A win is a win in the NFL and a road win is especially tough.
At least that’s what we have been brainwashed to believe after 14 years of futility and frustration. And while most Bills fans were thrilled with a win last week, except the Tank for Tards crowd, this one still left us wanting and wondering.
Game 14 of the 2013 season was a microcosm of the entire 2013 season.
EJ Manuel started off like he left off in Tampa last week, wilting in the hot sun and heated pressure. Then he suddenly regained his confidence and throwing motion, and effectively managed the game and a win.
This game was a microcosm of Manuel’s rookie season, too. Very slow start to the game. Some horrible and inexplicable inaccuracy. Unwillingness to go downfield. Trouble on third downs. And yet then the good EJ showed up, too, and efficiently pulled out a win with some timely completions and touchdowns. He ended the game with a very nice if not generous 105 passer rating.
And, oh right, he got hurt.
EJ tweaked his knee, the third time this year a knee injury has sidelined him, and he will now miss this coming Dolphin game. The jury is still out on our savior as a franchise QB after a fairly good start. He needs to stay on the field, he needs to be smarter with the ball, he needs to be more accurate.
Fred Ex and CJ Spiller each had their moments and their struggles, also indicative of their seasons, although as a team the Bills rushed for about 200 yards. The offensive line was better but not well. Robert Woods has become Manual’s favorite and most reliable target. Stevie had his third straight poor game, although he had a legitimate reason after losing his mother unexpectedly prior to the game. He missed practice this week and may miss the Dolphin game, too.
In keeping with the microcosmic theme, several defenders had solid games and/or spectacular plays, including Aaron Williams, a former whipping boy who has turned into a solid safety, and former whipping boy, Leodis McLuvin, who has turned into a solid cover cornerback. Nickel Robey had two highlight reel plays including a strip and a sack late in the game. Stephon Gilmore was cool all day and iced the game with an endzone INT late in the fourth.
The Bills pass rush, which leads the league in sacks, had five for the game. Sack machine Jerry Hughes has been a steal for sad sack Kelvin Sheppard, and registered his ninth of the season, even in a relatively limited role.
And yet we wanted more.
This season has been particularly frustrating because there was a lot of promise, a lot of new faces, a lot more talent it seemed. But this game, like the whole season, we just didn’t look good at all for long stretches. Our defense was gashed at times by mediocre talent, and our offense sputtered at times against an inferior defense. Our coaches didn’t have answers and had suspect game plans or in game adjustments and play calls. A lot of players made singularly nice plays and even sacks, turnovers and touchdowns, and yet we almost lost to the Jags.
We beat a team we should have beat, even if they had won three in a row, and yet we didn’t look like we could beat a good team, which we strive to be. The third last game of the season was the embodiment of the 2013 season and left us wanting and yearning for more, even with a win.
But this is Miami week, and the Dolphins are on a roll after beating the Patsies. The Fins will be fluttering in potential flurries as two hot and cold teams will be facing off at the Ralph. Come on down to Busby’s for hot chicken wings and cold beer, as we hope this win will be a hotwire to next year, with promises of good things to come.