31-17 Bills over the Dolphins? Hardly. That game was one of the most difficult to watch in the last decade. From my vantage point in Section 331, you could see the Dolphins in the backfield on every play in their base defense. You could see that, even though the score was close, our offense was terrible. Cornell Green, Trent Edwards, and Chris Kelsay were completely overmatched in every aspect of their games. (I’d throw Betty White in for any of those guys and feel better about her ability to contribute.) Frankly, given those two pick-sixes that the Dolphins inexplicably dropped, the score shouldn’t have even been close in the first place.
The only thing that saved the opening weekend was fantastic food at Gabriel’s Gate, Anchor Bar, and Duffs, my friend winning $5,000 on a penny slot jackpot, and the fact that it didn’t rain during the game.
So we fast forward, past the thumping we received at the hands of the Packers, and learn that Chan Gaily is going to put Fitzy in at QB, quickly putting Trent out of his misery. Personally, I’m a Brian Brohm fan and wish he was getting the start, but anyone is better than Trent at this point. He never quite recovered from that concussion in Arizona. I always hoped he would have a Charlie Sheen-esque moment a la Major League, where he puts on a new pair of glasses and can suddenly see down the field. But it was not to be. Trent joins a long list of failed Bills prospects at QB that could play well in practice or in preseason, but never when it mattered. (There’s a great ESPN.com article this week by David Fleming on how perfectly putrid the Bills’ QB situation has been since Kelly left. Seeing it spelled out like that really makes it all seem that much more depressing…)
So what do we have to build on heading into Foxboro this Sunday? We still have to figure out what to do with our front seven (Ellis is a nice surprise, Maybin and Kelsay are just awful). We have to figure out what to do with our running backs (you can’t start CJ one week and then practically bench him the next; he either was your number one draft pick and a guy you wanted to focus your offense on, or he wasn’t.) We have to hope Fitzy has a bit more pocket presence (what good was Trent’s arm strength anyway if he never through more than 6 yards?) We need to blitz more and hit Brady repeatedly, as he’ll pick apart our base defense mercilessly; knocking him out of the game, even if the Pats were up by 50 points would put a smile on my face.
And we need to hold out hope that our team can show some signs of life, because right now they’re flat-lining. Admittedly, when the score was 13-7 going into the half against Green Bay, you had to wonder whether we were about to see a competitive game where the Bills should have been overmatched. Then we imploded. So what I’m hoping for is a game in New England where we show a little progress. On offense – more commitment to the running game, snappy crossing routes, and better play from our right tackle. On defense – more blitzing, containing Wes Welker, and hitting Tom Brady at every opportunity. On special teams – getting CJ or Roscoe to take it the house on at least one return.
We don’t have to win. We just need to show we belong in the same league as the 31 other teams. I can’t stand looking up at the Raiders and the Lions. Prediction is a blow out with a silver lining – Pats 42, Bills 17, but Fitzy isn’t awful and Brady gets hit a lot. It’s amazing how little it takes to make me happy as a Bills fan; when winning isn’t an option, now I just focus on the quality of the loss.