2011 Buffalo Bills season

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2011 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Chan Gailey
General manager Buddy Nix
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field Ralph Wilson Stadium
Results
Record 6–10
Division place 4th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers none
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 2010 2012

The 2011 Buffalo Bills season was the team's 42nd season in the National Football League and its 52nd overall. The Bills improved on their 4–12 record from the 2010 season, winning six games; however, the team also missed the playoffs for the twelfth consecutive season; the team has not made the playoffs since 1999, the longest standing playoff drought in the NFL. Buffalo played in the Eastern division of the American Football Conference (AFC).

Overview[edit]

In week 3 of the season, the Bills broke a 15-game losing streak that the team had accrued against the New England Patriots that dated to opening day of the 2003 season; Buffalo defeated the Patriots, 34–31. In doing so, the 2011 Bills became the only team since before 1950 (when comprehensive statistical record keeping began) to win two consecutive games in which they trailed by 18 or more points; they overcame a 21–3 deficit to Oakland in Week Two, and a 21–0 deficit to New England in Week Three.

Incidentally, Buffalo's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals the following week was the Bills' first loss to Cincinnati since the 1988 AFC Championship game; that streak had been the longest winning streak by one team over another after Buffalo snapped their losing streak to New England.

The Bills started the season with a 5–2 record, positioned to make the playoffs, before losing eight of their final nine games, eliminating them from the playoffs.

Wide receiver Stevie Johnson set a franchise mark as the only receiver in Bills history to record two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. No other Bills receiver—including Andre Reed, James Lofton, Eric Moulds or Lee Evans—had done so with Buffalo. Buffalo's offense only surrendered 23 sacks all season, the fewest in the NFL.[1]

Key Injuries[edit]

The Bills started the season with a promising 5–2 record. However, the remainder of the Bills' season was plagued by injuries to key starters, including linebacker Shawne Merriman, center Eric Wood, cornerback Terrence McGee,[2] star nose tackle Kyle Williams (as well as backup Torell Troup), and star running back Fred Jackson, all of whom were placed on injured reserve to end their respective seasons.[3][4]

The Bills also lost two wide receivers that did not contribute significantly during the 2011 season, Marcus Easley and Roscoe Parrish, to IR (the former missing his second full season, the latter coming off a strong 2010 season), and two kickers, incumbent starter Rian Lindell and replacement Dave Rayner; the Bills were compelled to sign a third-string kicker, Brandon Coutu, for the final game of the 2011 season against New England.[5] Rookie Marcell Dareus also admitted to playing much of the season with numerous injuries, but continued to stay on the field out of a personal obligation to the team.[6] Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick also sustained an undisclosed injury in the middle of the season, but was never listed on the injury report (nor was the injury ever specified), and Fitzpatrick continued to play the rest of the season.[7]

Strong start, weak finish[edit]

After a dominating Week Eight shutout win over Washington in Toronto, Buffalo suffered a seven-game losing streak to the New York Jets (twice), Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins (twice), Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers. The Week Fourteen loss to San Diego eliminated the team from postseason contention. (With the Detroit Lions earning a playoff spot in Week 16, and the Houston Texans winning the AFC South in 2011, the Bills have sole possession of the NFL's longest current playoff drought, at twelve and counting.) The 2011 losing streak was eventually broken by defeating the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve, a game that was blacked out in Western New York due to poor ticket sales.

In the first seven games of the season (of which the Bills won five), the Bills had a +9 turnover differential (18 takeaways, 9 giveaways); from Week Nine until the end of the season, the Bills gave the ball away 21 times, with only 12 takeaways. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick started the season strongly, posting a 97.8 passer rating and a 14/7 touchdown-interception ratio through the first seven games; in the final nine games, Fitzpatrick threw ten touchdowns, and 16 interceptions, with a 66.5 quarterback rating in that span. His 23 total interceptions were the most thrown by any quarterback in the league in 2011. He threw only 5 interceptions total in the Bills' six wins, and 18 in their ten losses. Bills wide receiver David Nelson stated that Fitzpatrick was injured by Redskins linebacker London Fletcher in Week Eight, the last win before the losing streak began. Said Nelson, "A lot of people don't know, but Fitz during the Washington game actually cracked a couple of ribs. So after that, he was playing hurt."[8]

Offseason[edit]

Uniform change[edit]

On February 9, 2011, the Bills announced that the team planned to introduce redesigned uniforms for the 2011 season. No details were given on what the uniforms would look like, but it was said that the charging buffalo logo would be kept. Later reports leaked by a Madden NFL 12 trailer, and said to be confirmed by the league, indicated the team would be adopting the uniforms the team wore between 1975 and 1983.[9] It was also announced that an official unveiling of the new uniforms would be at a fan appreciation event later in the summer.[10] The uniforms were unveiled on June 24, 2011. The team also announced that the U.S. military will be involved in the unveiling.[11]

Due to the 2011 NFL lockout that ran from March 11 – July 25, actual Bills' players were prohibited from attending the event. Instead, models from the New York National Guard, along with former Bills' Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, modeled the new uniforms.[12] This is the first full redesign of the team’s uniforms since the 2002 season.

The Bills wore their white jerseys at home against the New York Jets in Week Nine.[13][14]

Draft[edit]

Main article: 2011 NFL Draft
2011 Buffalo Bills draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 3 Marcell Dareus  DT Alabama
2 34 Aaron Williams  CB Texas
3 68 Kelvin Sheppard  LB LSU
4 100 Da'Norris Searcy  DB North Carolina
4 122 Chris Hairston  OL Clemson Pick from SEA[a]
5 133 Johnny White  RB North Carolina
6 169 Chris White  LB Mississippi St
7 206 Justin Rogers  CB Richmond
7 245 Michael Jasper  DT Bethel (TN) Compensatory[b]
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career


^[a] The Bills acquired this fourth-round selection and a 2012 conditional draft selection in an October 2010 trade that sent RB Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks.
^[b] Compensatory selection.

Preseason[edit]

Schedule[edit]

The Bills' preseason schedule was announced on April 12, 2011.

Week Date Kickoff (EDT) Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 August 13 8:00 p.m. at Chicago Bears L 3–10 0–1 Soldier Field WKBW-TV Recap
2 August 20 8:30 p.m. at Denver Broncos L 10–24 0–2 Sports Authority Field at Mile High WKBW-TV Recap
3 August 27 7:00 p.m. Jacksonville Jaguars W 35–32 (OT) 1–2 Ralph Wilson Stadium WKBW-TV Recap
4 September 1 6:30 p.m. Detroit Lions L 6–16 1–3 Ralph Wilson Stadium WKBW-TV Recap

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Kickoff (ET) Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 September 11 1:00 p.m. at Kansas City Chiefs W 41–7 1–0 Arrowhead Stadium CBS Recap
2 September 18 1:00 p.m. Oakland Raiders W 38–35 2–0 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS Recap
3 September 25 1:00 p.m. New England Patriots W 34–31 3–0 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS Recap
4 October 2 1:00 p.m. at Cincinnati Bengals L 20–23 3–1 Paul Brown Stadium CBS Recap
5 October 9 1:00 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles W 31–24 4–1 Ralph Wilson Stadium Fox Recap
6 October 16 1:00 p.m. at New York Giants L 24–27 4–2 MetLife Stadium CBS Recap
7 Bye
8 October 30 4:05 p.m. ^ Washington Redskins W 23–0 5–2 Rogers Centre (Toronto) Fox Recap
9 November 6 1:00 p.m. New York Jets L 11–27 5–3 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS Recap
10 November 13 1:00 p.m. at Dallas Cowboys L 7–44 5–4 Cowboys Stadium CBS Recap
11 November 20 1:00 p.m. at Miami Dolphins L 8–35 5–5 Sun Life Stadium CBS Recap
12 November 27 1:00 p.m. at New York Jets L 24–28 5–6 MetLife Stadium CBS Recap
13 December 4 1:00 p.m. Tennessee Titans L 17–23 5–7 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS Recap
14 December 11 4:15 p.m. at San Diego Chargers L 10–37 5–8 Qualcomm Stadium CBS Recap
15 December 18 1:00 p.m. Miami Dolphins L 23–30 5–9 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS Recap
16 December 24 1:00 p.m. Denver Broncos W 40–14 6–9 Ralph Wilson Stadium CBS Recap
17 January 1 1:00 p.m. at New England Patriots L 21–49 6–10 Gillette Stadium CBS Recap

LEGEND:

     Royal blue indicates the Bills Toronto Series.
     Gray indicates that the game was blacked out locally due to low ticket sales.

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Bills 14 6 14 7 41
Chiefs 0 7 0 0 7

[15]


Week 2[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 21 0 14 35
• Bills 0 3 14 21 38

[16]


Week 3[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 14 7 3 7 31
• Bills 0 10 7 17 34


Week 4[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 17 0 3 20
• Bengals 3 0 10 10 23


Week 5[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 0 7 7 10 24
• Bills 7 14 10 0 31


Week 6[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 14 3 0 7 24
• Giants 7 10 7 3 27


Week 8[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins 0 0 0 0 0
• Bills 7 6 7 3 23


Week 9[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Jets 0 3 17 7 27
Bills 0 0 3 8 11

[17]


Week 10[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 7 0 0 7
• Cowboys 14 14 6 10 44

[18]


Week 11[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 3 3 0 2 8
• Dolphins 14 14 7 0 35

[19]

Trying to snap a two-game losing streak, the Bills flew to Sun Life Stadium for a Week 11 AFC East showdown with the Miami Dolphins. Buffalo delivered the game's opening punch in the first quarter with a 30-yard field goal from kicker Dave Rayner, but the Dolphins answered with quarterback Matt Moore completing a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano, followed by running back Reggie Bush getting a 5-yard touchdown run. Miami added onto their lead in the second quarter with Moore completing a 12-yard touchdown pass to fullback Charles Clay and a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Davone Bess. The Bills would close out the half with a 56-yard field goal from Rayner.

The Dolphins added onto Buffalo's misery in the third quarter with running back Lex Hilliard recovering a blocked punt in the endzone for a touchdown. The Bills tried to rally in the fourth quarter as rookie linebacker Kelvin Sheppard tackled running back Daniel Thomas in the endzone for a safety, but Miami's lead proved to be too much to overcome.

With the loss, Buffalo fell to 5–5.


Week 12[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 7 7 7 3 24
• Jets 0 14 7 7 28

[20]


Week 13[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Titans 10 7 3 3 23
Bills 7 3 0 7 17

[21]


Week 14[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 0 10 0 10
• Chargers 7 9 14 7 37

[22]


Week 15[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Dolphins 0 13 7 10 30
Bills 7 0 0 16 23

[23]


Week 16[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 0 7 0 14
• Bills 0 17 6 17 40

[24]

Week 17[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 21 0 0 0 21
• Patriots 0 14 14 21 49

[25]

Buffalo's final game of the season was a 49–21 loss to New England on New Year's Day 2012. In a mirror image of Week Three, the Bills opened a 21–0 on New England, before giving up 49 unanswered points to the high-powered Patriot offense. Head coach Chan Gailey benched wide receiver Stevie Johnson after Johnson caught a touchdown, then lifted his jersey to reveal "Happy New Year" on his shirt. The touchdown was Johnson's final play of the season as he was benched for the rest of the game. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, New England, who won by 28, became the first team in NFL history to win a game by more than eight points after trailing by more than 20 points after one quarter.[26] It was also the first time in a two-game season series that the winning team in each game overcame a deficit of more than 17 points.[27] With the loss, the Bills finished with a 6–10 record and secured the 10th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.


Standings[edit]

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(1) New England Patriots 13 3 0 .813 5–1 10–2 513 342 W8
New York Jets 8 8 0 .500 3–3 6–6 394 382 L3
Miami Dolphins 6 10 0 .375 3–3 5–7 348 330 W1
Buffalo Bills 6 10 0 .375 1–5 4–8 372 434 L1


Staff[edit]

Buffalo Bills 2011 staff
Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

 

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

Strength and Conditioning

Final roster[edit]

2011 Buffalo Bills final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 Active, 17 Inactive, 8 Practice squad

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2011 Buffalo Bills: Team Allows Fewest Sacks In NFL
  2. ^ BuffaloBills.com: McGee out for season; Jackson, Jones also hurt
  3. ^ Fred Jackson's deactivation was somewhat controversial, as it disqualified him from Pro Bowl consideration; Jackson, whose leg was expected to heal by the time of the Pro Bowl, was a contender for the game, and would have been the only Bill to make the team, since the Bills had no players named to the contest. At the end of Week Ten (the game in which Jackson was injured), he was leading the NFL in rushing yards, with 917.
  4. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, in 2011, in the regular season, from 1st week to 10th week, sorted by descending Rushing Yds
  5. ^ ESPN: Buffalo Bills Transactions – 2011
  6. ^ Sullivan, Jerry (December 29, 2011). Rookie year an education for Dareus. The Buffalo News. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  7. ^ Cortez was the only logical choice to run the Ti-Cats. The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Buffalo Rumblings: Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Played Hurt, Per David Nelson
  9. ^ Graham, Tim (April 25, 2011). Promo video leaks Buffalo's new uniforms. ESPN.com. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  10. ^ http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/bills-nfl/article336833.ece
  11. ^ After the unveiling, there was a movie screening The Blind Side which was scheduled to round out the unveiling and fan appreciation event. Fans could vote for which film they want to see on the Bills' Facebook page.
  12. ^ http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/bills-nfl/article440998.ece
  13. ^ The Bills hadn't worn white at home since 1986 vs. Indianapolis
  14. ^ Bills to wear white jerseys on Sunday
  15. ^ Game Book
  16. ^ Game Book
  17. ^ Game Book
  18. ^ Game Book
  19. ^ Game Book
  20. ^ Game Book
  21. ^ Game Book
  22. ^ Game Book
  23. ^ Game Book
  24. ^ Game Book
  25. ^ Game Book
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ ESPN: Elias Sports Bureau, 2 January, 2012