TThe Off-Field Distraction:
“That is the end of the 3rd Quarter”, said the referee as he blew his whistle. Finally, I thought, this team can start playing up to their potential. Sitting amongst the pool tables at Busby’s, I sarcastically attempted to ease the frustration in the air by repeatedly uttering “don’t worry; they’re a fourth quarter team.” I took advantage of the between quarters time-out by heading to the restroom for the first time all game. The plethora of Corona ’s I had been using as medicine to dull the pain of the first three quarters (and the inevitable end of the New York Mets season happening on the other TV behind me) had finally pushed my bladder past its threshold. I entered the bathroom and was knocked back by the smell of, well, a restroom that had been ravaged by beer drinking men for the last six hours. I squared up to the urinal, rested my hand upon the wall, and let three quarters of frustration drain into the Pacific. Then, it happened, a loud roar from within the bar. Were those the cheers of optimism? No, it was probably all the bandwagon Cowboy fans at the bar. I quickly zipped up, gave hand washing a poor effort, and hustled back to my seat. The Bills fans were going wild; I looked at the TV to see Rian Lindell kicking a PAT. Greer has returned a pick for a touchdown, on the very first play of the fourth quarter. My prophecy had come true, and I was at the urinal during my moment of glory. I sat down, watched the replay, and then headed back to the bathroom. Bills fans understand superstition, and I’m a team player.
While the economy continues to slide into the gutter, the Bills continue to prosper. It would seem that the whole country being in economic ruin, could be the ultimate home-field advantage for the Bills. We are the only fan base that have had to consistently fight economic hardships while trying to cheer on our football team. Let me be up front about something, the Bills are 4-0, and I am not going to be one of those ungrateful fans or ridiculous media pundits who spit out reasons why we shouldn’t be excited. To do that friends, would make us no better than those obnoxious Boston fans we have all come to loathe. I have advice to Bills fans, learn to enjoy winning! Yes, the offensive line could be playing better. Yes, it would be great to not wait until the fourth quarter to “turn it on”. Yes, it would be fantastic to see James Hardy catch more than the flu. (Your first winter in Western New York is always the roughest) The way you should look at all of those things is, we’re not playing our best ball and we’re STILL 4-0! Sure, the strength of schedule hasn’t been daunting, but for anyone that thinks that diminishes the great start to the season only needs to look at the scoreboard this past weekend. To use an awful NFL cliché, there are no easy games in the NFL. Ask the Broncos fans how easy that KC game was this past weekend. Don’t take wins for granted, you never know when they’ll disappear (see ’00 – ’07…. And the entire 1970’s… and most of the 80’s) Not to mention the last two weeks the Bills have gone up against teams playing for the survival of their coaches. As for the re-cap, Bills get punched in the mouth in the first half getting outscored 14-6. Bills come out of the locker room with fists of fury and win the second half 25-0. Defense tightened, offense clicked, Bills win.
The Bills showed once again they are very comfortable overcoming a slow start. The offense moved down the field swiftly on their opening drive only to stall when several Trent Edwards passes were denied by the statue-esque hands of James Hardy. I’m not going to rip Hardy, it is well documented that playing wide-receiver as a rookie is very difficult. I’m just happy to see them looking his way. He will improve, just be patient. The defense was getting run over in the first half, but came out and stifled the Rams over the last two quarters. Greer got the defense their first touchdown of the season, as he continues to shine. Pauly Poz and Kyle Williams were consistently in the Rams backfield. The DT from the deep south continues to attack the opposition like they’re a plate of Cajun shrimp. He could very well be the MVP on defense thus far.
I had the rare pleasure of watching this game with my father, who was in town on business. That means not only was I on the receiving end of some great lectures, including “so have you found a real job yet”, plus “why aren’t you taking better care of your car”, and who can forget that number one hit, “you need to put more money in your savings”, I also was able to drag him over to Busby’s for some rowdy football watching. As I watched my dad cover his face, and throw his hands up in anger, I was transported back to my days as a child. It’s nice to see that, although life undoubtedly brings change, watching the Bills with family restores a personal bond which stands the test of time and can really only be experienced, not explained. The high-fives, the hugs, and the heartache, it’s what brings us together.
Once again, the Bills were not able to get Lynch over 100 yards rushing. They will need to improve their running game if they have any hopes making and going deep in the playoffs. I’m not sure what the problem is, perhaps they’re trying to be too sophisticated. It would seem teams are still stacking the box, choosing to have Edwards beat them instead of Lynch. As Trent continues to improve, that might change how many times the opposition uses the run blitz to neutralize Marshawn.
For the second straight game, the Bills seemed caught off guard by the other team sending pressure. Edwards said after the game they played a completely different defense than they saw on film, I think he also mentioned the Raiders did the same thing. So maybe we should be flattered that teams are altering their game plan so drastically that the offense doesn’t recognize what is coming at them… or maybe Jason Peters should have reported to training camp on time. His play this season has me searching for Mike William’s phone number…assuming he isn’t trapped in a turned over SUV.
What was that wind-breaker Dick Juron (AKA Juron-a-saurus) was sporting? Did someone forget to tell him he was playing in a dome this weekend? Rumor has it Bill Belichek was watching at home, and even HE shuddered at that garment. Now, I am legally color-blind, but that thing looked gray. Where is THAT color on the Bills uniform? I don’t think that color has ever been on our uniforms. I think this jacket really spoke volumes about our coach. He’s not white, he’s not black, he’s a shade of gray. Even keeled, calm and collected, his demeanor never changes. That’s the beautiful thing about clothing; even the most hideous rags can be interpreted to be metaphorical. Regardless, Juron has this club playing good football and as long as that’s the case he could take the field in a black teddy and I’ll support him. (The visual will not be easily scrubbed from my memory)
Idiot Broadcaster Comment of the Game:
I didn’t get to hear a lot of the broadcast, but you can pretty much brand Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots’ broadcasts with “painful”. When these two guys get together to call a game, the reported incidents of self-inflicted injuries in which a utensil is jammed in the ear, rise significantly. No color commentator has a worse “keys to the game” segment than Willcot’s “Wisdom of Solomon”. I think it’s some kind of Biblical pun. Someone should tell Mr. Wilcots that if people wanted a piece of “The Good Book” instead of football, they would be sitting in a pew a few feet from a pastor, not in their recliner a few feet from fifty inches of high-definition excitement that even “The Almighty” has to tip his heavenly cap to.
The Bills continue to roll and are off to their best start since 1992. CBS flashed some highlights of Kelly and Reed beating up on the Pats which gave the Bills that fourth straight win. There have been many Bills moments we have tried to forget between then and now. I thought it might be fun to dig out some of the ones that we have buried deep in hopes of never revisiting.
Between 4-0 starts, may we never forget:
– Billy Joe Hobert coming off the bench, failing miserably, admitting after the game he didn’t bother to study the playbook, and then gets released the following day. What’s more embarrassing, having a QB who didn’t know the playbook, or having a QB on our roster named “Billy Joe”?
– Drew Bledsoe makes his Bills debut with a TD pass to Eric Moulds as time expires, tying the game and forcing over time against the East rival Jets. Jets win the coin toss and return the kick, for the second time, for a touchdown. Oh, the days of poor special teams. (Jon, we were there 🙁 )
– In 2001, unable to land a viable kicker after the departure of Steve Christie, the Bills sign unknown Jake Arians. Jake’s career as a Bill would only last ten games, but in that time he managed to do plenty of damage. Over that stretch he would make only 12 field goals out of 21 attempts (57%). Oh, he also mixed an extra point, but by then, who was still watching?
– Rob Johnson.
– Todd Collins battles Alex Van Pelt in what was surely the all-time NFL winner for “the most mediocre QB controversy ever”.
– Bills hire defensive mastermind Gregg Williams to be their head coach. The Bills start 0-4, and ironically play very little defense in those games.
– Mike Malarkey gives Bills fans a front row seat to watch a genius at work when he reveals his big coaching strategy is to feed the team cheeseburgers the night before a game. Try that one on for size, Belichek!
– Wade Phillips goes, 10-6, 11-5, and 8-8… and gets fired.
Well, we’re 4-0; I mean really, we’re going into week five without a loss. Enjoy it Bills fans, you might never get to experience it again! Have a good week; let’s get ready to feast on another aging QB this week in Glendale , Arizona .
Wins to go to prove Donte Whitner right (assuming 10 wins equals playoffs) : 6 !
Have a good week,