Wednesday, October 30, 2013
QB Watch: Bills' Thad Lewis
By Mike Rodak
A weekly examination of the Bills' quarterback play:
Rewind: The Bills' string of injuries at quarterback nearly grew longer Sunday when Thad Lewis was drilled from behind by Saints linebacker David Hawthorne on a designed run to begin the game. Lewis stayed on the ground for several moments before coming to his feet and returning for the next series. He lost a fumble on the play and another on a strip-sack by Cameron Jordan later in the quarter. Those two plays defined the game for Lewis; the Saints took advantage of the second turnover, scoring a touchdown. Lewis, who later threw an interception, finished with a 13.5 QBR, the worst of his three starts so far and the third-worst of any NFL quarterback in Week 8.
Fast-forward: The task doesn't get any easier for Lewis, as the Bills return home to face the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. With two of the NFL's best pass-rushers in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, pass protection -- which has been an issue for Lewis since taking over as the starter -- will stay in focus. The Chiefs are disrupting 24 percent of opponent dropbacks, the highest rate in the NFL. The Bills' offensive line will need to be on its toes Sunday.
Wood defensive on sacks: Lewis has been sacked 13 times in the three games that he has started, the most of any NFL quarterback in that span. Center Eric Wood said after the game that not all of the sacks, however, can be pinned on the offensive line. He expounded on those thoughts Monday on WGR 550 in Buffalo. "In a lot of football, in a lot of circumstances, it's really easy to blame the offensive line," Wood said. "We have plays where guys have blown assignments, a sack [allowed] by the tight end. ... Are we playing perfect? No. But do we deserve all the blame for plays [Sunday]? No."
Prediction: This just doesn't seem like the type of game where Lewis will excel. He'll be under constant pressure from a very good Chiefs defense. He may be playing with a banged-up top receiver, Stevie Johnson, who is dealing with a hip flexor injury. And the status of his most explosive running back, C.J. Spiller, is still up in the air. Lewis is at a level where he needs a lot to come together around him to be successful, and it doesn't look like that will happen against Kansas City.