By Ch2 Sports Director Ed Kilgore
Memories is a great title for a song in a Broadway Musical that I happen to enjoy, but memories need to be very short for NFL quarterbacks and cornerbacks.
Bills cornerback Drayton Florence had a memorable game alright, if you're into horror flicks. He was simply awful, and almost single-handedly helped Eli Manning and the Giants come away with a 27-24 win over the Bills in a game that resembled the loss at Cincinnati in several ways.
The return of cornerback Terrence McGee was supposed to be a good thing, right? McGee was simply terrific, and his game against the Giants only reminded us just how much he is missed. But his return made Leodis McKelvin the odd man out, and as it turns out, this was not a good thing.
Let me quickly say I think signing Florence again in the off season was the right thing to do, and he will bounce back from this. He's very physical and aggressive, and until the Giants game, had been a much bigger part of the solution than the problem. Two terrible pass interference calls on the game winning Giants drive put the Bills already overmatched defense in an impossible situation. Florence, beaten badly on both calls, didn't even turn his head to the ball, which made the officials' calls rather easy.
He had a third pass interference call earlier in the game, and, oh by the way, was torched for a 60-yard gain by Akeem Nix that led to a Giants td.
It's not all on Florence of course, because the Bills simply didn't generate much pass rush and didn't get a sack all day on Eli Manning, who is known to make poor decisions under pressure. Playing without Kyle Williams and Shawne Merriman didn't help of course, but this Bills defense is effective only when it takes the ball away, and that didn't happen once against the Giants.
Although the Bills offense hasn't lost a fumble all year, which is pretty remarkable, Ryan Fitzpatrick did throw two very costly interceptions. Both balls were well downfield when he had Stevie Johnson in single coverage, but Fitz underthrew both passes and the Giants Corey Webster made great plays to pick 'em both. The last one was a game changer, as the Bills were near field goal range late in the game with the score 24-24.
Still, you've got to love Fitz. He's smart, yes, we know that, but he's tough and a true leader. He'll win a lot more games this season and beyond, even when his o-line is banged up and his receivers are in and out.
One big reason for that, of course, is Fred Jackson, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Hopefully his 80-yard jaunt to the house in front of the Big Apple media will increase the national spotlight he richly deserves to bask in.
Ok, this was a tough loss, but at 4-2 the Bills are still in great shape with 10 games to go. We now know they are legit, and Chan Gailey is doing an amazing job with an offense that has exactly ONE first round pick, center Eric Wood.
You don't even have to have a good memory to recall how long it has been since the Bills were a team that is still relevant and a tough out for anybody at home or on the road. A work in progress, but the key word here being - progress.