I don't know if Sunday's fourth quarter explosion was due to an aggressive approach or whether it was strictly Ryan Fitzpatrick taking advantage of some of the things he saw, but it was fun to watch. From what I understand he audibled to that pass play that went to T.O. for the touchdown to clinch the win. That was something I don't know that I would have done in that situation, but it paid off in a big way. It was good to see a quarterback who is willing to go downtown.
I don't know if that's a byproduct of Alex Van Pelt giving him more leeway or Ryan having the confidence that he can get the job done.
By watching and studying film of the opposing defenses you get a good feel of when opportunities like that present themselves in game situations. You see something and you go over it during the course of the week and the coaches are on the same page with it. And then you see it in the game and instead of saying, 'Maybe next time,' you take advantage of it that time.
That was one of the things I saw Ryan do last Sunday. He took the approach of letting it all hang out. As he saw it, there was little to lose and a lot to gain. From what I saw he took advantage of the situation and he didn't wait. He called the audible right then and there on the touchdown play to Owens.
It's obvious he takes advantage of what he sees based off of his film study and practice through the course of the week. It's also clear that he listens to what the coaches say during practice. The coaching staff watches more film than anyone, so it's important to listen to what the coaches emphasize during the practice week because a lot of what they suggest and point out comes up in the game and presents itself for a player to either take advantage of or not. The last two weeks Fitzpatrick has acted when those situations have come up.
Leadership coming to the forefront is what I've been preaching in this column for some time now. It means so much especially when things aren't going quite the way you hoped it would. You need that one person to step up. And I remember referencing this last week. I saw Ryan on the sidelines talking to Alex and talking to T.O.. When you communicate on the sidelines during the course of the ball game and then when the situation you may have discussed presents itself in the game both players are already on the same page. You both already see something you can take advantage of.
If the quarterback sees something and the receiver doesn't, the wideout may not run his route as hard as he might if he knew he was going to be the key receiver facing that particular coverage. Now I'm not condoning not running every route at your best as a receiver because I've always said, 'Always running, always alert.'
The ball can come to you at any given time as a receiver depending on what the defense does. So when a quarterback and a receiver are on the same page and the receiver has a good feeling that he might be the man on that particular play, he might do just a little bit more to get open or do his job.
Spending some time on the sideline last Sunday I was able to witness the atmosphere on Buffalo's side of the field and it was very evident that there was a good energy level. Now normally I don't spend time down there, but against the Dolphins it's different. Generally though I stay away and keep my distance, but the Dolphins game has always been special to me and always will be.
While I was down there however, I made a point of watching Perry Fewell interact with his staff and his players. Guys would come off to the sidelines and Fewell would be hooting and hollering and getting guys pumped up and that's what you need sometimes.
It's not something that has to be there all the time, but it's genuine with Perry because that's his passion and that's the way he is. It was a breath of fresh air to see the players respond the way they did. It took them a little time, but Perry Fewell is just like Ryan Fitzpatrick and a few other players because they're in a situation where they're working their way through a six-week job interview.
And it would be great if it came down to the end of the year and Perry Fewell emerged as a finalist for the permanent job and he was the one who turned things around and started a winning tradition again. He's got his back against the wall with all the injuries, but sometimes it doesn't take winning football games to see the character of an individual to see if a guy can coach or play.
Some of the players have taken to Fewell's approach right away. They want to succeed for Perry, but they also want to succeed for themselves. Losing stinks, and when you have to come in week in and week out with that same feeling in the locker room it doesn't help.
So with Fewell as their interim coach and the win this past Sunday it's a breath of fresh air for the guys in that locker room. Time will only tell where this team is going and who is going to be their leader. I'm pulling for Perry Fewell. He might be the guy, but the Bills must continue their due diligence and their research and work toward finding out who is going to be the leader of this football team moving forward. And not only the head coach, but a quarterback that can be a leader for this team on the field as well as off the field.