The Due Bills


At the conclusion of tonight’s Monday Night Football game featuring the Green Bay Packers vs. the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle head coach Peter Carroll referenced a similar situation happening back when he coached the New England Patriots. He was in a prime time game (I think) against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots WR caught a pass clearly out of bounds — both of his feet came down inside the white line, yet it was ruled a catch. This predates instant replay and became a talking point in defense of it since the Patriots won on a last second TD as a result. The Bills didn’t line up for the PAT they were so disgusted and Carroll, smirking on the sideline, went for two.

I wish more details can be recalled but the most vidid memory I have of the loss besides the catch is the image on my fuzzy TV of Carroll on the sideline. Man, he burned me up that night. Remembering it now, it still tugs at my insides. Him laughing with that cocky grin, putting his two fingers up. The Pats lining up opposite nobody and jogging the ball in for two. I want to punch him.

OK, not really — hitting people over sports is silly but the poor sportsmanship gets to me.

He didn’t act that way tonight, defeating the Packers. He didn’t go for two here, either, as Green Bay came back onto the field and lined up for the PAT. They all had to be pissed. The refs blew a major simultaneous possession call on a hail mary pass which cost Green Bay the game. Not as blunderful as the Bills/Pats no-call, but worse since the play tonight ended the game.

Why the hell is this allowed in the NFL? If the call is blatantly off and another play hasn’t been run it should be reversed. The only danger is making sure this isn’t abused by every play getting reviewed. It’s felt like that these last few weeks, killing the pace of the game for the players on the field, but worse, the calls are bad. Really bad.

Anyway, go Bills! Go Falcons!

I found this ticket in a stack of stuff in my old room while visiting home last month. Pure nostalgia.

The worst NFL game ever played was on Sunday, December 16 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio featuring the Buffalo Bills vs. the Cleveland Browns.

I was at this game with my dad, the only Bills away game I’ve ever seen live, and while the game was horrendous with the final score being 8-0 Cleveland, it was a memorable experience with my dad and one I’ll likely never forget. It was cold, with the temperature starting in the low 30s and creeping down to the 20s as the game went on. Humidity was around 80% and the windchill had to be at least 20 degrees with the stadium sitting right on Lake Erie. I remember when we left my coat had become a frozen shell of refuge around my body. The snow was so thick by kickoff it blanketed the entire field and obstructed vision to the point from where I was sitting I could barely make out the Buffalo players in their white away jerseys.

We arrived in Cleveland the day before to check out the NFL Hall of Fame, and the morning of the game the weather was normal. We tailgated in a parking garage (Cleveland doesn’t have many options being downtown and on the Lake) and with a nice layer of alcohol and meat product warming our blood, my dad and I headed inside. That’s when the snow started coming down hard. We sat in the uppermost level, nice and high, which didn’t help our field of vision.

The game saw two Browns field goals and a safety when Buffalo punter Brian Moorman fumbled the snap or something and ended up kicking the ball out his own endzone. Clearly he was being reactionary and the white glaze may have gotten to his head to do something like that, but yeah, it was a difficult game to watch both literally and figuratively.

And I have to say — Browns fans were not nice people. One would think a game with weather like that would bring fans of two North Eastern teams together in the spirit of football, but no. We were being blasted with snowballs the entire time and on our way out people would say things to my dad and I like “Hope your drive home takes forever,” or “Hope you get in an accident” and other shit like that (the drive did take us around 6 hours to get back, roughly double what it should have). More snowballs and ice chunks found their way towards us, too, as we exited the stadium. This all pissed me off because Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. was one of the few owners who backed Cleveland when the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens. I’ve heard, but have not been able to confirm via the internet, Wilson even went as far as to shuttle hundreds of Browns fans to Buffalo to watch the first ever Bills/Ravens game in Western New York. If that’s true… jeez, Browns fans.

Believe me — I’m all about taking a sound ribbing for the teams I cheer for, it’s a given being a Bills fan in today’s world, but wishing death on someone over a sport is asinine. I had a great time — don’t get me wrong — but I have a marred view of Browns fans in their own house.

I understand why they’d be angry, though. People think the Bills are bad, but damn, the Browns have a history littered with only bad. They’ve never been to the big dance, the Super Bowl. At least the Bills have some tasty sprinkles in their history — like four Super Bowls in a row and a decade of solid play (come back 1990s!). Woof woof.

What makes this loss even worse is the following season on November 17, 2008 the Bills had a chance at redemption, playing the Browns on Monday Night Football at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. I was at that one too and the Bills lost 29-27 on the final play of the game — a field goal.

Total suck.

Snapped this from the parking lot of the Ralph, walking in for MNF!

From our seats in the 300 level. 0-0. Back when anything was possible.

The NFL season is about to begin (unless you’re a Dallas Cowboys or New York Giants fan), and I have elevated expectations for my two teams yet there’s an unshakeable nagging worry with both of them.

First off, some logic. There are 32 NFL teams. Chances are yours won’t win the big dance which means you’re likely going to experience the feeling of defeat early on or a heartbreaking loss shortly thereafter. Don’t get too mad over sports my friends. The athletes don’t know you nor give a crap about you or your life, so don’t ruin your belongings or relationships or reputation over something so trivial.

On that note, if the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons both lose today I’m sobbing into my brown cat, Noah because he’s the fat one. The Bills should destroy the Jets and the Falcons should take care of the Chiefs.

Beyond today, both the Bills and Falcons will improve on what they accomplished last season, but there are still relevant worries. For the Bills the most prominent is history. Every season the franchise pulls a Star Wars voodoo move, successfully instilling a sense of false hope in its fan base in lieu of complete befuddlement seasons prior — and the first half of the season is usually entertaining with the team hot out of the gate. Then they implode in the most mind numbing, hair pulling, mouth agape ways while all your buddies pat your back with a look of “aww, sorry man” in their Steelers and Patriots faces. The Buffalo Bills are the kid who has all the heart but, well, sorry kid — you can’t cut it with the big boys.

As for the Falcons, this is Matt Ryan’s year. I mean that in the sense if he doesn’t go deep into the post season the Falcons should begin to consider other options as insurance. Matt Ryan is awesome. He’s the best QB the Atlanta Falcons franchise has had in its 46 year history. He has not won a playoff game in his NFL career. This is his fifth season so it needs to happen now with all the pieces on the table — they need to be utilized effectively. I have faith and think the Falcons have a solid chance at making the NFC Championship game in 2012. Unfortunately, home field advantage has been anything but for them in the post season and the road to the Super Bowl will likely lie in the strongest of hostile territory. The last two years the Falcons were totally obliterated by the eventual Super Bowl Champions, Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.

Anyway, it’s going to be a great season to watch for all teams involved. For the first time it truly feels like every franchise has a story line going on worth talking about.

Go Bills! Go Falcons!

*To all the Europeans who clicked this link expecting something else — I apologize.

**Photos from Boston.com & ESPN.com

Bills Minicamp Football

… oh wait, that’s no zombie- it’s team owner Ralph Wilson Jr!

kemptowarlick1w650The Geek Sheet is a new feature here at MintConditionPublishing.com that features interesting facts and information on geeky subjects; like sports, sci-fi, comic books, etc. The Geek Sheet segment will be popping up on a regular basis, so think of it as an online geek encyclopedia. Some entries may be longer than others, but all are bona fide geektastic!

  • While the statement “the Buffalo Bills have never won a Super Bowl” is true, the statement that they have “never won a championship” is false. Before the NFL merged with the AFL in 1966, the Buffalo Bills were AFL Champions in 1964 and 1965. They destroyed the San Diego Chargers in both games: 20-7, 23-0.
  • The Buffalo Bills are the only NFL team to play in New York State. Both the New York Jets and the New York Giants play their games in East Rutherford, New Jersey right outside of New York City.
  • The Litany Against Fear as published in the sci-fi epic Dune, by Frank Herbert :

I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

  • An excerpt from the Dune Encyclopedia: Crysknife: A knife, whose blade consisted of a single tooth of a giant sandworm, considered most sacred by the Fremen. No off-worlder who saw one of the weapons, could be permitted, by Fremen law, to leave Arrakis without the Fremen’s consent. Once the blade was drawn from it’s sheath, it could not be returned unblooded, even if the blood it drew had to be the user’s own; to do otherwise was to insult Shai-Hulud and risk bringing his wrath on all Fremen. The blade is milky white, some twenty centimeters in length, which gave the impression of glowing in dim light– a sandworm’s tooth. The teeth were obtainable only when the Fremen found the remains of a dead sandworm. When such a find was made, as many teeth as could safely be carried were removed and taken back to the group’s sietch for blessing and manufacture into knives.

fremenThere are two types of crysknives: fixed and unfixed. A fixed blade, which could be stored for an indefinite period of time, was treated by exposure to a series of electric currents, which ‘fixed’ the blade’s electric field and kept it static. An unfixed blade remained stable only so long as it remained in contact with a living human body; deprived of exposure to that body’s electric field, it weakened and crumbled within a matter of hours. This type of blade was most commonly used by Fremen, since it was not wished that anyone should be able to obtain a crysknife by looting Fremen bodies; Fremen who could see that they were either going to be captured, or die in battle without sufficient time elapsing for their blades to disintegrate, shattered them on the nearest hard object.

The tip, the hollow once occupied by the tooth’s nerve, customarily held a small amount of the most deadly poison available, most often a mixed derivative of the native desert plants. Fremen usually attempted to avoid killing a respected enemy with the tip of the blade; poison was considered a weapon more suitable for use against animals than humans.

The mounting of the blade into the handle was patterned on the kindjal, a type of long knife popular throughout the empire, with a blade of almost identical length to that of the crysknife. Where they differed was in the shearing-guard: the kindjal generally boasted a stout guard, while the crysknife had only the raised lips of its round handle, where it joined the blade, to protect it’s user’s hand. Most authorities believe that the earliest crysknives were deliberately constructed to mimic the kindjal, a blade the Fremen were already familiar with from their many generations of service in the empire. The later changes, including the elimination of the shearing-guard, came about when the crysknife became a truly unique weapon rather than a native imitation of an off-world knife.

Considerable mythology surrounded the blades. Fremen cherished their crysknives, giving them names that were kept secret even to other troop members, protecting them from harm with their own lives. Even after the owner’s death, the crysknife was treated differently from all other possessions. A crysknife handle was the only thing that was taken to the Funeral Plain for ‘burial’ after it’s owner’s water was returned to the tribe. The one exception to this custom was in the case of a crysknife whose blade shattered during a fight. Fremen superstition held in such cases that the person had somehow offended Shai-Hulud, who had retaliated by withdrawing the strength from the tooth.

593A good deal of history surrounds crysknives as well. The initial acceptance of Paul Muad’Dib Atreides among the Fremen, for example, came about when his mother, the Lady Jessica, was tested by the Shadout Mapes and deemed worthy of possessing a crysknife. The original Duncan Idaho, who had proved himself in Stilgar’s sietch, was also allowed to keep one of the sacred blades.

The blade that has attracted the most historical attention, however, is undoubtedly that mounted in Muad’Dib’s crysknife. When the first Atreides emperor – in the guise of The Preacher – was killed, his son took his crysknife for his own. In the centuries that followed, Leto II made frequent ceremonial use of the blade, culminating in it’s use in Siaynoq. In addition, The God Emperor controlled the tiny supply of the knives which still remained during the last centuries of his rule, while his Museum Fremen carried out the old rituals with them utterly ignorant of the true reasons for their actions. The fact that one of them would copy a crysknife for sale to Siona Atreides illustrates the degeneration of the customs; no true Fremen would have permitted such a thing for any reason, least of all personal gain. Muad’Dib’s crysknife, then, could be seen as the last of it’s kind – a blade carried by one who knew the traditions and myths that held it apart from more common, less holy weapons.

While the old Fremen might have disapproved of the use to which The God Emperor put their leader’s crysknife, they would certainly have approved of the level; of veneration which surrounded it.

The word is out; the Buffalo Bills will meet the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium to signal the start of Monday Night Football on September 14, 2009. Bills fans knew that the addition of Terrell Owens would bring the team more attention in the national spotlight, but who would have thought the season premiere of Monday Night Football was in the cards!?

As expected, Buffalo fans have mixed emotions about the announcement. Here are some immediate reactions on the pros and cons of the situation:

tom_brady_doucheCONS

-The game is in New England.

-While Owens and Brady will be the talk of the game, inevitably the broadcast is going to turn into a Tom Brady love fest. With this being his first game back from suffering a knee injury in week 1 of the 2008 season, and Brady’s return taking place in New England the stage has been set. Also, it’s almost a given that somehow Teddy Bruschi will be highlighted as well. (I hate those guys.)

-Owens would probably very vocal after a blow out…

-The major con really boils down to this; the New England Patriots have totally dominated the Buffalo Bills over the last decade. From the Bills defeating the Pats only once in the new millennium (September 7, 2003/31-0), to the disaster that was Drew Bledsoe, to embarrassing prime time losses, the Patriots have slapped an “owned” label on Buffalo. Check out these depressing facts:

  • The Bills are 1-17 against the Patriots in the new millennium.
  • Buffalo has played New England 4 other times on prime time TV over the last 14 years. Here are the results:
  1. Monday Night, October 23, 1995 @ New England: 14-27 loss
  2. Sunday Night, October 27, 1996 @ New England: 25-28 loss
  3. Sunday Night, November 14, 2004 @ New England: 6-29 loss
  4. Sunday Night, Nov. 18, 2007 @ Buffalo: 10-56 loss (the worst defeat in franchise history)

-To continue with the history lesson, the previous two Monday Night Football appearances by Buffalo were some of the worst moments in recent Bills history. The 25-24 loss to the Dallass Cowboys on Nick Folk’s last second field goal in 2007, and Rian Lindell’s wide right kick in last season’s despicable 27-29 loss to the Cleveland Browns(tains), have become this generation of Bills fans’ Forward Lateral and Wide Right. (This humbled writer was present at the Cleveland game and, wow. What a bummer.)  The Patriots now have the opportunity to send Buffalo packing for the third straight year on Monday Night Football.

terrell_owens-2PROS

-Well, the reverse angle of this is that, hey, the Bills will be on Monday Night Football three years in a row! What fan doesn’t want to see their team get a prime time slot? Given how the Bills closed out last season, this is a boon for the team and it’s fans (especially since before T.O. appeared, the prospect of a Buffalo prime time game was all too laughable).

-More media attention for Buffalo and it’s Bills is always a good thing.

-If somehow the Bills can get over the hump and actually defeat New England, talk about a way to start off the season! What a momentum surge: poo-pooing on Brady’s return to the Pats, at home, and on national TV. Kick. Ass.

-If the Bills were to win, one can only imagine that Terrell Owens would play a major role in the victory. That would be a great way for T.O. to make his Buffalo debut by burning New England at home and helping to erase Buffalo’s 11 game, 5 and a half year losing streak to the Pats.

-The Pats and Bills will be donning their throwback AFL jerseys for the game. This should mentally return Bills fans to a time when Buffalo dominated New England. Happy days.

For the Bills, the 2008 season ended with a gutless 13-0 home loss to the Patriots. They have now been given the opportunity to make a statement to themselves, their fans, and the rest of the NFL that the Buffalo Bills are back and ready to compete. Brady, Welker, Moss, and Maroney had better watch out, because here comes Edwards, Evans, Owens, and Lynch!

Oh, and to the T.O. haters who are speculating why he has missed the first few days of a voluntary training session set to last 12 weeks with the Bills, chill out. Owens has been preparing for his appearance as an honored guest at the Alzheimer’s Association 6th Annual Gala in Washington, D.C. this evening. So chew on that.

Go Bills!

owens811Terrell Owens will wear the number 81 for the Buffalo Bills this season, and the news has sent some sports fans into an outrage. The number was previously worn by rookie wide receiver, James Hardy.

Like a cat waiting for the mouse to poke it’s head out a hole, Owens haters have sprung their unfounded jim-jam on the situation; claiming that Owens is already causing locker room conflicts by wanting the number. Hardy who had a mere 9 receptions for 87 yards and 2 TD’s in his over-hyped first season, will now wear #84. The Buffalo Bills have yet to report whether or not T.O. has compensated Hardy for the number (which is commonly done in the NFL), or if Hardy was told to surrender it.

Either way, who cares? Terrell Owens deserves to wear the digits he has worn his entire professional career of 13 years. Considering Hardy will likely miss a chunk of the beginning of the season due to reconstructive knee surgery, Owens deserves the number all the more. Still, the Owens haters can’t help but spread their speculations, putting a negative spin on T.O.’s need for numerical continuity. Let’s venture into imaginary fun land for a moment and assume that Trent Edwards wore #4 and Brett Favre signed with the Bills. Would anyone care if Favre requested to keep the number that has been his identity for his entire professional career? I doubt it.

So why is T.O. any different?

To the people who are mad because they just spent money on a new James Hardy jersey, I ask you this: What the hell were you doing buying a James Hardy jersey in the first place? Is Lee Evans not good enough for you?… or Trent Edwards? What about Marshawn Lynch, Roscoe Parrish, Paul Posluszny, or Kawika Mitchell? All are far better options for a jersey purchase over James Hardy. You should look on this as punishment for buying a jersey based on speculated talent as opposed to proven talent. 

So wipe your butts Owens haters, you’re leaking brown stuff all over the Bills new look!

What does the worlds most notorious villain think about Terrell Owens signing with the Buffalo Bills? Find out for yourself:

While I may not agree with everything that is said on this video about the signing, it is absolutely hilarious!! Bravo to whoever put this together!

Bills Owens Football

118-mccoy_sports_billsstandaloneprod_affiliate502Let me begin our discussion by reminding you that the Buffalo Bills have not made the playoffs in the new millennium and are going on 10 straight years without a post season appearance. This horrible statistic is second only to the Detroit Lions.

Bills fans, please keep these facts in the front of your mind as you proceed to read further.

Terrell Owens is now a Buffalo Bill.

The five time All-Pro wide receiver has signed a one year deal worth $6.5 million to don the red, white, and blue in Western New York. As a Bills fan, I couldn’t be happier. The signing of Owens, even for only one season, is a positive on so many levels that his main criticism of being a locker room cancer is almost irrelevant.

Here are some immediate reactions to negative opinions on the acquisition of Owens:

“Terrel Owens is a locker room cancer. He is going to tear the team apart!” To the people who think this way, let me remind you that the same thing was said about Randy Moss when he signed with the New England Patriots, and look how that turned out. Also realize that the Bills are no strangers to controversy in the locker room. Maybe controversy on a high school level when compared to T.O., but controversy nonetheless. Between the Willis McGahee drama, the Edwards/Losman conflict, and the outrage geared toward head coaches Dick Jauron, (and former coaches) Mike Mularkey, and Gregg Williams, the Bills have spent some time experiencing their own off field issues. Oops! I forgot to mention Marshawn Lynch’s hit and run and misdemeanor weapons possession charge over the last two years… If you’re among the fans who think T.O. is only going to ruin the Bills chances of success due to his personality issues, I ask you this: How have the Bills fared on the field all these years without T.O.? After nearly a decade of watching the Bills be monumental losers (especially after this season) Owens can open his notorious big mouth all he wants as along as he’s making plays and helping the Bills win games. Besides, if he does turn out to be the dreaded ‘cancer’ the majority of the world perceives him to be, he’s gone at the end of the season, no strings attached. I want a Championship in Buffalo, and T.O. helps the Bills get one step closer to that ultimate goal.

“This is an outrage! I refuse to buy a Bills ticket if Owens is on the team!” While you may not be the only fan who thinks this way, you’re probably in the minority. With the addition of Owens, the Bills have become a far more marketable team, and to be frank, won’t really need your ticket money. The Bills now have a serious (instead of hopeful) shot at getting multiple prime time games, and if that happens, ticket sales won’t be an issue. With the dying economy and the way last season ended, Bills owner Ralph Wilson had to do something to keep interest in the club in both Western New York and Toronto, Canada. The Bills first game in Toronto, was an unmitigated disaster. People had shelled out thousands of dollars to go to the game, and they weren’t even rewarded with a touchdown from the ‘home’ team. The Bills still have four more game dates with Toronto, and after last seasons embarrassing performance against the Dolphins, why would Canadians want to pay even $5 to see a crappy team try and play football? Terrell Owens now gives them a reason to come back. Besides, when was the last time a Bills jersey topped the sales charts? … anyone?

“Owens is only using the Bills as a springboard for opportunities to go elsewhere in 2010.” Assuming this becomes fact, who cares. Buffalo picked up QB Trent Edwards, RB Marshawn Lynch, LB Paul Posluszny, and WR James Hardy to be better later. T.O. makes the Bills better now. “I think Buffalo gave themselves a buzz [last season]. They were hot at the beginning of the season. They didn’t finish well. But with someone like myself, I can come in and add that extra piece and we can get over the hump,” said Owens, and I agree with him. If he wants to come to Buffalo and bring success to the team only to say next February, “See everyone! I can play for a bad club and make it elite. I’m available. Who wants to pay for me?”, so be it. If he left in 2010 after a successful 2009, Owens still has done a service to the Bills as other free agents will look on Buffalo as a team that can actually win. So even if he splits after a successful 2009-2010 campaign, he has still bolstered Buffalo’s reputation in the NFL. 

“We don’t need Owens. We’ve got Evans!” Since the departure of veteran WR Eric Moulds, Lee Evans hasn’t developed into the #1 WR Bills fans hoped he’d be. His average play can be faulted on both himself and the Buffalo coaching staff for not giving him enough looks to be effective. He’s also had trouble when being double covered, but with Owens on the opposite sideline, Lee can hopefully up his game. Last season Evans had 63 receptions for 1,017 yards and 3 TD’s, the fewest of his career. Owens caught 69 passes for 1,052 yards and 10 TD’s. With these two guys catching passes for the Bills, the club now has two of the top 15 players in yards per catch during the 2008 season. Evans was 10th and Owens was 15th. One could argue that Owens drops too many passes, as he’s led the league in that stat for the last two years. The counter point to this is that logically, the more balls you have thrown to you, the more you’re going to drop. The other league leaders in dropped passes are WR’s Braylon Edwards, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Bowe, all of whom have had solid performances in the last few seasons. With Evans and Owens as QB Trent Edwards’ top two targets, the Bills WR depth chart went from less than average to a threatening unit that deserves respect. Go-to man Josh Reed and the shifty speed demon Roscoe Parrish are ideal #3 and #4 wide receivers, and if things go well, Owens could serve as a valuable mentor to sophomore WR’s, Steve Johnson and (more importantly) James Hardy. Hardy failed to deliver on the high expectations that were placed on him after being drafted by Buffalo in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft. He had a mere 87 yards and 2 TDs in the 14 games he played last season. If he’s up to it, Owens can help the sophomore get those stats up. With Hardy’s development taking longer than expected, the Bills needed another WR and Owens was easily the best one available on the market (he was on a list that featured Jabar Gaffney, Laveranues Coles, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Michael Clayton, and Hank Baskett). To put your mind at ease, Evans was both excited and surprised about the move, saying “It’s definitely a good feeling that they (the Bills) went out and got him.” 

“Terrel Owens isn’t a team player. His personality doesn’t fit with the system.” I agree with these statements. However, Dick Jauron’s ‘system’ has been less than mediocre as the Bills have gone 7-9 for three straight seasons. Owens’ personality may not fit the system, but lets face it, Buffalo’s system sucks. Owens is the spark the Bills need to be competitive and as mentioned above, he can help develop this young team into a squad of solid players. In addition to helping the Buffalo WR core, he’ll hopefully help the development of Trent Edwards as the young QB now has a handful of dependable targets with which to take shots down field. Edwards has proven that he has what it takes to be an elite quarterback in the NFL, provided he has a team around him and stays healthy. Said Edwards of Owens: “I am really excited about the addition of Terrell Owens to our team. We spoke earlier and both look forward to working hard this off season. We share the common goal of winning football games. His ability and experience will add to our offense and the weapons we already have.”Don’t forget that T.O. is second only to Jerry Rice with 951 career receptions and 139 TD’s. 

“What does the rest of the nation think?” Here are some poll results I found on espn.com and wgr550.com: 

What impact will Terrell Owens have on the Bills: 43% mostly positive, 36% mostly negative, 21% no significant impact (302,960 votes).

Do you think signing Owens was the right move for the Bills: 76% yes, 24% no.

Where will Terrell Owens be at the start of the 2010 season: 46% with the Bills, 46% with another NFL team, 8% out of the NFL (25, 354 votes).

How will the Bills fare in 2009: 49% borderline playoff team, 25% around .500, 22% legitimate AFC contender, 4% double-digit losses (17, 454 votes).

“The Bills won’t make the playoffs with T.O.” I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement. Sure, T.O. never won a playoff game with Dallas, but he helped bring them to two, one of which was a home game (please recall the very first points I made in this article). One of those losses lies solely on the shoulders of Cowboy QB Tony Romo, as he flubbed the hold of a Dallas 19 yard field goal attempt down 1 point with just over a minute to play. Like all Bills fans, I want a post season appearance in this decade, and Terrell Owens can help the Bills get there. The last time Buffalo was in the playoffs, I was 15. I am now 24. Deservedly, the Bills are categorized as one of the leagues worst, alongside teams like the Lions, the Browns, the Raiders, and formerly the Arizona Cardinals. Owens gives the Bills the star power they need in today’s NFL: the Patriots have Tom Brady, the Colts have Peyton Manning, the Chargers have LaDainian Tomlinson, and now the Bills have Terrell Owens. Like T.O. said in his first press conference with the Buffalo media:

“I’m leaving America’s Team to come to North America’s Team. Get ready.”

Terrell, Bills fans have never been more ready for success, so get your popcorn out; welcome to Buffalo T.O.

Go Bills!

09000d5d80d1e103_gallery_6001Instead of boring my readers with a game analysis of the Buffalo Bills 16-3 loss against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, I’ve decided to take a different approach to this week’s article. Below is a list of quotes from players, fans, and sports writers about the events that took place at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. If you’re a Bills fan you don’t want to reminisce about the game anyway, and if you’re a Dolphins fan I hate you and don’t want you reading my blog.

So sit back, relax, and prepare to get pissed:

Reactions from the Miami Dolphins

“Obviously we came up here and Toronto was new scenery for us. But we went out and saw the people in aqua and orange and it made a pretty big difference. You don’t feel like you’re playing an away game and you’re excited for the support.” – Ronnie Brown, RB

“I got kind of emotional during the national anthem (when fans began singing). It (O Canada) is a beautiful song and I hadn’t heard it in a while. It wasn’t clear who the home team was and that’s nice for us.” – Ricky Williams, RB

“Hey, people here are tough. They’re hockey fans and they get into it. It was just good to see that kind of support for us.” – Ronnie Brown, RB

“It was crazy because we heard cheering for Buffalo and then we heard a lot of cheering for us. I didn’t really know what the fans were doing. I would definitely play here over Buffalo any day.” – Will Allen, CB

Reactions from the Buffalo Bills

“It was cool, it was fun but Buffalo fans are a lot more rowdy. We could have used that rowdiness today.” – Marcus Stroud, DT

“It’s frustrating even more because we know we have the talent and we have the want to and drive and work ethic. We do everything we’re asked. But for some reason we still have to find a way to win whatever it takes. Guys are at a loss of words because of the outcome” – J.P. Losman, QB

“Obviously, the NFL is about making money. If that is what they are doing, that’s what they are doing.” – Kawika Mitchell, LB

“It felt like we were on the road.” – Jason Peters, OL

“It didn’t feel like home field advantage, it was pretty quiet, it was not a typical Bills game. It wasn’t near the loud-factor that you would like to have, but with that said we didn’t give them much to cheer about anyway. We just didn’t play well enough to get things sparked.  As you can tell we were looking for rhythm and just didn’t have it.” – J.P. Losman, QB

“Embarrassed, disappointed — they’re a couple of words you could use.”  – Marcus Stroud, DT

“Offensively we have no rhythm. We move the ball, but when it comes down to scoring, we don’t have a clue.” – Lee Evans, WR09000d5d80d1da95_gallery_600

“I don’t even know if it was a neutral site. The defense was out there on third down and it was pretty quiet, and we’re out there and it was tough to hear sometimes. I don’t know if it was that they just wanted to see some football and didn’t have an allegiance, but it definitely didn’t feel like a home game.” – Duke Preston, C

“The game was a big letdown. We knew how important it was for us, and we just didn’t perform, and that reflects on me. That’s on my shoulders. It was a very disappointing day for us. Is it unacceptable? Well, how do you not accept it if you’ve done it? We’ve got to live with it. That’s our record, and we’ve got to take it and go on and try to get better and improve.” – Dick Jauron, Head Coach

“I felt different. I felt more comfortable. It was the first time I had gotten a start in awhile, you know so. I was hoping I wouldn’t be rusty and I don’t think I was that rusty.” – J.P. Losman, QB (… was he referring to the three fumbles, the pick, or the zero TD passes?)

“Three points? Listen, the way we’ve been playing, it’s tough to get three points.”- Ralph Wilson, Owner

Reactions from fans and the media

“It’s quite embarrassing that they’re this close to the game and still have these many seats to get rid of. I think their hopes were that it would be a sellout and a very quick sellout but, the problem was they really mismanaged the public’s willingness to spend the kind of money for tickets and it’s really backfired and blown up in their face a little.” – Rob Longley, Toronto Sun

“When they played the Penguins on Monday, the Sabres outscored the Bills on Sunday [4 goals to a field goal].” – caller to WGR550, Buffalo Sports Radio

“Attention, Buffalo. You can have your beloved Bills back. At least your loyal fans would have completely filled your stadium, The Ralph, for a December showdown with the hated Miami Dolphins. Toronto couldn’t. At least you would have cheered enough to make your team think it actually was playing a home game. Toronto couldn’t. And at least you would have booed the (bleep) out of them after the final gun for another pathetic offensive performance, one that netted just three points and 163 net yards. Toronto didn’t. – Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

“[To] Ralph Wilson: I think it’s time you give this team up. You obviously don’t care about winning football games. That’s apparent from you reaction to Buffalo New’s columnist Jerry Sullivan’s question of, ‘Are you embarrassed [about the way the Bills played against Miami?]’ Ralph looked at Jerry, laughed and said, ‘I’m used to it.'”- WGR550.com, Buffalo Sports Radio

“Based on the crowd reaction, the game could’ve been played in Timbuktu rather than Toronto, because this was as foreign a “home” crowd as the Bills have ever played in front of. The setting was decidedly not blue-collar Buffalo, with Blue Jays and CFL Argonauts banners hanging from the rafters and nearly as many orange and aqua Dan Marino, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams jerseys among the 52,000 fans.” – news-press.com

31-4707879embeddedprod_affiliate56“If the Bills do bring in a new coach, they’re going to have to warn him that unlike other NFL teams, the Bills play just seven home games because of the Canadian cash grab. Calling the Bills the ‘home’ team at the Rogers Centre was a stretch that Yao Ming couldn’t make. If anything, there were more Dolphins fans than Bills fans in that place.” – Sal Maiorana, Democrat & Chronicle

“Would the Bills have won had the game been played in the icy elements of Ralph Wilson Stadium? Probably not. But this much is certain: The soft-armed Pennington would not have been throwing such pretty spirals in the howling winds of Orchard Park.” – Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

“It reminded me of the old Harry Neale line, edited for football: The Bills can’t score at home. The Bills can’t score on the road. The Bills can’t score outside. The Bills can’t score inside. Their failure as a team is they have to find another place and another way to play. People paid mortgage payments for a pair of tickets to watch J.P. Losman play quarterback. That doesn’t seem fair to anybody. He is Buffalo’s Michael Bishop — and before Saskatchewan let him go, you could watch him for about 25 bucks.” – Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun

“The first-ever regular season NFL game in Canada was an unmitigated disaster if you’re a Bills fan. A worst-case scenario.” – Tim Schmitt, Niagara Gazette

“The Bills were booed when they emerged from the tunnel and were booed again when they returned to their locker room.” – Tim Graham, ESPN

“Undoubtedly, some customers were delighted to witness this kind of over-hyped NFL greatness. Why, these two teams yesterday once went six or seven plays in a row without a false-start penalty.” – Dave Perkins, Toronto Star

09000d5d80d1dc64_gallery_6001“Was there anything at all reminiscent of a game in Orchard Park? Only a single, extremely vigorous fistfight in the end-zone stands, though it’s hard to imagine what there was for anyone to get worked up about.” – Steven Brunt, Toronto Globe and Mail

“The Dolphins were 2-7 in games in Orchard Park after Dec. 1 so it was appalling to hear guys like Marcus Stroud say nobody in the Bills locker was complaining about playing indoors. That should disgust every player that’s ever worn a Buffalo uniform.” – Leo Roth, Democrat & Chronicle

“Interestingly, the announced attendance was 52,134, a generous estimate that was about 2,000 shy of football capacity for the Rogers Centre. Just 72 hours earlier, organizers said the game was sold out. We’re confused. How does that math work? Gouging the public for an average ticket price of $183 didn’t help.” – Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

“For all that money, Toronto got to witness the big-league sight of Buffalo centre Duke Preston snapping a ball to his own buttocks, which would have been fine had quarterback J. P. Losman not been in the shotgun, five yards behind him, rather than under centre. For all that cash, Toronto got to see a second-quarter play in which Losman had the ball knocked out of his hand, recovered it, rolled out and threw a ball to Marshawn Lynch that Lynch bobbled, dropped and kicked out of bounds. You just don’t forget sporting moments like that.” – Bruce Arthur, National Post

The Buffalo logo has vanished from the field now. There’s nothing but a smudge at the 50-yard line. There one minute and gone the next, just like the once lofty hopes in this sad, exasperating Bills season.” – Jerry Sullivan, The Buffalo News

“The so-called sellout featured broad expanses of unoccupied blue seating, many dark private boxes and a conspicuous absence of lucrative signage. Even with a year to promote and sell space, and much of that before the economy went south, the official sponsors of the Bills Toronto Series were shown only on a rolling electronic sign.” – John Kernaghan, Hamilton Spectator

“No matter how the NFL chooses to spin it, this was not a Bills home date. Yes, the organization received $78-million US from Rogers to bring five regular-season and three pre-season games to Toronto over the next five years, but, in the end, the fine people of Buffalo and, to some extent, the players, were screwed.” – Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

“Myself? I was thinking, “Yes! This performance ought to guarantee the Bills remain in Buffalo. Because what Canadian football fan would want to subject himself to such uninspiring efforts eight times a year at $350 a pop? The CFL offers so much more action, so many more thrills, not to mention the rouge, which if utilized by the NFL would have changed Sunday’s final to 17-4 and created the illusion of a tantalizing offensive show.” – Bob DiCesare, The Buffalo News

“Thank God we don’t have Detroit on our schedule.” – caller to WGR550, Buffalo Sports Radio

There you have it! 

Keep in mind that the thought behind the Bills Toronto series is to increase interest in the Buffalo Bills and in the NFL in Canada. After this pathetic output by the Bills and the boring pace of the game, I’d say anyone who was behind this project and stepped onto the field on Sunday has failed in that goal.

Miserably.

Dolphins Bills Football

It’s the same old out of tune song for Buffalo sports fans:1112866

Wide right to lose the game. Where have we heard that one before?

For two straight years the Buffalo Bills have allowed the Cleveland Browns to hack a severe gash in their playoff hopes as the Browns beat the Bills 27-29 on Monday Night Football.

I have a lot to vent about, so brace yourself.

The report card: 

Best Performance in a Losing Effort: RB Marshawn Lynch. Finally, Lynch broke the 100 yard mark this season getting 23 carries for 119 yards. He was also Trent Edwards go to guy pulling in 10 catches for 58 yards and a TD. Lynch stepped up his defensive play by doing a great job blocking for Edwards and picking up the blitz. It’s too bad that his best performance of the year ended up being meaningless due to the atrocious play of his quarterback.

Most Drunk Award: Bills QB Trent Edwards. The guy looked horrendous, terrible, god-awful, [insert adjective here]. It seems for the past four weeks now we Bills fans have been thinking ‘that was Trent’s worst game all season’… well, that thought continued on Monday night. In his last four games Edwards has thrown only 3 TD’s and 8 interceptions. He hasn’t looked the same since suffering a concussion in week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. He looks scared. In the first eleven and a half minutes of play Edwards threw three interceptions, effectively taking the crowd out of the game. Granted, the first pick wasn’t his fault as the ball was tipped at the line, but the next two were bone head throws that looked like something our old pal J.P. Losman would have done. Speaking of J.P., it appears as though Edwards has been taking notes from the former Bills starter. Edwards displayed Losman choreography all night long: three step drop, no steps forward, and unerring happy feet. The worst part about Trent’s horrible performance is that the excuses we were making for him the last four weeks were fixed in this game; a lackluster run game and a bad offensive line. Well, last night the run game had its best performance of the season and the O line gave Edwards all sorts of time to make a play. After the three picks, Edwards looked scared to throw the ball, going with his ‘panic’ option and tossing short passes to Lynch on the line of scrimmage… which leads me to the next award.

Biggest Head Scratcher Award: There were so many head scratching moments in this pathetic loss by the Bills it’s hard to pick just one. I suppose I’ll go with the most obvious, frustrating fact of the game: Lee Evans 0 catches for 0 yards. This stat is not the fault of Evans but of his scared, wussy quarterback, Trent Edwards. After the first pass of the game was tipped and resulted in an interception, Edwards threw zero balls to Evans. Zero. How the hell do you expect to win a game when you never throw a ball to your biggest play maker? The worst part about this statistic is that Evans was open all the time. This is not an overstatement. On nearly every route he ran, Evans was wide open. Half the time Edwards didn’t even check Lee and how he missed seeing him the other half of the time blows my mind. The head scratching has turned into hair pulling. Come on Trent, grow some balls and play. 

Worst Stat: Rian Lindell, wide right from 47 yards to win the game. Guh. Thank you history for throwing that one back in our face. Add it to the fact that last season on Monday Night Football Buffalo lost to the Dallass Cowboys by a last second field goal. By missing that kick, it’s unfair to make Rian Lindell the scapegoat of the game, and you can’t blame him for the loss.

Seriously!? Award:  However, you can blame Bills head coach [Limp] Dick Jauron and offensive coordinator Turk Schonert for the Bills loss. Especially for calling three poop-in-the-pants plays in a row preceding the potential game winning field goal. The three running plays were terribly executed, gaining 2, 2, and 1 yards respectively. The coaching staff did nothing to try and confuse the defense; no play action, no quick pass for a few extra yards, nothing. Let’s not forget that these plays were preceded by a 22 yard hook up of Edwards to TE Robert Royal to put the Bills in field goal range. Why not stick with what had just worked? Cleveland used all three of their timeouts in-between those plays, and the coaches couldn’t think of anything better to call than three lackluster runs? At the very least go in shotgun formation and give the ball to RB Fred Jackson, a play that worked against the Browns all game. But no, three lame, uninspired runs were used to set up a 47 yard field goal. Hey Dick [Head], history tells us that 47 yard field goals aren’t a gimme. Just ask Jim Kelly why he has no ring on his finger.

Lack of Common Sense Award: The coaching staff. In addition to all of the points I made above it bears mentioning that the Bills wasted four of six timeouts in this game due to not being prepared with a play. Three of these wasted time outs were absolutely inexcusable: 1) In the first quarter the Bills had a 3rd and 1 on their own 10 yard line and lined up with an empty backfield. Edwards looked confused [surprise!] and called a time out. Now, one would think that after calling a time out, you would adjust your play to what the defense had shown you. Well, that didn’t happen and the Bills lined up in the exact same formation and Trent threw his third pick of the day! 2) When in the third quarter, the Browns had a 3rd and 10 and the defense called time out. After the time out, QB Brady Quinn tossed a 23 yard pass to WR Braylon Edwards for a first down because [gasp!] the Bills faked a LB blitz! How typical. 3) This one is the game’s worst waste of a time out, and it came when the Bills were on offense. With 2:35 left to play Marshawn Lynch broke a 28 yard run to put the Bills on the Cleveland 1 yard line. Now, one would expect the Bills to rush to the line of scrimmage and keep the defense on their toes or at least enact their hurry up offense. But no. They didn’t. They called a time out. How the #$%* do you not have a play ready in that situation!? How? The Bills had an extra day to prepare for this match-up and they looked like a bunch of confused high school kids. Pathetic.

Biggest Mouth Award: CB Terrence McGee. Before the season began he promised a Bills playoff game this year. Seems like Terrence McGee is a lying sack of crap. I must admit, he did play well in this game, defending against six passes… Oops! I forgot about how he was playing 15 yards off of his man during Cleveland’s game winning drive. All the Browns needed was a field goal to take the lead in the final minutes of the game, and McGee is playing that far off of his man. Come on now Terrence. Come on now.

How in the Hell…? Award: Goes to the Bills offense. They (and by ‘they’ I mostly mean Trent Edwards) negated a great game by the special teams unit. The Bills average starting field position was on their own 35 yard line. That’s pretty darn good. Even better was that the offense commenced six drives from at least their own 41 yard line. This is how those six drives went: punt, field goal, field goal, punt, TD, wide %#&@ing right. Nice work offense. About the special teams, I have to give props to kick returner Leodis McKelvin who ran back a 98 yard kick off for a TD. Too bad on the ensuing kick off Lindell booted it out of bounds at the Cleveland 43, giving them great field position which turned into a Browns field goal. 

What The Hell Do You Get Paid For Award: Goes to the referee who failed to see Braylon Edwards mauling Terrence McGee on the first play of the fourth quarter. On this play Browns RB Jerome Harrison broke a 72 yard TD run. He was able to do this mainly because McGee was trying to not get raped by Braylon Edwards who was holding onto him like a psycho obsessive girlfriend. If not for this blatant hold, Terrence would have caught up to Harrison around the 30 yard line. This all happened right in front of the officials big fat face who was too busy watching the bouncing buns of a sprinting Harrison instead of catching an obvious holding call. Add this to the crap ‘unnecessary roughness’ call on Kawika Mitchell on the Browns next drive, and you have a duo of blind, patty-cake officials. Hey, it wasn’t Mitchell’s fault that Harrison lost his footing while being shoved out of bounds and smashed his head against a wall. Seriously, it wasn’t.

The Final Word: Mathematically the Bills aren’t out of the playoff hunt, but they will need a lot of help if they hope to make this season memorable. In the AFC East they are in last place at 5-5, with the Pats and Dolphins at 6-4, and the Jets are in first with a 7-3 record. It is very clear that the Bills need to start winning and other teams need to start losing for a playoff hope to exist. Trent Edwards needs to mature, and quickly. The fact that Bills couldn’t beat the Cleveland Brown stains doesn’t give me much faith. 

But faith is still there… somehow.

Billieve.

09000d5d80c97143_gallery_600

Yes, I know a dolphin is a mammal. 

That must be the reason why no fish were squished this past Sunday by the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills (5-2) lost their first divisional game on Sunday against long time rival quarterback, Chad Pennington and his Miami Dolphins (3-4).

To be painfully blunt, the Bills looked pathetic. After keeping the NFL’s highest powered offense under control last week in the San Diego Chargers, week eight’s match-up against the rebuilding Miami Dolphins should not have concluded as a 16-25 loss.

But it did. Onto the report card:

Best Performance in a Losing Effort: Rian Lindell. He kicked three field goals (19, 43, 47) yesterday. Good for him for keeping the Bills in the game for awhile.

Biggest Head Scratcher Award: Why do the Bills always fake the blitz? The linebackers will line up as if they’re going to come at the QB, but then drop back into the zone once the ball is snapped. When the Bills drop back and allow talented QB’s to complete quick passes, it’s reflective of the style of Trent Edwards and how he succeeds against defenses. The Bills defense has played this way all season long, most specifically this week against Miami and the previous two games against San Diego and Arizona. The Cardinals amassed 250 yards passing and 2 TD’s, the Chargers 208 passing yards and 2 TD’s, and the Dolphins 314 passing yards with 1 TD against a soft Bills defense. Could these stats be worse? Of course. However, everything isn’t as it appears on paper. In watching these games it is obvious that when the Bills do blitz, they usually come up with a big play. The Bills need to change their unaggressive style immediately and attack the opposing team’s quarterback. The four man rush does not work. 

‘Coolest’ Stat: In 108 straight games the Buffalo Bills had not blocked a field goal. That is the longest streak in the NFL, and it was snapped Sunday when Langston Walker blocked a 46 yard Dan Carpenter field goal attempt late in the second quarter. Unfortunately that’s the best stat of the game for the Bills.

Lack of Common Sense Award: Goes to BIlls CB Terrence McGee and head coach Dick Jauron. McGee was obviously not 100% healthy yet as he got burned by Ted Ginn Jr. all day long. Why didn’t he say to Coach Dick Jauron he wasn’t ready to play? Why didn’t Jauron pull McGee? Is there that little faith in rookie CB Leodis McKelvin? 

Seriously!? Award: This one goes to Miami WR Ted Ginn Jr. who had a career high day, pulling in 7 receptions for 175 yards. Of course, he was paired up against a wounded Terrence McGee, making his life a lot easier. But still, he was allowed 175 freakin’ receiving yards! This guy isn’t Randy Moss or Terrell Owens for poop’s sake, he’s Ted Ginn… Junior. The Bills allowed this no name to amass 175 yards!? Seriously!? 

Face the Facts: When the Buffalo special teams unit performs, the Bills have a better chance of wining. In this game the Bills had 0 punt return yards and a mere 19.6 yard average on kick-off returns. Last week against San Diego the Bills averaged 5 yards per punt return and only 19.3 yards per kick-off return. In week 5 against Arizona, Buffalo averaged 17 yards per punt return (there were only two) but a mere 20.9 yards per kick-off return. Compare that to an average of 54 yards per punt return along with a 26.5 yard return average on kick-offs in week one against the Seattle Seahawks, and a week four punt return average of 15.6 yards paired with a kick-off return average of 32.3 yards against the Rams, and my point becomes clear; This is not the special teams unit we are accustomed to seeing. Teams have opted to strip the special teams advantage away from the Bills by not kicking to Roscoe Parrish and Leodis McKelvin. When this element of the game is taken away from Buffalo, the team struggles. And it hurts.

NOOOOO!! Moment: When Bills WR Josh Reed went out of the game with a sprained achilles. Dick Jauron has stated that he wants to take the time in allowing Reed to recover and does not wish to take any chances. Wonderful. Hopefully rookie WR James Hardy will step it up. So far he has been less than average this season having only 7 receptions for 66 yards and a TD accompanied by a whole mess of drops. 

Most Drunk Award: Goes to Bills QB Trent Edwards. After the Dolphins went up 20-16 early in the fourth quarter, the camera panned to the Bills sideline. There, Edwards was seen sitting alone on the bench with a defeated, frustrated look on his face. This pissed me off. In weeks before when the Bills were down, Edwards could be seen on the sideline amping up his team, itching to get back on the field to regain the lead. Need I remind the reading audience of the Bills 4th quarter come backs against Jacksonville, Oakland, and St. Louis? No? Well, maybe I should have reminded Trent. At this point the Bills were only down by four points with nearly an entire quarter left to play. Yet, here is our star quarterback looking as if the game is already over. I don’t like that. That is the behavior J.P. Losman was privy to. Trent Edwards is supposed to be a leader. So lead Trent. 

That’s Weird Award: Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Trent Edwards both threw simultaneous interceptions. While watching the Bills game on TV and following the Falcons game on NFL.com’s live feed, I witnessed this awful stat take place. Edwards threw his pick at exactly the 15:00 mark of the 4th quarter, and Ryan tossed his turnover at 2:20 left in the third against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both QB’s lost their games.

It’s About Damn Time Award: This was the first game in which Trent Edwards looked like a rookie. Edwards was 21/25 with 227 yards, a pick, 0 TD’s, 2 fumbles, and a safety. Yikes. Here’s to rebounding in week nine…

What The Hell Do You Get Paid For Award: Congratulations Robert Royal! I commented positively about his game play in week 1 against Seattle, as well as his pre-season play. Thank you Robert for making me eat my words. In this game he had three drops and a fumble which ended any Bills hopes of a comeback. Oh yeah, Royal did have two catches for 26 yards… horray.

Final Word: I could continue with this weeks report card, but it’s too depressing. When the 2008 NFL season is in the books, this game has the potential to be looked back upon as a pivotal turning point for both the Bills and the Dolphins. Miami looked very impressive on Sunday, and this could be the win they needed to steer their season in the right direction. More importantly, this game has the potential to knock the Bills down a peg. Next week Buffalo takes on the Jets at home which is followed by a road trip to New England. That’s three divisional games in a row and with this loss, the Bills have allotted themselves no margin for error. The AFC East race for first place is a tight one with the Bills and Patriots at 5-2, the Jets at 4-3 and the Dolphins at 3-4. Only time will tell how all of this will play out, but it continues next week at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Billieve.

Everyone please welcome back down to Earth your Buffalo Bills.

On Sunday the Bills lost their first game of the season, dropping to 4-1 against the 3-2 Arizona Cardinals, by a score of 17-41.

Ouch.

The report card:

NOOO!! Moment: When Bills starting QB Trent Edwards left the field after only his third snap of the game with a concussion, and disgruntled backup J.P. Losman had to take over.

Best Performance in a Losing Effort: This one’s tough as no player really stood out in the game. I suppose I will go with Marshawn Lynch because the guy never quits. Still, he has yet to break a 100 yard game this season, and the way he runs and takes hits makes you feel like he may be next on the injury chopping block.

That’s A Shame Award: The Buffalo Bills overall performance. A shame indeed. 

Biggest Disappointment: The Bills defense. They looked terrible. The Cardinals scored on all four of their first half possessions, and on three of six possessions in the second half. The biggest let down by the defense was in the second quarter after Bills QB J.P. Losman connected with WR Lee Evans on an 87 yard TD pass to cut the Cardinals lead in half, making the score 14-7. Instead of stopping the Cardinals on their next drive, the defense allowed them to find the end zone on a 1 yard TD run by RB Edgerrin James. And where the hell has the pass rush been all season long? It’s basically non-existent. This was the defense’s first true test against a good offense, and they need to step it up if they hope to be a contender in January.

Biggest Head Scratcher Award: Why the [expletive] didn’t Bills coach Dick Jauron challenge the Robert Royal fumble with 2:33 left in the 3rd quarter? At the time the Bills were down by only two scores. I have no idea why Jauron thought a timeout was more valuable than maintaining possession of the ball. Depending on your bias, it looked like Royal’s knee was down before the ball came lose. The turnover cost the Bills the game mentally, as the Cardinals scored a field goal on the ensuing drive, putting themselves up by three scores.

[Worst] Fact: Before this game the Bills defense was the best in the NFL on stopping third down conversions. Yet against Arizona they stopped only 4 of the 16 Cardinal 3rd downs, and couldn’t halt Arizona when they went for it on 4th and 1 early in the 4th quarter… jeez.

Best Sight to Behold: Losman to Evans for an 87 yard TD pass. It was cool to see that again. Unfortunately J.P. comes with a garbage truck load full of problems. All of WNY (and the Buffalo Bills team) sighed in pre-mature defeat when Losman took the field to replace Edwards. We all knew we’d seen this show before, and Sunday was no different than Losman’s previous four seasons with the Bills. I have one burning question about J.P: why does he always refuse to take a step or two up in the pocket, and how has this behavior not been corrected in five NFL seasons? Stepping up in the pocket would prevent him from both A) getting sacked so much and B) fumbling.

Pat on the Back Award: I suppose if there are games to lose they are the games against non-conference opponents… so take that for whatever it’s worth. 

Most Drunk Award: Everyone who thinks the Bills’ season is on the fritz with this loss. Relax. After being spanked by the Jets last week, and a below .500 record at stake while playing at home, the Cardinals were put in a pressured situation. They responded. Now let’s see if the Bills can.

Final Word: For three weeks in a row the Bills have had to play from behind by the end of the first quarter. They need to take the pressure off of themselves by scoring fast and early, which is what they did in weeks one and two. Since week 6 is a bye for Buffalo, hopefully key starters (Edwards, Parrish, McGee, Stroud) can get healthy and be ready to play against the San Diego Charges at Ralph Wilson Stadium in week 7. 

Billieve.

Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills. 

On Sunday, the undefeated Bills rallied from a 14-6 deficit at the end of the first half to beat the St. Louis Rams at their home dome, 31-14. It was a great day to be a Bills fan.

The report card:

-Best Performance in a Losing Effort: Steven Jackson. The Rams star running back has been pretty quiet most of the season, but he made plenty of noise this past week. It all started when Jackson made his disgust known to the media of the Rams’ decision to bench QB Marc Bulger in favor of concussion man, Trent Green. Jackson made plenty of noise on the field yesterday as well, rushing for 110 yards and a TD in his best game of the season. He broke plenty of Bills tackles and was the first running back this year to reach the centennial mark against a tough Bills D. Thanks Steven for losing and still helping out my fantasy team!

-That’s A Shame Award: The Bills gave the Rams their first lead of the season with the score 7-3… It lasted less than 30 minutes.

-Pat On The Back Award: Bills head coach, Dick Jauron. With yesterday’s win, Jauron reaches the .500 mark with Buffalo. I like that. he deserves it. “If you’re asking me how I feel, I feel great. You know I’d take 4-0 over any other possibility we could be right now, absolutely. But we gotta keep going.” Bills nation agrees with you coach. 

-Biggest Disappointment: I wanted to see more hits on Trent Green. With only two sacks against him on the day, it wasn’t enough for sense memory to kick in on the QB who went down last season with a painful looking concussion. The Bills pass rush has been average at best this year, and needs to improve if the goose egg is to remain in the losses column.

-Most Drunk Award: Scott Linehan, the (former) Rams coach who as of this morning has found himself to be unemployed. Enjoy that whiskey on the rocks Scott. Enjoy it.

-Cool, But No Cigar Award: I commend Buffalo offensive coordinator, Turk Schonert, for calling numerous plays in which QB Trent Edwards passed the ball deep down field. This is something Bills fans have been wanting to see for years now, as former offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild rarely called deep passing plays. That wasn’t the case yesterday, but unfortunately, the Bills WR’s couldn’t come up with enough catches to make the play calling effective. 

-Biggest Head Scratcher: Why, after a 22 yard TD run by Fred Jackson, the Bills opted to kick the extra point as opposed to going for the two point conversion in order to tie the game. At the time Buffalo was down 14-6, the TD making the score 14-12. Initially the Bills went for two and made it, but the play was called back due to a Buffalo penalty. Coach Dick Jauron then opted to kick the extra point to make the score 14-13. I don’t get this call. Whether you make the two point conversion or not, you’re still down by a field goal but if you do make the conversion, the game is tied. I suppose it didn’t matter though as the Bills went on to kick the crap out of the Rams anyway.

-Performance Grades:

A: Jabari Greer. The CB had his first career NFL touchdown, which came in the form of a 33 yard interception return. The play couldn’t have happened at a better time as it gave the Bills the lead, and consequently the game winning score. Greer looked awesome on the play, avoiding a diving St. Louis offensive linemen as if to say, “No way fat man, I’m hitting pay dirt!”

B+: The Bills D. They stood tall against a star running back, a QB looking to make his way back into the league, and essentially a team who had nothing to lose. Despite their early struggles, the defense came up big in the second half by holding the Rams to zero points. Also, I give props to DT Marcus Stroud and CB Leodis McKelvin. Stroud was injured in the game but managed to tough it out as he continued to play, and McKelvin did a commendable job filling in for the injured Terrence McGee. Still, a better pass rush would be nice to see develop over the coming weeks. 

B: Josh Reed/Lee Evans. WR Josh Reed has become the ‘go to guy’ when a play goes wrong for the offense. When QB Trent Edwards’ inner monologue is a loud and clear “Oh Crap!,” he looks to Reed and Josh delivers. After a horrendous performance last week against the Raiders, Lee Evans rebounded with a solid ‘good’ game. Granted, Evans only had two catches on the day, but they were pretty ones. He caught a deep pass for 49 yards on the Bills first drive which led to a field goal, and then drove the dagger into the heart of St. Louis with his 39 yard TD catch to put the Bills up 28-14. I still await a breakout day for either of these two veteran players. 

C: Trent Edwards. The sophomore QB had his ‘worst’ game of the season going 15/25 for 197 yards with 1 TD, and 1 INT. The stats didn’t disappoint me so much as seeing Edwards sulking on the bench when the Bills were getting beat. That’s not the type of emotion I like to see emitting from my team captain, and it reminded me all too much of former starting QB, J.P. Losman. I don’t want to go down that road again, and I hope the end result of this game showed Edwards to not get down on himself when there is still time left on the clock.

D: James Hardy. The rookie WR had a chance to prove himself yesterday, starting in place of the injured Roscoe Parrish. Unfortunately the amazing game winning TD catch we saw against the Jaguars didn’t carry over to St. Louis as Hardy had a rough day. The rookie was getting a lot of looks from Trent Edwards early in the game, but he dropped everything and ended up with zero catches. Hopefully Hardy can shake this and become the receiver we all hoped he’d be on draft day.

F: Once again the big fat ‘F’ on the report card goes to the big fat OT, Jason Peters. For three weeks in a row, Peters has looked slow, out of shape, and not like the guy who was the only Bill voted into the Pro Bowl last season. He was called on holding during the Bills opening drive, negating a huge run by Marshawn Lynch in the red zone, turning a probable 7 points into only 3. Peters also had a false start called on him, which resulted in a Buffalo punt. Coach Jauron needs to get this guy in shape or off the field as he’s done nothing to help in the Bills perfect start to the season.

-Best Hit: Buffalo CB Leodis McKelvin on St. Louis WR Dane Looker. I’ll avoid the obvious pun on this and just say: Wow. After the hit, Looker tried to get to the sidelines, but couldn’t make it as he collapsed to his knees after taking a few steps. It took him more than 5 minutes to get off the field, and to top it off, Looker fumbled and McKelvin recovered. Awesome. 

-Best Sight to Behold: The entire 4th quarter. Apparently, the 4th quarter is when the Bills decide to turn it on and go for the win. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; The 2008 Buffalo Bills remind me of the 2005-2006 Buffalo Sabres. Like that squad of Sabres, this years Bills are young, fast, hungry, not predicted by anybody to go anywhere, and they turn it on when they have to, finding ways to win. To note, the Sabres started out that season 10-0…

-Best Fact: There were 25 unanswered points scored by the Bills in the second half.

-Best Quote: “We’ve really picked up one another. You know, the offense finished the game strong last week. We got those two big scores this week in the fourth quarter, so really it’s been a team thing. Nobody’s really blamed anybody for any downtime or anything like that. We really stuck together. That means a lot, man, [and] it’s going to pay off in the long run.” – Bills LB, Kawika Mitchell

-The Final Word: The Bills sit at first place in the AFC East at 4-0 and travel to Arizona this week to take on the 2-2 Cardinals. Yesterday Arizona lost one of their top receivers in Anquan Boldin who had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. I hope he’s okay, but this should be favorable for Buffalo as the Cardinals offense would be greatly affected with the loss of Boldin. Come next Sunday night, the Bills should be 5-0 heading into their bye week.

Billieve.

I’m trying something different this week with my Bills game analysis; A quick report card on the 3-0 Buffalo Bills 24-23 come back win against the 1-2 Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Here she is:

-Best Speech: Bruce Smith’s acceptance speech of becoming the 25th player to be inducted onto the sacred Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame. It was the best most rehearsed speech I have ever heard.  

-Most Confusing Speech: Ralph Wilson’s introduction of Bruce Smith. With an average of 15 seconds between words, Wilson’s six sentence speech took too damn long to follow. I don’t think anyone knew what the hell he was saying. 

-Best Performance in a Losing Effort: Sebastian Janikowski. The Raiders kicker played an excellent game against Bobby April’s elite special teams unit. Twice Janikowski kicked the ball into the end zone, not allowing the dazzling Buffalo special teamers do their thing. In fact, the Bills special teams units were essentially a non factor, being held to 9 punt return yards and an average of 25 yards per kick off return. Oh yeah, Janikowski is also 6/6 on field goals this year. Good for him.

-Unexplainable Feeling Award: For some reason whenever the Bills wear their retro throwback uniforms, as they did on Sunday, I get this sinking feeling in my gut that they’ll lose. I understand it makes no sense, and I’m obviously overjoyed to know that I was wrong this time around, but it happens every time they don those specs. The same thing happens to me when the Sabres wear their throwback sweater. Freaks me out.

-Biggest Head Scratcher: When with 2:29 left to play in the game Raiders coach Lane Kiffin never called a time out when the Bills were driving to steal the game away. Kiffin didn’t even try to ice Lindell on the game deciding kick. That seemed very odd to me.

-Most Drunk Award: The 12th Man. As expected we did our job and were loud. I love feeling like a part of the team. 

-Best Hit: When Donte Whitner popped Johnnie Lee Higgins in the end zone for taunting his way in for an 84 yard TD catch. I say good for Donte. It wasn’t a vicious hit and Higgins was acting like a piece of crap so I’m okay with it.

-Performance Grades:

A: Trent Edwards. Gotta hand it to the guy. After being rushed, hurried, and hit all day long (thanks Jason Peters!) and having a less than stellar game entering the fourth quarter, Edwards hung in there. He was a vocal leader, rallying his troops and bringing them to victory. His stats on the day were 24/39 279 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. In only 12 games with the NFL, Trent Edwards is developing faster than we Bills fans could have hoped and it’s an awesome thing to behold. 

B+: Rian Lindell. Even though he missed a crucial-at-the-time 46 yarder, Lindell redeemed himself by making the 38 yard game winning kick as time expired. I remember when Bills fans would be nervous for kicks like these, but now they all feel like gimmies when Lindell is booting the ball. I love this guy and he’s come a long way since he first came to Buffalo in 2003. 

B-: The Bills Defense. They performed when they had to, recording a sack and forcing a fumble from JaMarcus Russell, all while standing tall in a frustrating first half. Still, the unit had their moments of getting burned, such as on the ground game. Granted the D held the Raiders to 98 rush yards as well as a 2/12 3rd down conversion ratio. This is a great stat considering the week before Oakland rushed for over 300 yards against the Chiefs. Still, they gave up some big plays. Most notably with just over six minutes left in the game on 3rd and 10, Russell managed to get the ball to WR Johnnie Lee Higgins who showboated his jackass self 84 yards into the end zone to put Oakland up 23-14. The 12th Man hadn’t been louder all day than on that play and the D blew their coverage. If the Oakland Raiders were the San Diego Chargers (or any other team for that matter), the end result of this game may not have been so joyous for Bills fans after giving up a play like that. But who knows. Props to Marcus Stroud for making the Jills look bad. He was getting the crowd pumped up all day long. I love that in a player. The defense also held Russell to 9/19 156 yards, 1 TD. Not bad, but they still need to improve on their tackling!

C+: Josh Reed. It’s nice to see this guy develop. I remember him dropping 50 yard passes when he was wide open back in the day. But all that is in the past. Reed is a great slot receiver and has cleansed his hands of the butter and grease that he had them doused in early in his career. On Sunday Reed was Edwards’ #1 receiver having 6 catches for 72 yards, breaking tackles and picking up extra yards after the catch. He gets only a C+ because Bills nation is still eagerly looking forward to seeing Reed bust loose.

D: Lee Evans. This game was one of the worst of his career. He allowed big-mouthed-ex-Falcon DeAngelo Hall to strip the ball from him which led to Oakland points. Evans also fumbled and had a costly offensive pass interference call, which was unneccessarry. I don’t mean to dump on the guy too harshly, but a bad day is a bad day. We’re still waiting from last season for Lee to make the breakout plays that electrifyed crowds back in 2006. Hopefully a weak Rams team can help with that in week 4.

F: Jason Peters. He missed all of training camp, preseason, and the home opener. Two weeks in a row Peters has let his man get by him, resulting in an Edwards fumble and points for the opposing team. To quote: “In another week I’ll be back to 100 percent every play, getting ready to go… It’s physical. Just getting my body in shape. The mental part comes.” Hmmm… maybe he should have gone to work this summer with the rest of the team and gotten in shape. Playing as yourself in Madden ’09 on your X-Box 360 while smoking a bowl with a bag of Doritos by your side does not count as “knowing all the plays,” Jason.  

-Biggest Disappointment: I’ve been to both Bills home games so far and I have yet to see a man leap from the stands and attempt to run from end zone to end zone while dodging security. This saddens me.

-Best Sight to Behold: Seeing the en masse of Raiders fans who showed up in their ridiculous looking Mad Max-S & M-KISS-wannabe-suits (there thousands upon thousands of them!) go home to the West Coast wondering how the holy heck their team blew this one.

-Best Pro Analysis: Vic Carucci of http://www.nfl.com puts the Bills at 4th place in his Power Rankings after week 3: “Should have been easier vs. the Raiders, but Trent Edwards showed once again that he knows when to rise to the occasion.” Yes it is true, Carucci does live in WNY.

-Best Fact: I was eight years old the last time the Buffalo Bills were 3-0 back in 1992. It’s nice to be excited again.

-Final Word: The Bills take on the 0-3 St. Louis Rams this week in St. Louis. A win here would be huge as their next opponent is the inconsistent 2-1 Arizona Cardinals in Arizona. It’s easy to think that Buffalo could be 5-0 heading into their bye week. Here’s to hoping.

Billieve.

 

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