The collective groan coming from Bills fans who were watching Chicago Bears’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky get ‘pettinized’ by the Green Bay Packers 10-3 on Thursday night could be heard all the way to Wyoming . The Packers defensive coordinator (and former Bills DC) Mike Pettine did what he seems to always do against young quarterbacks; pester them into making mistakes and running for their lives.
Mitch Trubisky, in his third year as Bears’ quarterback was constantly under siege throughout the game. His unimpressive 26-of-45 for 228 yards, 0 TD 1 INT 5 SACK performance was uninspiring to say the least.
No doubt Bills fans cringed every time Trubisky stared down a receiver or made an ill-advised pass into double coverage. We are automatically triggered to project every bad performance by a young quarterback on to Josh Allen because that is what we do after 20 years of unsuccessfully searching for an answer at the most important position in the game.
I get it. Trubisky even has an extra year of experience on Josh Allen, so that must make it even more anxiety provoking – because of course Allen is destined to fail. It’s what we’ve come to expect from every young quarterback who plays for Buffalo.
To add to the misery, the Bills and Allen are facing the infamous Jets’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on Sunday, who like Mike Pettine seems to have found more success as a coordinator than as a head coach. We know all too well what kind of tactics Williams likes to employ to freak out young quarterbacks.
However, before we leap into a full-fledged panic attack about what’s going to happen at Met-Life Stadium on Sunday, let’s take a gander at venerable quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ stat line for a moment. Rodgers numbers: 18-of-30 for 203 yards, 1 TD 0 INT 5 SACKS.
That’s right, Aaron Rodgers stat line was almost identical to MItch Trubisky’s. Mind you, Rodgers did not play at all during the preseason, so some rust is to be expected. The Bears’ defense looked a lot like they did last season when Kahlil Mack and company rolled over opponents with regularity.
So what can we conclude from the Bears/Packers defensive showdown?
What happened in Chicago stays in Chicago.
If the Bills and Josh Allen crater on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, it won’t be because Allen is destined to match Mitch Trubisky’s inept performance on Thursday night. It will be because he and the Bills would fail spectacularly on their own merit.
Our twenty year travesty (mostly) of Bills performances has turned many of us into a bunch of neurotic, superstitious ‘Chicken Littles’ who refuse to believe anything good could possibly happen to the Buffalo Bills. Their track record at acquiring franchise quarterbacks since Jim Kelly only stokes our fear.
Though it’s understandable, it’s still irrational. But that’s kind of what the definition of a fanatic implies. Fans are irrational by nature and we don’t need much help connecting the dots between what the Bills do and how disaster seems to always follow.
This year I’m taking a different approach. Instead of listening to all the talking-heads pontificate about how we should all think about the Bills or Josh Allen, I’m tuning them out. We’ve all know there’s plenty of time for misery during the offseason.
So instead, I’m going to employ the same strategy I do for life in general. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But more importantly, I’m going to enjoy each and every day along the way.
Unlike years past, I expect the Bills to be a better team this year than they have been in many years. Barring catastrophic injuries, the defense is sound, mature and ready to dominate.
I expect Josh Allen to continue to be a work in progress but continue to improve his efficiency as the offensive line begins to jell. The trajectory of his growth will not be in a straight line and will provide plenty of fodder for his critics.
All I care about regarding the Bills at this point is winning and continuing to improve as the season progresses – along with enjoying each day that brings us all together. IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON!
Editor’s babble: Here we go! You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO. Go Bills!
*UPDATED to reflect typo on Aaron Rodgers stat line to correct his 1 TD 0 INT 5 SACK performance.