Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills
December, 1, 2013
By Mike Rodak | ESPN.com
TORONTO -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 34-31 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons:
What it means: Wow. The Bills let this one get away. With the game tied late in regulation and the Bills driving, receiver Stevie Johnson fumbled after a catch, forcing overtime. Then, after the Bills won the overtime coin toss, tight end Scott Chandler lost another fumble after a catch, which led to the Falcons' 36-yard winning field goal. With a 4-8 record, the Bills' playoff hopes are effectively put to rest. This is their second overtime loss this season, and one that will sting.
Spiller's spark: Just when things haven't looked good for C.J. Spiller this season, he has pulled off some of the better runs you'll see. He did it again Sunday, sprinting for 77 yards in the first quarter to set the table for a Bills touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Spiller dashed for a 36-yard touchdown that put the Bills in the lead. He finished with 149 yards on 15 carries, not too far off from his career high of 169 yards.
Stock watch: Falling: Stephon Gilmore. It wasn't all bad for the 2012 first-round pick, but the Bills' top cornerback had his struggles. He was called for a penalty in the third quarter that bailed the Falcons out of a third-and-14 and eventually led to a touchdown. Gilmore was also beaten by Roddy White for a 22-yard gain in the second quarter, and later by Harry Douglas on a 13-yard catch in the red zone. After Gilmore told the team's official website last week that he feels like he did back in training camp, before his wrist injury, the Bills may need a little bit more out of him going forward.
Attendance drops: In their sixth regular-season game in Toronto, the Bills saw their attendance drop since last season's loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The announced attendance was 38,969, while 40,770 fans saw last season's contest. The Rogers Centre's football capacity is 46,470, not including luxury boxes. There was a wide swath of empty seats in the upper deck behind one end zone, but the close game kept the crowd in it.
What's next: The Bills will be back on the road the next two weeks, beginning Sunday against the 3-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the playoffs now a distant possibility, the Bills' focus in their final four games will turn to next season. What are their needs? Where can they improve? Those questions have now moved onto the radar.