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Facing its first big test, the defense got destroyed

I'm no math whiz. But this one, I can do in my head. The Bills have played two AFC East games in the Dave Wannstedt/Mario Williams era. They've allowed 100 points.

That's 50 points a game.
Here's some more simple arithmetic. Those 100 points against the Jets and Patriots comes out to exactly one point for every $1 million in Williams' free-agent contract.
That's hardly what management had in mind when they handed Super Mario the $100 million deal last March, or what Bills fans expected when they were celebrating the acquisition of an elite pass rusher and difference-maker on the defensive line.
And I'm not putting this all on Williams, by any means. He'd be the first to tell you it's not all his fault. He's only one man, after all, and there was plenty of blame to go around for the Bills' humiliating, 52-28 loss to the Patriots on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
But where do you begin after such a wretched defensive performance? The Bills gave up 580 total yards, the most in franchise history in a home game. They allowed 45 points in the second half, the most in a half in team history and fourth all-time in the NFL. The Pats scored those 45 points in a span of 21:12. The Celtics don't score 45 points that quickly these days.
The Pats, who entered a game with a losing record for the first time since 2003, ran for 247 yards. They became the second team in NFL history with two 100-yard rushers and two 100-yard receivers in the same game. Everyone in the Bills' organization shares the embarrassment.
"Yeah, I do," said coach Chan Gailey. "I am. I don't like to play like that. That's not who were are. But that's who we were today."
That's who they were against the Jets, too. It was the lingering memory of that 48-28 opening loss that made you wonder if this Bills team is really different from its predecessors. If they intend to compete for a playoff spot, they have to be competitive in the division.
The Bills are still tied for first in the division. They've also lost nine of their last 10 inside the AFC East, allowing 37.2 points a game. You decide if it's progress.
This year was supposed to be different. The additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, the return of Kyle Williams and the elevation of Wannstedt to defensive coordinator would forge a new defensive force in the AFC. Easy wins over the Chiefs and Browns suggested that the Jets game was a fluke, and that it really was a new, improved "D."
But the real test was the Pats. That's why they opened the vault to Williams and Anderson, to match up with Brady and tilt the balance of power their way. A close loss would have been acceptable, as long as they made Brady sweat and engaged New England in a low-scoring, physical struggle.
They got destroyed. Any notion that the Bills are a formidable defensive team, one that can control the line of scrimmage against top offenses, went out the window. So did the idea they were a more resilient team. Once the Pats started running the ball down their throats, the Bills showed familiar signs of discouragement and panic.
Oh, and Bill Belichick coached rings around them, same as Rex Ryan in the opener. Gailey's offense showed little imagination. But the bigger problem was Wannstedt, the new defensive coordinator, who had no answers for the Pats. Wannstedt rarely blitzed, choosing to sit back in nickel defense while the Pats gashed him with trap plays and quick throws.
"We didn't stop the run," Mario Williams said. "That was the biggest thing. If you don't stop the run, it's hard to win. I felt a lot of times, I was on the back end of things. I wasn't at the point of attack a lot of times on the things they were running. It got kind of methodical. It felt like the same blocks, same thing, same play."
Williams is always willing to deflect attention from himself, but he had a point. The Pats ran the same few plays, over and over, to the left side. Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley kept slashing for big chunks of yardage. Wannstedt stuck with his nickel, trusting linebackers Nick Barnett and the undersized Bryan Scott to make the stops, with help from defensive backs.
Buffalo's defense wasn't worth a plugged nickel. Sure, it was the Patriots and Brady, the best quarterback ever. But 580 yards? Six TDs in six possessions in the second half? Hey, maybe they can fire George Edwards again!
They acted as if they had never seen a no-huddle on the Pats' first possession. Brady marched the Pats 90 yards in 3:07 for a score. The "D" played fairly well for the next 30 minutes or so, but folded when the Pats challenged them with the run.
Kyle Williams, who has been in the middle of some very bad defensive efforts, said the first TD was the result of poor communication. He agreed that they were victimized by a predictable Patriots offense.
"The most discouraging thing is they literally ran maybe three running plays," he said. "They ran the same thing over and over and over. ... I might have gotten three or four different run blocks all game. I was disappointed in how we handled it."
Like his namesake, Kyle Williams wouldn't point a finger at coaching. He said the Bills made adjustments and changed some fronts. He said it was mainly a question of bad run "fits" (as opposed to bad Fitz, which is another story). That's what defensive players say when they get overwhelmed.
Why do coaches work those 16-hour days, if they're not going to make a difference on game day? Why did Wannstedt wait until the Jets debacle to play his cornerbacks closer to the line? If the nickel isn't working, why not change it? And how about a blitz?
Yes, the Patriots ran mainly to the left, away from Mario Williams. But it wasn't out of respect. They love going left. Wannstedt can't flip him to the right end? The tackles switch. You're telling me a guy is worth $100 million, but he can only play on one end of the line?
Williams had two tackles, no sacks and no quarterback hurries in his first Pats signature game as a Bill. That's not good enough. Maybe it's unfair to put so much blame on one man. It's the organization that miscalculated how much effect one player could have on a team with so many holes.
Asked if he was disappointed to be a virtual non-factor against the Pats after the expectations that attended his arrival, Mario talked about the run defense. He said pass rush doesn't matter much when you can't stop the run.
"A loss is a loss," he said. "I don't label it. It is what it is. You can say whatever word you like. We'll watch film and be very picky and hard on each other, and we'll figure out what in the world is going on."
Here's how the football world looks right now: The Bills gave up 52 points Sunday. Mario's former team, Houston, is unbeaten and has allowed 56 points in four games. Again, you don't need a calculator to figure how much the Texans miss him.