Blowing a lead like the Pats game was something only a team not ready to be great does. What makes this bearable compared to last year is that we have a young team. Last year we blew leads all the time, but that was with a veteran core that should have known better. This came from a bunch of rookies. This could be an indication that this year could be a long one. A kind of year where we are talented enough to play with other teams, but not mentally tough enough to pull out any games, so be prepared. But it could be that season that really teaches the younger guys a great lesson to become that amazing team. The '88 Bills came off an 8-8 season, and from there, they were a perennial playoff threat for 10 years. Let's hope we are on to something.
I really believe a 9-7 season is good enough for the AFC East Title.
The Pats, as stated in the preseason article, proved that they are at the end of their glorious run. If you watched that game and can say the Pats are on pace to win another Super Bowl, than you are just another front running Pats fan who knows little about the game. If everyone believed the Bills were going to be hands down one of the 5 worst teams, then why struggle at home in the season opener. It was just very reminiscent of the Bills in 1996-97. The Bills would struggle to beat some of the easier wins and maybe beat a good team here or there, but for the most part you could see they just weren't what they once were. What is turrets-inducing is that the professional football geniuses (or is it geni?) keep talking up the Pats as a top 10 team.
Let's not doom and gloom ourselves into thinking this season is going to be the same as the years past. Hang in there; there are 15 more games to be played. And I sense this team is really going to gel by week four, barring major injuries.
- Opening play: a forced fumble and touchdown! I didn't even scream. I was just looking at the TV (without sound, damn those NYC sports bars) saying, "did that just happen? Are they going to call that back? It's the Pats, no way the league allows for Tom Brady to look like a fool on the opening play." And when it stood, I just sat there like I was Hurley from LOST when he won the Lottery. I didn't know what to do.
- Fourth and one; they went for it up the gut (or close to the gut). I like it. I thought Willis had it, but it's unfortunate that it had to come down to a measurement. They did the right thing with the right strategy. A more veteran team wouldn't have collapsed after not getting the first down, but that's something that we have to work up to. I like Coach Skeletor's decision.
- I don't know why A-Train was taken off the tracks after having a decent drive for a TD. With McGahee's ankle hurt, we had a solid second option. We should have used it some more. Think Thurman/Davis, not RB controversy.
- McGahee is on thin ice with this fanbase. He is essentially New York City's subway system. When you think about it, it should just be a great convenience and your happy to have it, but when the problems come up, they are so maddening and logic defying that you build to resent it. But you always come back hoping that it will run smoothly like its suppose to.
- I thought the opening drive with the bad snap and the juggled handoff showed that everyone on the team is a little more patient than the Bledsoe years and last year. The Bledsoe era was marked by his insistency to go for the long ball in close games; the teams of those years seemed to echo the same impatience on both sides of the ball. Last year, the team just lacked a positive identity with Mularkey driving the team into the ground. These two mistakes would have crushed our teams of yesteryear but were overcome early by this team. And I took it as a positive sign that we may finally be working our way out of the tailspin and that the coaching of the team may have finally settled some of the jitters that has plagued this team for the last 6 years.
- Peyton Manning looks like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite in that commercial with the mustache. Sitting in a bar with no sound, I couldn't tell if that was the point or not.Weird.
- Lindell kicks from 53 yards? What's next? Peace in the Middle East? Fancy I spelling his name with a Y? I was impressed. You really have to wonder how much of a hassle Mularkey was on the minds of every single player.
- Moorman looked surprisingly average to not good. Sure he was sucked under a rogue wave of Pats players on two separate occasions (of course they weren't called, we're playing America's team, the Patriots.), but he normally punts a lot better than that.
- You never see any other teams get called for holding when they play the Bills. Our holding calls were down dramatically this game, but early in the first quarter when the Bills were coming in quickly on Brady, they were being pulled down from behind. Uncalled. And Unfair.
- Even stranger is that having only 1 penalty for 5 yard in an entire game. In a game where the borderline illegal use of the hands was called twice against the Bills, you'd think this thorough officiating team would have been able to see a few more infractions from the Pats.
- I know there is a popular conspiracy theory out the about how the NFL needs to have a team named the Patriots as the champs so they get all the breaks. I partially believe in it. From the info above, it's hard to believe that they aren't aided by the officials ever since the tuck rule. Is there anything the Bills can do to reverse this? Perhaps we issue a request to the league for a name change? The Buffalo Bushes? Buffalo Goodells? What is it going to take to have us get the calls in our favor? If you aren't prepared to sell your soul; then you clearly aren't up for the modern economics of the NFL.
- Same topic, but seriously this time: I watched a bunch of other games and the refs were struggling. One could say, it's the first game of the season, give them a break. But I have another theory. These guys are getting the short end of the stick in terms of money. Unfortunately, I have to go back to the MTA of New York, but every time the union wants more money and the MTA balks, trains run a lot slower for the first couple weeks after they get rejected. You got to wonder if some of the refs are using the same ploy. "we aren't getting to be full time employees of the NFL? Well how do you like it if we blew every game for the first four weeks? We'll see you back at the negotiating tables."
- Why was Gillette field in Mid December condition? The middle of the field was barely there for week one. If you thought Ralph was cheap on the cash, a poor field on week 1 reeks of frugality. I heard some non-sense of a soccer game being played there on Saturday. You've got to be kidding me. If you put all the fans of professional soccer in one stadium, you could fit them in the UB Bulls practice facility.
- Schoebel was a monster for 2 quarters and non existent for the other two. Not cool for your best Defensive end. It raises a question as to why our defense is never in condition to handle the rigors of what is consistently known to be a struggling offense.
- At 17-7, I wrote "lacks killer instinct still". It's true, after having the Pats go 3 and out on 3 or 4 drives, the Bills couldn't put up that drive with one more score to kill the Pats once and for all. Fee-neesh Heem, Grasshoppa! Please.
- Ryan Neufeld came up with the ball on Roscoe's fumble. At that point in the game, that was incredible heart and determination to stay with it and get the ball. Too bad the rest of the team didn't follow suit.
- I'm patiently waiting for JP to have 200+ passing games. He always tops out at the 150 mark. As a self proclaimed die hard, I am giving up chicken wings in all forms until he has back to back 200+ passing games. So yes, no buffalo chicken salads. Now, if you know me, you realize what kinda sacrifice this is. I may be single-handedly killing the wing industry. It's just that I know JP is going to develop later this year. If any of you know him personally, please let him know of my starvation. Because I think if it doesn't happen by the end of September I'm going to have to get a Frank's Red Hot IV drip.
You can write Kevin Shenoy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments.