Sunday, when the Buffalo Bills needed their head coach the most, Chan Gailey let them down. Gailey made decisions like a man who was afraid to lose not trying desperately to win. The result was a mind numbing 15-12 loss to a very average St. Louis Rams team that all but officially eliminated the Bills from any chance at a playoff run. The Bills are just not talented enough, experienced enough or resilient enough to play it safe yet the man in change keeps operating in that manner. What we are left with is a Bills team that shrinks as the moment gets bigger and enough season of immense disappointment
Some decisions are debatable, like going for it on 4th down or kicking a field goal. But the overall strategy to limit CJ Spiller's touches is the single most frustrating element of Bills football that I have seen in the last 15 years. No NFL defense does a better job of slowing down Spiller than the Bills offense. Is is really physically possible that this spectacular athlete is "winded" after a 15 yard carry? Gailey also says it is Fred's turn, like this was a CYO game and we were handing out orange slices at halftime. Adrian Petersen of the Vikings is less than a year removed from major knee surgery and he destroys defenses with no limits. Yet the one guy on this offense that actually scares the opponent stands on the sideline at the biggest moments of the games. This franchise cries out for difference making players and then they get one and don't know how to use him.
The easiest thing to do with an in game time decision is to look at the result and make a judgment. But I disliked Gailey's call to punt the ball from the 35 in the 4th quarter both before and after the punt team downed the ball inside the 5. I think that is the perfect place on the field to go for the first down and try to put the Rams away. And if you don't go with the second best option, the field goal, then cut Rian Lindell if he can't attempt a 52 yard field goal.
The Bills players are so desperate to be led that you can actually hear it in their voices after the game. They need a head coach who either believes in them or fakes it until they make it. They need a sharp, decisive boss on the sidelines who dictates to the opposition instead of taking what is given to him. Gailey has not publicly lost this team yet, but they have to be having doubts just like you do.
I know the fans are smart enough to know that every head coach gets better when he has a franchise quarterback. No one is expecting Chan Gailey to win the Super Bowl with Ryan Fitzpatrick at qb. But we are talking about beating the Rams and Titans at home. We are talking about getting the most out of the players that are actually on this roster. We are talking about making the playoffs without having to beat a single quality team all year. Yes the Bills could have finished 9-7 without beating a good team. Is that so much to ask? That is where Gailey has let down the fans