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Chan Gailey's explanations

By Jerry Sullivan

Here are Chan Gailey's explanations for some of his head-scratching coaching decisions during Sunday's crushing, 15-12 loss to the Rams at Ralph Wilson Stadium. C.J. Spiller had just eight touches on the day -- a day when eight Hall of Fame running backs were gushing about him in the Sunday News.

I reminded Gailey that Spiller had a 15-yard reception on the Bills' early field-goal drive, then stood on the sidelines for the final five snaps before Rian Lindell's kick. It seems we talk about this every week, I said.

Gailey's reply: "Well, he gets ... he had two good runs in that first drive, he gets winded and he comes out. We just put Fred in there. It worked out that the next couple of carries we got behind the sticks on runs that we called he was in there. That is just the way it works out. We are trying to get those guys the football."

Whatever. Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reporter Sal Maiorana told Gailey that Spiller had eight touches on the day. Could he explain that? Spiller leads the NFL in yards per carry.

"It was not happening there after that first drive of the second half," Gailey said. "We were trying to run the football when it was Fred's turn. It was Fred's turn to be in there. Trying to keep them both fresh."

Gailey was asked about his indecision before punting from the St. Louis 34 early in the fourth quarter. At first, he sent Lindell out to kick. Then he changed his mind and called a timeout -- instead of taking a delay of game penalty that wouldn't have hurt them at all. Why not kick the field goal or even go for it on fourth and 7?

"Yeah, we were not going to go for it there," Gailey said. "The defense was playing good. We were going to try to pin them back. That was the reason. When they first told me when I first turned, they told me it was a 50-yard field goal instead of a 52, 53-yard field goal. We had just dropped the snap on the extra point, so that is why I pulled them back out of there and said, 'Hey, let the defense try to keep them pinned back.'"

The media never got around to asking Gailey about his poor clock management at the end of the half. The Bills had the ball at the Rams' 23 with 32 seconds left. Gailey ran Jackson for minus-1 and called a timeout. Then Ryan Fitzpatrick thew to Jackson in the flat for 2 yards. The Bills let the clock run from 16 seconds to 11 seconds, then called timeout and kicked a field goal.

Why not let the clock run all the way to 3 seconds if you're going to kick a field goal, rather than leave time on the clock for the opponent? Why not run a play on third down with sufficient time on the clock, then call timeout if you don't make it? Something tells me Gailey's fear of a sack, and his lack of faith in Lindell, played into that poor clock management. But it was pretty clear he didn't want to go for the six points, either.

We'll have to wait until Monday to hear Gailey's explanation for the gaffe at the end of the half. I don't have to wait that long to know the man shouldn't be head coach of an NFL team. Gailey is done. He's over his head. He should be fired.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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