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!

It’s still only the 1st Quarter but the Atlanta Falcons are currently leading the Denver Broncos 10-0. The points have all come off Peyton Manning interceptions — 3 of them. There’s plenty of time yet to play and history dictates to never count out Manning… either Manning, but the way the Falcons defense is jumping around and the running game moving without Matt Ryan doing anything; the Falcons should make this a game. I’m sticking to a prediction stated earlier on twitter — 34-31 Atlanta.

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!

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.

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