Buffalo Bills Letting the Good Times Roll

It’s 3 a.m., and another wobbly pop sounds like a fantastic idea.  Sure, you’ll have to wake up in the not-too-distant future for some boring job.  But you can enjoy not having to deal with a hangover right this second.  Let your head figure how to scrape yourself off the floor come morning, as Buffalo Bills fans are committed to having a blast now.  There is bound to be some stumbling during the gala, but the revelry is hopefully just getting started.

Fans now have evidence that short-term fix Kyle Orton will make it worth shelving the apparent long-term solution.  It may just be due to accident of birth year, but he’s started enough to know how to overcome grim plays that would doom a greener player.  You may have already liked Orton just because he disliked Tony Romo.  Now, you can also admire his ability to shrug off challenges, even ones he created.

As with switching passers to have a shot at making the playoffs, the Lions game was one where you don’t care how the Bills got it done.  That didn’t always make it fun.  The first half made fans fret that their team couldn’t even sabotage the future properly.  Throwing directly to a defender in consecutive weeks made fans wonder if anything really changed.  But Orton showed that familiarity with adversity is the easiest way to beat it.  Thankfully, he rebounded on the same Sunday.

Likewise, trench players improve through real-time competition.  The offensive line is moving past inexperience the only possible way, namely five games of collective experience at a time.

Meanwhile, their defensive counterparts settled down after sustaining gashes by someone with a rather sparse team page. Stefan Charles notably held his own, which was a relief for those who still want Kyle Williams back as soon as possible.  And all players of every position are hopefully using this this week to focus on quicker recognition that permits avoiding penalties committed as a result of reacting slowly.

Most importantly, the Bills should keep open the playbook they seemed to keep shut.  The calls were infuriatingly tentative early in Detroit, featuring little passes when they weren’t rushing straight into the pile.  Stretching the field after Fred Jackson makes attempted tacklers look forward to post-football careers is the formula Buffalo should replicate starting from this Sunday’s opening drive.

Buffalo has ample receivers to target, as they eventually remembered to show.  We were finally reminded that the difference between Marquise Goodwin and the Flash is that the Flash can’t catch.  Coaches should take note that success only followed assuming a little risk.  They now have just the man to deliver the ball.

After leaning on Robert Woods in the opener and Sammy Watkins after that, they Bills endured a few games where their top wideout was nobody.  But they can and should fully utilize a quarterback who’s getting more catchers involved in bigger ways.

At least initial apprehension was put out of the way before the already-stressful Patriots game.  Observers spent much of the last game wondering if the team jeopardized tomorrow without a payoff today.  They’re scuttling on-field development so they can win this second.  It took until the very last play to make sure, but Orton’s cultivated composure paid off.  This deal with the Devil hopefully lasts through January.

Short-term memory loss is a gift for any quarterback.  Orton can show EJ Manuel how to forget.  For one, he easily moved past memories of early struggles.  Despondent fans may have been wondering if Thad Lewis was available to sign at the half.  How about more Tuel Time?  Remember Tuel Time?  But a good veteran is able to disregard what went wrong during the previous quarter.

A chance for a fresh start in the fifth game is a blessing.  The club may not retire Orton’s jersey despite the impulse to treat it like Danny Gare’s number 18 as with that other franchise the natural gas baron owns. But he isn’t going to have to carry his own groceries in Buffalo for awhile, although he’ll have to get this team to the playoffs if he wants to play on Kyle Orton Field at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Games don’t have to be perfect to be wins.  Orton went over .500 in his starting career by calmly moving quickly after a sputtering opening.  Manuel may or may not ever consistently display the same steady manner.  For now, taking notes is the only way the second-year man can help his team and career.  If the starter can set a good example for the present backup, the switch may help this team in upcoming seasons as well.  Maybe they aren’t heedlessly living for the moment after all.

For now, fans can reflect how much has changed since the annual Lions preseason tilt, much less the last time they played a game that counts in Detroit.  Back in 2006, fans still may have not lost hope that J.P. Losman was beginning a long career behind center even as much of the city missed the game due to an unnervingly early storm destroying our trees.  I wasted precious emergency resources watching on a generator-powered television, and people who missed it were the lucky ones.

The tenacity to persevere through seeming disasters is a new trait, at least for the Bills.  The incumbent quarterback vaguely resembles Losman, perhaps enough to convince people they’re cousins.  At least they don’t play similarly.  Orton looks more like Karl from Workaholics, anyway.  Or maybe the mustache means his true twin is fellow former Bronco Uncle Rico.

Sure, this team still hasn’t definitively answered the quarterback question posed in 1997.  But they do have a 31-year-old who can accurately stretch the field.  The man once replaced by both Rex Grossman and Tim Tebow proved himself to be Buffalo’s guy, for now.

Counting on good fortune is a sure way to not have it.  They can’t rely on facing crummy kickers every week.  The slight ex-Lions dude may want to switch to a single-bar face mask if he gets another job so his helmet doesn’t weigh him down as much.  But the staff can note what worked and try it for the entire game against eternally despicable New England.  Continue enjoying the third win as the coaches hopefully adjust to get the fourth.  Who cares about tomorrow?  The Bills deserve to have fun now.

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.