Those were great days back in the late summer, weren't they? You remember, when Tyrod Taylor clamped down firmly on the Bills starting quarterback job against Indy, and everyone had booked their playoff ticket after one seemingly monumental victory?
That 1-0 start feels like a century ago. That's because, as happens in just about every recent Buffalo season, the team finds ways to squander opportunity, leaving them to rue that one game that left them hurting to qualify for playoff football. This year, it's the Jacksonville game that somehow they managed to lose (EJ Manuel's turnover fest), win (his rebound to take the lead late), and lose again (defensive collapse aided by a horrendous phantom penalty on 4th down).
So now we wait. We first off hope the Bills can somehow claw together four wins to close out the season. It's quite possible in fact, given the state of the NFC East. Buffalo has shown that it can hang tough with most opponents (Cincinnati the only real junker loss), and it's tough to envision Philly, Washington, or Dallas demolishing them. And the final game, at home versus the Jets, is not a cinch, but as long as New York relies on Ryan Fitzpatrick to come through in the big moment, you have hope.
But even that wouldn't be enough to ensure the playoffs. They made it tough losing to Kansas City two weekends ago, but the killer loss was to the Jaguars. They would be in the driver's seat had they simply closed out that one, overcoming Manuel's blunders in London to grab a big win before the bye.
Instead they must hope Pittsburgh loses a game or two, or the aforementioned Chiefs go into a tailspin in the weakest part of their schedule. The former scenario is most attainable, with the Steelers beginning a tough two game stretch at Cincinnati and at home to Denver.
First thing's first, though. Winning out is not impossible, but Buffalo always seems to be fighting more than just the team lining up across from them. They also struggle to overcome whatever ghosts haunt this 15 year stretch (and counting). Eventually they will figure out how to execute consistently, taking the power out of an ill-timed flag or catch/no-catch decision. Why can't it be this year?