes were thrown out of bounds.  You can’t catch the ball if it’s out of bounds.  Common Sense 101 must not have been a part of the curriculum at Florida State.

But this doesn’t all fall on the rookie.  He’s a project.  He’s a talented football player with the potential to be an explosive quarterback.  Right now, he’s learning, but he’s not immune to criticism.

C.J. Spiller looks like his 2010 version, running east and west, instead of north and south.  He was of course injured in the game, but before getting injured, he averaged less than a yard per carry.

Stevie Johnson was back to his usual self.  His taunting penalty against Kyle Wilson was selfish enough.  But it came after he was interfered with and the Bills were awarded a first down.  He needs to think about the team more, and stop being so self-centered.

The only player who seemed ready to go and get his team a road win was tight end Scott Chandler, who caught five of six passes thrown his way for 79 yards and the game-tying 33-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

It’s early.  They’ve only played three games and if teams like the Packers and 49ers are 1-2, then there might still be hope for Buffalo.

Bills fans need to hold this team, players, and coaching staff more accountable.  The free passes need to stop.  Anything less than a win is failure, and the organization needs to feel heat when they fail to succeed.  That’s the only way they’ll respond.

Johnathan Snyder can be reached by email at [email protected]