After Nicky's big win on Saturday (see post, below), I was pumped for the Buffalo Bills' home game against the mighty New England Patriots on Sunday. Ralph Wilson Stadium was filled to capacity. A stiff breeze brought a dazzling snowfall onto the gridiron, filling the air with festive flakes. It was a perfect winter Sunday for football, against an arch-rival, in our house. And yet, somehow, it was a recipe for a Buffalo Bills disaster. I shoulda known. I shouldn'a been surprised.
What went right for the Bills yesterday? Wide receiver Josh Reed caught a J.P. Lossman pass at midfield and eluded FOUR tacklers to go fifty yards for a touchdown. With about two minutes left in the game. With us behind by about a six touchdowns. Whoopee. That was it. The rest of the game--the part where the Bills' score was a big, fat ZERO--was pretty pathetic. The Pat's could do no wrong; the Bills could do no right. Sounds very one-sided, but that's an understatement. Our team has enjoyed some limited success at home lately, and last week's game was only lost in the closing minutes. This week's game was a shellacking, pure and simple.
So what went wrong? How does the same team that nearly defeated the Patriots on their home turf turn in an historically horrible performance here in Buffalo? I couldn't bear to listen to any of the post-game bullsh** to hear any of the standard excuses. Was it play-calling? Was it all J.P.'s fault: "he's young and inexperienced; he'll learn"? Did our defense let us down? Did we "fail to capitalize" on our red-zone opportunities? Was star wide-receiver Eric Moulds (suspended for last week's sideline side-show) sorely missed? Or should we blame this loss on our superstar running back, who didn't look too shiny yesterday? Yeah, that was it. Every one of those points are correct, and a dozen more. Too many to fix. To dreary to dissect any further.
All this leads to Saturday's big game, home again, against the best-in-their division Denver Broncos. It leads to empty seats for that game. Which leads to a television blackout, which is one of the last things this struggling team can afford. Fewer fans. Less enthusiasm, and little or no expectation of victory. Another year in which our Buffalo Bills aren't invited to the post-season party, not even as a wild-card. Even the best teams lose a game or three, especially on the road. But losses like the one we suffered on Sunday put the Bills on a list with teams you wouldn't pay to watch, and can't watch for free. That's not good for Buffalo, for business, for football or football fans. Big sigh. We'll get 'em next year. Yeah, that's it.
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