Backward and Downward as Buffalo Bills Regress

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Even the best football researchers are unsure how it’s possible get rustier after the opener.  The Buffalo Bills took a team vote, and the offense decided to tank.  The other option is they were trying to score, and that seems implausible.  How did they spend the week?  Practice would’ve been a better option.  It’s not mean if you sat through the latest challenge to your devotion.

If time can go backward, the clock is meaningless.  Carolina ended up with about 73 minutes of possession despite not moving the ball much.  The NFL just loves games without touchdowns, as they’re more fun than replay delays and arguing about what a catch is combined.  The Bills do their part to make football devotees appreciate good games for their relative rarity.

Games this infuriating never get easier.  We have ample proof.  The Queen City brawl goes to Charlotte by default.  Cincinnati gets the bronze because they’ve somehow scored fewer touchdowns than Buffalo.  There are plenty of teams coping with stagnation if it makes you feel better.

Sigh: they’re back to normal.  The only upside of consistent setbacks is having dealt with frustration before.  The closest precedent that comes to mind was in 2005 when the Bills beat a lousy team in the opener followed by only managing a field goal in the next. There’s just a different regrettable quarterback debate now.  At least we got to enjoy long pass attempts 12 years ago.

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Carolina better not be boasting when they mention the Field Goal Bowl. They somehow almost frittered away the most underwhelming win in recent memory.  This was a Bills loss where the foe just happened to be there.  It was like Seattle and Atlanta blowing Super Bowls as opposed to New England winning them, only with the precisely opposite stakes.

In-game decisions brought to mind Blockbuster Video passing on buying Netflix.  The Bills should know they don’t bank unused timeouts.  Basic clock management could’ve made a game where they had no business being competitive miraculously end in their favor.  Instead, they added one last bit of heartbreak by waiting as long as possible to stop the clock on Carolina’s last possession.  Leaving yourself less time means more efficiency, I guess.  Rex Ryan could teach Sean McDermott how to use timeouts.

Play defense for the Bills if you want a guaranteed weight loss plan, as you’ll never stop running.  They’ll try to gain it back at the pizza party the offense better host for everyone else.  Buy the whole Rock-afire Explosion to make the apology complete.  It’s hard to tackle while on the field for what was unnervingly close to the whole game, which makes not conceding a touchdown quite the feat.  Carolina can’t say the same.

At least we have an example of how defense is undervalued.  They can only control the game so much by reacting to snaps.  Lorenzo Alexander and Jerry Hughes are as mean a pairing as Run-DMC and adidas. Everyone already cheered for Eddie Yarbrough, and a relentless sack makes it easy.  As for free agent steals, Jordan Poyer is the latest guy who embodies the best aspirations of a struggling team.

Photo of DE Eddie Yarbrough from

Like when his turkey sandwich was a little dry, Homer Simpson learned the hard way how wishes can backfire. A fast-paced offense is counterproductive if it leads to a punt in a minute.  It’s hard to get touchdowns when first downs are rare.

Many NFL teams like to use wide receivers.  In fact, they emphasize them.  Noting the present affinity for deep passing may seem like a trite observation, but Buffalo should get onboard by the third game.

While Carolina’s defense may be good, it’s tough to be sure when they only had to defend one aspect.  And the most notorious pass attempt failed, anyway.  It’s tough to fault a rookie wideout for not making what would’ve been a catch and a half.  But there’s no more of a ‘Billsy’ play than hands on a ball that ends up incomplete.

Talk radio callers wanting to see how a rookie can pass means the offense is doing well, right?  Tyrod Taylor needs to display more of the quiet confidence he exhibits off the field.

For now, the league remains unsurprised.  Typical predictions look like they’re closer to true, presuming anyone outside our fanbase remembered to care about the Bills.  Those of us left behind are back to worrying LeSean McCoy’s career will be wasted.  Even superstars can’t defy space and time when there are about 10 defenders in the box.

Photo of RB LeSean McCoy from

The next foe cruelly won’t let up after a letdown.  Denver’s one of those teams that seems like it’s always strong even when it’s only okay.  And we don’t know if any of their players got superpowers after being struck by lightning last Sunday.  With apprehension back in season, the whole part about rewarding fans’ faith seems to have been paused again.

Unsurprising in theory, sinking to .500 was unbearable in practice.  Other than treating the line of scrimmage as the line of death, the first real challenge went well.

Editors babble: As always, many thanks to Anthony Bialy for his contributions to our blog. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy. 

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.

15 Replies to “Backward and Downward as Buffalo Bills Regress”

  1. Stay tuned for this. The Bills are concerned with Dareus ankle injury. (Maybe a lack of buying in or just plain lazy). They resigned Deandre Coleman who wants to play and MAYBE put Dareus on IR. I don’t think the light bulb will come on for him. The Bills like Coleman.

  2. Now that Dareus got that monster contract, he’s become Albert Haynesworth (Dareusworth). How much longer are the Bills stuck taking a huge cap hit before they can release Dareusworth?

  3. Good morning….

    Nice article Anthony written like a true Bills fan that has endured the last 17 years of futility!!

    I saw some positives in the game and they all came on defense as they swarmed to the ball but without and sustainable offense the defense will wear out and when that happens the injuries will mount…

    Dareus took 8 snaps last week has one tackle and one assist according to the Bills NFL site but I think they are being generous as he doesn’t have a tackle yet. Let’s face it he is an out of shape over paid blowhard. It is no surprise that he is hurt already!! He took the money and quit playing. June 1st 2018 will be his last day on the Bills as he can be released but will cost the Bills 11 million in dead salary space for 2 years..

    Put him on IR and don’t let him come near the squad ever again!!

  4. If they’re going to cut him, which they probably are…they should just do it this year and figure out whatever they need to make it work. They’re not going anywhere this year anyhow, so the more they can limit any cap penalties in years that hopefully matter, the better.

  5. Woods and Watkins both had over 100 yards receiving (Watkins had 2TDs), even Goodwin had 67 yards. What a difference a QB makes for players.

  6. Buffalo West had a really good night last night. Besides Watkins and Woods, Robey got a couple of turnovers.

    Gonna try to catch the game on Sunday at my local BillsBacker Bar. We’ll see if they can make it worth my while to stay past halftime.

  7. Greg-
    The defense is awfully entertaining to watch even after just two games! If they keep improving they will be the defense Rex dreamed his would be.

    Watkins and woods- two more players squandered away because they didn’t have the OL or QB to make use of them while they were cheap.
    Way to build a team “Doug”!

  8. I think the D is improved, but I’m curious to find out how good they really are. I’m not all that sold on Carolina. I think it’s possible their 2-0 might be similar to what the Bills 2-0 would have been had they pulled that game outta their backside. Had the Bills started 2-0, I still think they’da been on a 7-9 path.

  9. Good morning…

    Dareus just needs to be put on IR and say goodbye to his career in Buffalo. I’m sure he will finally be motivated playing for another team.

    The Rams had the Bills receiving corp and they did excellent against the 49ers. Watkins suffered a concussion and is on the NFL protocol list. As much as I understood the trade of Watkins, watching him, Woods and Goodwin have such a productive game just make me think of what could have been!

    The O-line again will be without the services of Glenn, he just can’t seem to get healthy. it is the same ankle problem that has bee giving him trouble since last season… The Bills are awfully thin on the O-line with lack of depth. Add into the fact they are still learning the new blocking schemes it could be a long day tomorrow for the offense.


  10. Watkins, Woods, and Goodwin are all terrible…don’t forget Whaley was involved in their drafting and he can’t draft! Worst in all the league! Or something…

    • yes, he was the worst in the league at having drafted players on the roster, second worse is the chicago bears. something like 23% draftees on the roster compared to over 60% for playoff teams.
      sammy and woods were good picks but he failed to build a team.

  11. I think he actually built a decent team., but he had crappy coaches that he didn’t have a hand in hiring. They weren’t championship level, but they were playoff caliber as the McBeanies like to say.