Buffalo Bills Can’t Beat Perception

If the Buffalo Bills are sick of being stereotyped, they can stop playing the expected way.  Their most recent performance showed them to be incapable of really making an elite team sweat. The doubters being right is the only thing that could make the performance more discouraging.  A few outstanding aspects don’t cut it: this team is not good enough to overcome infuriating mistakes and a coach who thinks he has to fill a punt quota.  Talent’s going to waste.  Copy and paste it every season.

Buffalo’s quarterback officially came out of retirement this summer in case you can’t tell.  The suddenly listless Kyle Orton would’ve never been replaced by Tim Tebow if he had thrown that many catchable balls to Broncos in 2011.  It’s hard to complete big passes while going through the motions.  Sliding like Willie Mays Hayes made fans wonder if EJ Manuel is watching and learning to do the opposite.

It turns out that pizza, automobile, and insurance spokesman Peyton Manning also plays football.  Having so many jobs seems unfair.  Regardless, he still pulled off a win in his non-commercial profession despite being held under 200 yards and without a touchdown toss.  Intercept a pair of his passes as well, and you’d figure this franchise would have a chance to steal a victory in Denver.  But that would mean you missed what happened when they got the ball back.

As has been the case for too much of the season, pass rushers had to score if they wanted to win.  Those slackers didn’t get any touchdowns.  They perhaps could have accomplished more if Jerry Hughes hadn’t played less for mysterious reasons that may or may not involve a timid coach turning stubborn.  The possibility that a subordinate called the shots is not a very encouraging sign that the boss is in control.

As it stands, an elite defensive line got no sacks against a quarterback capable of throwing with calm quickness.  A great athlete who somehow doesn’t seem athletic at all is impressive partly due to the sacks he doesn’t take.  it takes amazing talent to not only make great throws but deliver them in a few seconds.

Facing the Manning with a single ring was the easy part.  I hope Doug Marrone is not expecting the defense to keep Aaron Rodgers from throwing a touchdown.  At least they don’t have to face Tom Brady again, right?  Wait: what?!  While the game against the Raiders might seem like a respite, it still involves a trip to California to play in front of fans who want to murder them.  And nothing should presently be taken for granted by a team where exciting offensive plays have become the exception.

There’s little relief in knowing the outcome.  While it’s frustrating Back to the Future Part II-style hoverboards haven’t hit the market yet, some visions of the future have come true.  Specifically, soothsayers knew the schedule’s last quarter was going to prove formidable.  The prediction is coming into fruition no matter how obvious it was.  It’s one thing to accept a challenge and another to do so successfully.  The Bills are getting the chance to prove they’re competitive against the league’s best.  Don’t ask their grade in the first exam.

The conclusion’s start began exactly as feared.  An improved team is nonetheless still a few positions and coaching decisions away from being taken seriously.  As a result, the franchise once again may hate to wait for the stupid Earth to do its dumb revolution before seeing if they can break the playoff fast.  There’s no need to remind weary backers how many spins it’s been since the Bills played bonus elimination football.  Additionally, it’s not much consolation to know their defense could carry even a steadily average offense into the playoffs.

A relatively rare face-off against arguably the best quarterback ever brings to mind the quirks of fate that affect the pursuit of points.  The particular hardships any random franchise faces are unique.  A team can encounter certain future Hall of Famers with regularity and others seemingly never.  Transferring Manning’s longtime team out of the AFC East in 2002 was a gift to the Bills that they never opened.

Sunday served as an imperfect reminder that they luckily didn’t have to encounter Manning during one-eighth of their games through most of his career.  Bills fans can still enjoy seeing him play without having to face him, seeing how whatever team he’s on still gets approximately 83 percent of prime time games.  But they didn’t beat him when they had the chance even though they sort-of contained him.  That doesn’t make the loss better.

Noting the schedule’s brutality differs from whining about it.  In lieu of excuses, the Bills can again try to pressure a seemingly unflappable quarterback this week.  Perhaps Rodgers will start to slack off after realizing he already has 35 freaking touchdown passes this season.  And maybe he’ll conclude one Lombardi Trophy is enough.  That scenario seems more plausible than outscoring him.

As it stands, the one thing that can stop Buffalo’s defense is its offense.  If Orton is going to be this unspectacular, having him throw 57 freaking times again doesn’t seem like it’ll help.  People who think that it’s never too late to learn should watch the Bills play.

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.