Last Monday night, the National Football League (NFL), aka the No Fun League, became the No Flag Larceny after a catastrophic series of mistakes by the lowly officials. It may have cost the Bills the game and their season.
There is no need to rehash the egregious rules violation by Dick Sherman, and the intolerable decisions of Walt Coleman and his crew, which stole three points from the Bills.
But the league, and the team, has many other NFL problems halfway through the NFL season.
NO FANS LEFT
It’s a shame, or a sham, that the ratings were way down for the league and then the most exciting game of the MNF schedule had to come to this comedy of errors on national television. What once seemed controversy-proof is now showing signs of weakness and not strength. Fans are fed up.
That’s the macro issue with the NFL. The micro NFL issues with the 2016 Buffalo Bills are…
NOT FRIGGIN’ LOOKING
The Bills defensive backfield been dismantled all season long, giving up gamebreaker after gamebreaker, and watching opponent receivers wildly run past them in the secondary. Ron Darby, darling of last year, was drubbed by the Seahawks all night long and benched. Rex Lyin said post game that Darby was ill, but the Bills may have just been sick of watching his play as he was also benched in practice this week for Corey White.
The loss of Aaron Williams from the felonious assault by the Dolphins next-con Jarvis Landry has crippled the safety play. This week, Dukey Williams was released in favor of veteran nobody James Ihedigbo, who apparently has trouble spelling his own name.
NO FOOTBALL LEADERSHIP
On the defensive side of the ball. Kyle Williams is again playing like a beast, as is Jerry Hughes. But overall the defense looks lost and that falls on the shoulders of Rex and his staff. Losing AWilliams clearly hurt. Marcel Dareus has been a no show for the entire year due to stupidities and injuries, and looks to return this week against the Bengals but there are rumblings the Bills front office is tiring of him.
NO FREAKIN’ LUCK
Except bad. The team seems cursed again by injuries, although it cannot be understated that good teams always seem to make their own good luck and bad teams always seem to suffer bad. In defense of the poor defensive back play, Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham made two total touchdowns with one total hand, the second of which was a spectacular, perhaps literally one in a million catch,
The Bills defense completely shut down the Seahags run game which gained a total of 33 yards, gave up less than 300 yards in offense, stopped 72% of third down tries, and yet gave up four touchdowns. Two of which were on the aforementioned freakish pass plays.
NEXT FRANCHISE LEADER
Tyrod Taylor had a whaley of a game and all but cemented his place as the Bills QB year. He was sharp and smart – running, passing, and as a leader. His critics will (rightfully) say that he needs to win games at the end like this before he can be considered a franchise type QB but on a national stage, against the best defense in the league, often playing without key parts, and even after Eric Wood hit the pine, Taylor was superb.
NEED FEEDING LESEAN
Shady McCoy was back with a vengeance and shook off his nagging hamstring issue with his trademark cutbacks. While Dizzy Gilislee is a terrific backup and also showed well, the Bills offense is noticeably different and more explosive with McCoy on the field.
The Bills, with all of their injuries and problems and questionable leadership on and off the field, are on pace to score the third most points in franchise history.
NICE FOOTBALL LESSON
Robert Woods is good. The Bills will have to pay to keep him for next year but they should pony up. Percy Harvin didn’t play much but expressed this week he feels like playing next year, too. Marquis Goodwin actually made multiple NFL wide receiver type plays and catches and talents. The Bills have a lot of decisions to make at WR for this year and next.
‘NOTHER FOOT LOST
The Bills have been crippled by the loss of Sammy Watkins to a foot injury, and Swat is not yet practicing although he is able to return week 12. But the team suffered another massive loss when Eric Wood went down with a foot injury and is now lost for the season. It is a crushing blow to the offensive line and O as a whole.
NEW FEARS LEARNED
The bye week turned out to be a Bill Killer without the team even playing a game as the AFC teams the Bills will be fighting for a wild card spot keep winning. The team’s chances for the playoffs are dwindling quickly.
But this week the Bills returns to the field to take on the whimpering, limping, disastrous Cincinnati Benghazis, who at 3-5-1 are all but done for the season. This should be a win, and jumpstart the Bills on their long-shot quest to get back in the hunt.
So come on down to the madhouse on Santa Monica for some pre-turkey toasts, cold Labatt Blues, free wings at halftime, and a guaranteed Bills’ victory, in the NEW-ERA FIELD LOCK of the week.
By Pete Rosen