The stars were aligned. The Bills were just off an uber-frustrating loss to an unbeaten team, but for the first time this year were to have (almost) their complete defense back, their two running backs (mostly) healthy, and their (rookie) franchise QB returning—against an aging Steeler team on the ropes. We were all getting excited about Bills football again.
And then another complete and utter collapse by our beloved and beloathed.
Okay, so we all should have.
The Steelers were ripe to be beat and they picked us apart, in the most rotten game the Bills played, by far—and now we’re right back to the bottom of the pile up.
If a fortnight ago against the Chiefs was awful; this was way worse. The running game was three inches and a cloud of dust. The OL was O-lay! as the Steelers defensive linemen stampeded through Bills’ blockers not only as if they were charging bulls through red capes, but more like the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
E.J. Manuel made Jeff Stuel look like Jeff Garcia in his prime. EJ was ohmygod-awful for an entire game and we are now left hoping this was an aberration, and praying that this was rust and not primer.
Some will say his inaccuracy goes all the way back to his Florida State days, and yet he left FSU as the second most accurate passer in ACC History at 66.9%, and last year completed 49% of his long balls. Manuel looked uncomfortable, and was aiming the ball, not stepping up and throwing.
But against Pittsburgh he had all the accuracy of a U.S. Senator quoting facts.
And as bad as the offense was, the defense was worse. Stephon Gilmore played like a Gilmore Girl, his worst game as a pro. Jerry Hughes had two sacks and without even watching him I’m pretty sure those were the only two good plays of the game. Jairus Byrd had an early, heady INT on the first possession and then made an early exit from being a factor in the game. Kiko Alonzo made a bunch of Poz-esque tackles six yards from the LOS. Manny Lawson may have a lawsuit against him for impersonating a linebacker.
And as bad as the offense and defense was, the coaching was worse. The team was outplayed, outcoached, and inept across the board and all over the field. Mike Pettine was left scratching his head. The team wasn’t prepared and seemed to have poor game plans on both sides of the ball. Doug Maroon made a few gross miscalculations and for the first time looked over his head.
This week, the stinking Jets come into town with (I Dream of) Geno Smith, who been bewitching both defensive coordinators and his own coaches/fans in alternate weeks as if in an alternate universe. They signed an aging Ed Reed late this week, for reasons unclear, outside of the fact that he used to be good.
Revenge is on the Bills mind after an early season debacle against New Jersey’s (second) finest, and our heroes are ready to surprise us.
Whether it’s with a turnaround win or an even more frustrating effort is yet to be seen. But come on down to the Bison Dome in a show of support with the diehards.