The Buffalo Bills came into the 2022 season as the Super Bowl favorites. They go out as no better than the third-best team in the AFC. That’s because the Cincinnati Bengals absolutely embarrassed the Buffalo on its home field in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, 27-10. With the Western New York snow falling and Damar Hamlin in attendance, the Bills could do nothing offensively or defensively. Joe Burrow and the Bengals destroyed Buffalo and are now the AFC team that is the challenger to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills are simply a good team that doesn’t have what it takes to win the big one. The franchise could change that this offseason, but it will take some tough decisions after this Bills-Bengals game, starting with firing defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
The Bengals ran over the Bills defense in the Divisional Round
To open the Bills-Bengals Divisional Round game, Joe Burrow took the Bengals on a six-play, 79-yard, 3:20 touchdown drive, and a 10-play, 72-yard, 6:15 touchdown drive.
At that point, the game was basically over.
When Josh Allen and the Bills did mount any sort of comeback, the Bengals would go on another long touchdown drive and crush any Bills’ hopes. The Bills defense simply couldn’t stop the Bengals, and that’s ultimately on Frazier.
On the CBS broadcast, Tony Romo kept making excuses for the Bills D.
Yes, they were missing two of their four best players in Von Miller and Micah Hyde, but the Bengals were also missing 3/5 of their offensive line. Romo also said the Bills D-line struggled in the snow because it’s hard for D-lineman to get their footing in those conditions. However, he also praised the Bengals D-line for dominating the Bills O-line throughout the game.
Romo’s excuses aside, the truth is that the Bills defense just wasn’t good enough on the day or well-coached enough to win this game.
And it wasn’t just the defensive front. The Bills secondary played horribly, too. Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst ran wide open on a touchdown and on a key 1st down in the third quarter on the Bengals’ game-ending (for all intents and purposes) touchdown drive to go up 24-10. And only a gift of a slow-mo replay kept Ja’Marr Chase from having an incredible TD catch.
Frazier just had no answers in this game, while Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo flummoxed Allen all day.
The Bills need to fire defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier
The worst part for Bills fans about this Divisional Round performance is that it is the second year in a row that Leslie Frazier getting pantsed on national TV led to the Bills going home.
While no Bills fan needs to be reminded, Buffalo was up in last year’s Divisional Round vs. the Chiefs with 13 seconds to go. That’s when Frazier went into a conservative, prevent defense and allowed Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs to go down the field and score. That sent the game to overtime and led to Kansas City ultimately knocking Buffalo out of the playoffs.
The Bills have tons of talent on defense, even with the Micah Hyde and Von Miller injuries. Ed Oliver, Gregory Rousseau, Boogie Basham, and A.J. Epenesa are all high draft picks along the line. Matt Milano is an All-Pro, and Tremaine Edmunds is a two-time Pro Bowler at the linebacker position. Jordan Poyer is a top-three safety in the league, Tre’Davius White is an All-Pro, and rookie corners Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford had excellent debut seasons.
The point is the Bills have more than enough talent to match up with the Bengals, especially with the Cincy O-line so banged up. They just didn’t have the game plan to bother Burrow at all, and that’s what caused this loss.
Heading into the 2023 offseason, the Bills are in danger of, once again, wasting a hugely talented era by not having a Super Bowl trophy to show for it.
Whether Josh Allen will ever be able to get over the Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow hump remains to be seen. But if he doesn’t get more defensive help in big games, it won’t happen. That’s why the Bills need to fire Leslie Frazier.