After a loss that all but mathematically eliminates the Bills from the postseason for the 14th consecutive year, there is a lot to be said about how the team has played and though it is not indicative of their record, the 2013 Buffalo Bills have been a tough team to beat.
With that being said the Bills are still trying to figure out how to win games, namely the close ones, which they have been a part of. This team, unlike years prior, has been within two scores or leading in the fourth quarter in every game.
Here’s a season recap:
New England Patriots 23-21 Loss
Bills are unable to stop Brady on a two-minute drive as the Patriots kick a winning field goal as time expires.
Carolina Panthers 24-23 Win
Bills complete their comeback with a two-minute drive, and stop Carolina’s last effort with a Kiko Alonso sack.
New York Jets 27-20 Loss
Bills unable to convert four trips in Jets territory into touchdowns and give up two long passes for touchdowns.
Baltimore Ravens 23-20 Win
Bills rush for over 200 yards and intercept Joe Flacco six times. Kiko Alonso seals the game off a batted ball interception.
Cleveland Browns 24-37 Loss
Bills offense unable to recover from loss of EJ Manuel in 3rd quarter as offense sputters.
Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 Loss
Bills come back in the fourth quarter to tie the game, but fail to do anything with their one overtime possession, going 3 & out and leading to Cincinnati’s willing field goal.
Miami Dolphins 23-21 Win
Bills able to cause strip sack and convert winning field goal in final minute of play.
New Orleans 35-17 Loss
Offense turns the ball over three times and is unable to generate any offensive responses to Drew Brees despite being within 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Kansas City Chiefs 23-13 Loss
Bills unable to convert red zone opportunities and quarterback Jeff Tuel throws an interception that is returned for a touchdown.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23-10 Loss
Bills unable to convert early field position into touchdowns and allow Steelers to pull away in second and third quarter.
New York Jets 37-14 Win
Bills convert turnovers into points and EJ Manuel has his best performance to date in team’s most decisive victory.
Atlanta Falcons 34-31 Loss
Fumble late by Stevie Johnson on last drive of regulation ends Bills chance to kick winning field goal. Another fumble by Scott Chandler in OT gives Falcons possession to drive for the winning field goal.
When you review all the results and the turning points that surround each game, for the team and fans there are things to be frustrated with, but also things to take solace in.
One thing that has been the apparent is the competitive level of this team. Thus far the Bills have played in 7 games where the outcome has been within seven points, going 3-4. They didn’t play this many close games in any of the three seasons under Chan Gailey.
Another positive is the Bills divisional record. The Bills at 2-2 have tied the most divisional wins in any of the previous six seasons, and if they win their final two it will be their first winning conference record since 2007 when they went 4-2.
For the Bills they can look to the Carolina Panthers as an example. The Panthers were known for losing close games and being unable to get over the hump; that is, until this year as they stand at 9-3. They learned and the bounces started going their way. It’s the same thing these Bills are going through now because a couple different bounces; namely a healthy quarterback, and this team could’ve been standing at 8-4 and cemented in the playoff discussion.