A New Bills Team

I only swore at the Bills to motivate them. It’s like how I fretted about the team’s future just to make the news of them staying seem that much sweeter. A helplessly frustrated feeling during the process just makes victory that much more sensational. Buffalo threw in the drama for free along with a win, and the odd sensation that accompanies triumph is as nice as I vaguely remember. Keeping your team is even sweeter than Dan Carpenter ending the opener.

Brutal despair can now be replaced with excessive enthusiasm. That’s true on the field, too. Terry Pegula has a franchise for each hand, as he makes rescuing Buffalo sports teams look easy. His new minions rewarded him with a stalwart victory before they even knew he was going to be the buyer. Now, that’s an inspirational owner. If trends continue, the Bills will finish undefeated, although I suppose they should play out the schedule.

What’s more exciting than an opening win? Oh, how about the Bills staying? Pegula took your fears and buried them in Earth’s core. And he drilled ahead of schedule, too.  Appreciate the good news of things staying the same. Terry owns fans’ hearts, as well. We threw those in for free.

As for a man who’s a pro at owning teams, Pegula undoubtedly celebrated in true Buffalonian style by ordering one of everything on Mighty Taco’s menu. You should buy him one of his items if you see him there, even if it’s a pricier selection like a Roastito. He might buy you the Bisons out of gratitude. Hey, remember when Bon Jovi thought he could have this team? It was about the time his music was popular.

Overcoming the sense of existential dread is a problem unique to this team. But, like fears of the Bills moving to a province, things turned out okay after each team had its first series. A conventionally uninspiring run, run, and pass by the Bills led to a Bears offense that wasn’t bothered by opposition. It could’ve been over well before the conclusion, and yet Buffalo’s second drive looked… competent?!  I checked my notes, and it’s true. The third quarter couldn’t end soon enough even as it seemed to take 100 years, and this gang refused to let the game be decided with so much time remaining.

Prevailing despite lapses is especially important given the enormity of each football contest. A hockey defenseman might waste a hundred games or so before he becomes accustomed to the pro game.  Meanwhile, that’s the length of a decent football career.  Pegula is in ideal position to compare the two. Luckily, the urgency to play adeptly started with the opener. Now, it must continue against the stupid Dolphins. Piecing it together by October would be too late.

The Bills relied on players who usually struggle valiantly in defeat. For one, All-Pro defensive tackle Kyle Williams figured he may as well intercept a pass, seeing as how he already does everything else. Can he push Kyle Orton to back up EJ Manuel? Even if he remains on defense full-time, Williams has spent his career thriving as his team has not. Finally, he engineered a spectacular moment that was not in vain.

The defensive tackle is just like Fred Jackson, whose remarkable overtime run was as fierce as it was calm. Nobody methodically stiff-arms better. Meanwhile, new veteran Corey Graham ruined passing attempts like he wants to start alongside Stephon Gilmore upon the latter’s return.

The pubescent offense didn’t even have to rely on rookies to win a challenging opener.  With 31 yards, Sammy Watkins wasn’t quite as dominant as rookie Tyler Myers. But he didn’t look like Myers under Ron Rolston, either. Mister Pegula has his baselines set. Meanwhile, final-round phenom Seantrel Henderson had some rough moments, which is understandable for a rookie offensive tackle. But he created space for rushes and can work on containing the outside edge every time by his second paid game.

(John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Robert Woods showed that he’s still one of EJ Manuel’s favorite targets. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

As for caginess from a grizzled second-year man, one of Manuel’s best plays led to a punt. Stepping out of bounds at the first quarter’s end reflected recognition that it’s better to end a series than season. While it’s tempting for any competitor to run for it, Manuel has learned since last year that this team needs him with functional knees. A dash to the sideline allowed him to keep targeting Robert Woods, who took one game to remind observers that he’s still here alongside splashy acquisitions.

It’s easier to put behind waiting for football when your side wins with flair. The seemingly endless interval since the last real game is forgotten if a guy whose jersey matches your Zubaz kicks a field goal on the final play. Prevailing in a tough game makes the uncertainty heading into the opener seem insignificant with perspective, although we’re still glad it’s over. Now, the team is owned by a billionaire fan who’s nuts for Buffalo if on-field perseverance didn’t provide enough relief.

The best thing about hoping to get to 2-0 at Miami’s expense is how nobody’s arguing about arguing. Last week’s purported bickering between coaches and executives wasn’t the most fun way to kill time before kickoff. Sure, the Super Bowl-era teams were catty to each other, but they earned it. The present edition needs more wins before they can be divas.

Last week, the ownership picture was as unclear as the staff’s ability to go an hour without shrieking at each other. At least unsure reports about Schrödinger’s argument meant fans weren’t as focused on a tough preseason. Gossip inadvertently mitigated the sense of dread paired with typical anxiety. But the Bills didn’t let issues become distractions. These players didn’t let zebras allying with Bears get them down any more than losing a coin flip. Adding five yards to the game-winning attempt just made it more climactic.

Making football adjustments in real time is more crucial than in any other sport.  Youngsters can’t burn a few games learning how speedily the pro game unfolds if they hope to play meaningful ones at year’s end. They offered hope in the same way the new dreamboat owner just quelled relocation fears.

New guys should know that they’re part of this franchise’s legacy whether they knew about it beforehand or not. They won for an owner they may have never met and a quarterback they may have never seen play. Classify it as a sneak preview of life under the second owner. Holding on in a game that could have easily slipped away means they thankfully haven’t ingrained everything about the Bills. Besides, players on Pegula’s new Bills team don’t have to follow trends. The entire franchise gets a fresh start.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.