Bills go from tanking to trapping

Photo of QBs Tyrod Taylor and Andy Dalton from

I dare you to be honest.

Raise your hand, high and proud, if you are a Bills fan that was convinced this past August, the front office of the Buffalo Bills organization was orchestrating a deliberate attempt to “tank” the 2017 football season so they could get a better draft position next spring.

Their best cornerback allowed to leave in free agency, the 2nd best traded away. Their best wide receiver, in some fan’s eyes their only legitimate wide receiver, traded also.

It was obvious. Right?

Well, not to Head Coach Sean McDermott. Nor to General Manager Brandon Beane. In fact, I don’t think the word “tanking” is even in their vocabulary.

Fast forward one short month, the end of the first quarter of the NFL regular season. The Buffalo Bills are 3-1, alone atop the AFC East. This…is not the definition of tanking. To McDermott, Beane and company, planning for the future (making trades for draft picks) and maintaining a competitive football team (winning games) are not mutually exclusive entities. It’s just their way of doing things. And, they are very good at it.

Photo from

Today, as they begin the 2nd quarter of the season, the Buffalo Bills face the 1-3 Cincinnati Bengals. If you are a social media participant, you have no doubt seen the word “trap” spring up, and more than once. Trap, as in “trap game”, the idea that the recently successful Bills will let their guard down, because they are facing a team with a poorer record.

There are two problems with this idea, though.

The first, is an incredibly weird situation. Though the Buffalo Bills have a record of 3 wins and only 1 loss, and Cincinnati has a record of only 1 win with 3 losses, the home Bengals are 3 point favorites. Technically, a team cannot have a trap game, if they are the underdog. Now, that’s just technically.

In reality, the Buffalo Bills players, though technically underdogs according to the Vegas line, can mentally and emotionally come into the game thinking they are the better team, and therefore, succumb to the proverbial trap, of a game like this.

Except, there is one person who will not let that happen.

Well, there is actually a process that will not let that happen.

Trust. The. Process.

Musings From Around the NFL

Photo from

The Chiefs, Steelers, and Packers continue their predicted success, while the Lions, Rams, and of course Bills continue their unexpected impressiveness.

The 49ers, Browns and Bears continue their predicted losses, while the Giants, Dolphins, and Patriots are causing heads to shake with their unexpected lack of impressiveness.

There are a flock of teams at 2-2, some expectedly, some not. (We’re looking at you – New York Jets)

The Colts are in limbo until their messiah returns, the Chargers can’t buy a break, and the Vikings, Seahawks, Cardinals and Saints can’t make up their mind if they are going to be good, or bad.

Fantasy Football Tips

Injuries. Wow.

Fantasy superstars are tearing apart season-long fantasy leagues with injuries, significant or daily-by-daily minor.

You did notice that Doug Martin is back – did you pick him up, yet?

Last Week

What a win!  Am I right?

Wait, I wrote those words last week after the Broncos game. Maybe, just maybe, I can write them next week, too?

But, it was…quite a win for the entire organization. It was the poke in the eye to the rest of the NFL, too.

When was it for you? When was the moment, when they were winning, when you said to yourself, “Here it comes. This is where they lose the game.”

Photo of DT Cedric Thornton from

For me, it was with the 1:37 mark of the final quarter. Cedric Thornton had just sacked Matt Ryan for a loss, that was then nullified by a Leonard Johnson defensive holding penalty. That’s when I knew they were going to lose. It was all too familiar. Play a great game – lose it in the final minutes. Appropriately, with penalties. Two plays later, Lorenzo Alexander – neutral zone infraction. Move the ball 5 yards closer to the goal line.

Here we go.

They won as we stood, as we held our collective breaths. Achingly close to a defensive holding penalty on the very last play.

No flag.

Well done, boys.

This Week

Today the Bills enter the trap.

Nah, not really.

The process continues.

Buffalo 20 – Cincinnati 17

Read me here next week.

Editor’s babble: Thanks to Rick Bates for another great contribution to our blog. You can follow Rick on Twitter @MyHammock.

2 Replies to “Bills go from tanking to trapping”

  1. Bills (+3) @ Bengals

    Bengals are coming off a shellacking of the hapless Browns 31-0 and they had the Packers on the ropes the week before before letting a late lead get away in a 27-24 loss. The Bengals are slowly getting their game into shape but stand at 1-3. This could be considered a must game for them to get back in the North division race.

    Are they catching the Bills at the right time after 2 unpredictable wins over the Broncos & Falcons and with the Bills bye week next week?

    The Bengals are dangerous on offense as they have A.J. Greene, Giovanni Bernard, LaFell but they also will be missing their top two TE’s in Eifert and Hewitt. Which Dalton will show up today, the one that can’t hit the broadside of a barn or the one that can thread the needle lie Aaron Rogers? On defense they rely on Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap to apply the pass rush and Pacman Jones the spark in the secondary and returns.

    Once again the Bills despite their 3-1 record and the ability to shut offenses down are getting little respect as many of the broadcasters are picking the Bengals..

    The Bills seem to play the Bengals on a regular basis and beat them last year at home 16-12 and lost the year before in Cinnci 34-22…

    The Bills defense is coming in banged up with Cb Gaines out with Hyde and Wright questionable. Plus, LB Humber is out and we never know if Gordy Glenn is going to play or if he plays how long he will last. Shaq Lawson is back so that will help and maybe just maybe they get some decent plays out of Dareus…

    The key to this game for the Bills will be to stop Giovanni on the ground and short pass routes and to pressure Dalton. Andy definitely looks like orphan Annie when he gets a hand in his face and gets knocked down. Look for Hughes & Lawson to bring the heat with a sprinkle in of Yarbourgh… The secondary has to stay tough and play through their injuries!

    The Bills are down to 4 wideouts for the game but they have finally got Clay into the passing game which is a plus for TT. The Bills snap out of their rushing doldrums today with a big game from Shady. Z. Jones gains his confidence back with a nice 6 catch 80 yard day with a TD–:)

    Bills have the best FG in football right now and it could come down to the wire again.!!

    Bills go into the break 4-1 and the Bengals leave the field shaking their heads.

    Bills 22 Bengals 17

  2. Can’t blame me…although I was close to caving and getting Sunday Ticket, I held off. Although I did find a radio broadcast program to listen to the game somewhere mid 3rd quarter. Luck ran out today. The D is pretty good. The O is suspect. Probably makes for anothher in the hunt season with no playoffs.