Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Sep 2005

Spikes and Harrison Both Out For Season

With the early season struggles of Losman, this is the last thing the Bills need. The run defense has looked bad with Spikes in there, so I can't imagine where it will go from here.

Added 5pm: Not a good day for the AFC East all around, as WBZ-4 in Boston is reporting that Rodney Harrison tore his ACL and is also gone for the year. Matt Light has a broken bone below his knee and could return late in the season; Will should have more on that in Black and Blue Report later this week.

Posted by: Ned Macey on 26 Sep 2005

25 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2005, 10:01pm by Ryan Carney


by Mike B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:57pm

Ah, well, I never did think my team was actualy as good as people were projecting. A high draft pick could be good...

by Paul (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:14pm

The Bills weren't going to make the playoffs anyway.

However, I disagree that the defense has played bad.

In the tampa game, the bills were within 1 td of taking the lead in the mid 3rd quarter. This after getting 0 first downs in the first half.

In the falcons game, buffalo lost by a touchdown on a day where the qb was 10 for 23.

Defense is not the problem in Buffalo. If they had a 65% passer, the Bills could easily be 3-0.

That said, as a bills fan I'm still glad they're taking time with Losman. He'll be allright.

by Gatts (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:46pm

They'll still beat the saints.

by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:20pm

I contend that the Bills run D has been bad at the end of games because their incompetent passing game is forcing the D to play a lot more than 30 mins per game.

by gja (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:22pm

The sad thing to me about Spikes, is that he left the Bengals because he was sick of losing, now the Bengals are finally winning.

by BillinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:05pm

WBZ in Boston now reporting that Rodney Harrison is out for the year, and his injury could be career threatening.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 5:15pm

I think it was pointed out by some smart folks that the Bills had dodged the injury bug in supernatural fashion last year. You've also annointed Akers the best kicker in football...competition from Simoneau not withstanding. Would you just finally call Brady the best QB in Football so someone other than the Patriots can win the superbowl this year?

by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:18pm

I contend that the Bills run D has been bad at the end of games because their incompetent passing game is forcing the D to play a lot more than 30 mins per game.

That may have been the case at Tampa Bay but it certainly was not the case this past weekend with Atlanta.

The Bills actually had the ball for 50 seconds more in the game than the Falcons with the potential for an even greater difference had they not fumbled their last possession. The Bills had like a two minute time of possession lead going into the half. Despite this, the Bills defense gave up their three longest drives of the day in the first half along with the 1st and 4th most time consuming drives (the first two the Falcons had actually). The Bills had a 4.5, 5, and 6 minute drive in the first half as well so the defense did get long periods of rest and should have been better than they were in the second half.

The Bills do have a problem with offense. I said before the game they are basically the same as last year where the defense has to put them in scoring range from the get-go because they can't sustain drives. So far this year, four drives starting inside the 35, two of them already in field goal range. Total points on those drives? 12. The only difference from last year is at the end of the season the Bills became just functional enough to score touchdowns when they were getting the ball in opponents territory 3 times a game. The stats on this site back me up. Look at the Bills offensive DVOA and compare to the weighted DVOA, like a 3% improvement. Meanwhile, the #1 Bills defense had a 10% improvement from regular DVOA to weighted DVOA. No one was even close to doing what the Bills were at the end of last season on defense, but somehow the offense got the credit in local media (shocking!).

Yes, Losman needs to do better. The offensive line can help him out a little and not let someone in his face almost every play. McGahee isn't that reliable (good PAR ranking but in the 20's for DVOA and Success Rate). But the fact is, the Bills are soft up the gut this year. I don't know if it's a lack of Pat Williams or what, I don't have game tape, but they are soft up the gut. And this screws the offense because not only will the Bills give up field position because of longer drives that result in punts, but any team with a brain will just run down their throat constantly, reducing the number of interceptions the defense is able to get. Say goodbye to those 3 drives starting at the opponents 40 games we saw all last year (and against the Texans this year).

And hey, Bills fans need to be more vocal during game days so I don't have to let it all out in posts like this. From reading the Inter-confrence thread yesterday I thought I was the only one getting that game.

by ajn (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:49pm

what's up with the pro football prospectus curse? harrison out for the year, akers injured, kevin jones doing a whole lot of nothing. if curtis martin suddenly rushes for two-large next sunday, i think we might be onto something...

by Glenn (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:53pm

Any doctor who says that Rodney can't return from that injury this year is clearly disrespecting him.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:57pm

Re: #10

Nah. It was FO who disrespected Rodney by not putting his season-ending injury into its own Extra Points article and merely tacking him on to Spikes's article.

by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:03pm

And I was just going to suggest that we all include the phrase "respect is due" following Rodney Harrison's name (or just toss it in parenths = "(r.i.d.)" like Muslims do when mentioning Muhammad.

by charles (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:28pm

Harrison's year in a nutshell
week 1, give up big play to moss
week 2 give up big play to proehl
week 3 give up big play to ward.

Not to disrespect mr. harrison, but the pats pass defense was alot better against pitt once he left the game. Feel free to disagree with my opinion.

by Johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 7:46pm

I agree the Bills problems are at QB, but that was expected from a first time starter. The Pats seem to catch a break in that neither the Bills, Jets, or Dolphins seem ready to take the East from them even with their injuries. Until I see a someone in their division beat them I have no realy reason to get excited about the Pats injuries.

by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:16pm

Charles, I didn't get to see the Patriots game this weekend, but I do agree that Harrison looked a step slow against the Raiders(and to a degree against the Panthers, but less so). I think the problem with losing Harrison is less that Gus Scott(who seems most likely to replace him at this point) is going to be a drop-off in coverage abilities, but that Harrison was a solid run defender on a team that is already hurting in run D with the loss of Ted Johnson and Bruschi. Hopefully the D-line will continue it's high level of play that has helped off-set those losses. Also Harrison was a leader of the defense and a feared tackler. I don't think you can write off the loss of Harrison like that when he's been consistently one of the leading tacklers on the defense for a couple of years now.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:18pm

Defense is not the problem in Buffalo. If they had a 65% passer, the Bills could easily be 3-0.

Ah, those guys are a dime a dozen.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:30pm

65% passers so far this year include:
Carson Palmer (3-0)
Trent Dilfer (1-2)
Brian Griese (3-0)
Brett Favre (0-3)
Drew Brees (1-2)

Combined (8-7)

I wonder how the Bills would be doing with this guy at QB: 64.3% (8th), 103.7 rating (3rd), 8.67 yards/attempt (2nd), 6 TD, 2 INT, sacked 6 times (16th-best).

by marc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:30pm

"The sad thing to me about Spikes, is that he left the Bengals because he was sick of losing, now the Bengals are finally winning."
That's not sad, it's extremely hilarious.
Granted Spikes was justified in wanting to win as soon as possible since his career could've easily ended while still in Cincinatti at below .500, but the nature of the NFL is that teams rise from the depths eventually. Maybe if Spikes is lucky he'll rehab well enough to still be decent and the Bills will bottom out this year and land a top notch rookie or two with high picks to bring them to the top next year. But if Losman sucks again next year maybe Spikes can try to get traded back to Cincy.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:43pm

"but the nature of the NFL is that teams rise from the depths eventually."

Except for that lower third of teams that are exceptionally bad more often than not.

The Brown family got out of managing (and practically coaching) the team and, voila, they start to win.

Coincidence? I think not!

by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:58pm

charles, I'll disagree with you. Wilson and Samuel had the coverage on Ward that play. But I do agree that Harrison looks like he's slowed down from last year. However, it's not Harrison's coverage that will be missed, it's his run support and all-around savvy, as someone mentioned above.

by BillT (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 9:04pm

Rotoworld says Pennington is out for the year.

"NFL Network reports Chad Pennington will miss the 2005 season with a torn rotator cuff.
With Jay Fiedler also expected to miss significant time, the Jets will likely start Brooks Bollinger this weekend. The Jets offense was in big trouble before this injury. Laveranues Coles and Justin McCareins lose value, while Curtis Martin will face teams loaded to stop the run. It's also fair to wonder what kind of future Pennington has. Never known for his strong arm, he will have a long road back from his second major shoulder surgery in as many years. Sep. 26 - 7:52 pm et"

by charles (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 9:38pm

RE 20:
My bad on the ward play i mistook harrison for wilson. BTW i just saw the replay of the harrison injury and i'll say it was mcgahee-esque the way his knee bent sideways, froze for a second, then popped back out. Gruesome.

by Aaron (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 9:50pm

Wow, what did the AFC East do yesterday to anger the gods of fate? Pennington story now updated with separate Extra Points thread, although we should just put them all together into one thread and call it "Over on Miami Dolphins Looking Good."

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 9:52pm

All of you that are saying Harrison won't be back next week are showing him some major disrespect. I mean, no one thought they'd win the SB. NOBODY.

Seriously though...as a Pats fan, this blows clam chowder chunks :(

by Ryan Carney (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 10:01pm

oh, no, TKO, what have you done to me? I for one didn't need an injury report, I could tell by his reaction he was done for the season...Harrison aside from the acl also tore the macl and pcl, I don't know what that last one is though...sounds like he might be careered. As many yards as the Bills allowed on the ground sunday though,their biggest mistake was playcalling on D. Constantly blitzing Vick, they ran by him over and over, giving him running lanes...When they didn't contain Vick, he ran to daylight...case in point, 17-16 third quarter, third and long, Bills bring the blitz, over pursuit, and Vick runs for like thirty yards...you can't do that when you're playing Vick, especially because he's not that good of a thrower.