Fearing success is a novel sensation. Ruts can get comfortable. But maybe it’s better to give this playoff race jazz a go even if it means exposure to pain. The Buffalo Bills dreamed of Baltimore forgetting they’re decent, which didn’t prove to be enough. Still, fans can’t exactly be surprised even if seeing how they measure against an easy Super Bowl pick was naturally disappointing.
Facing the conference’s cruelest team could’ve been a chance to make every football fantasy come true or an opportunity for mortification at disintegration. The result was somewhere in between.
Subtlety is tricky. But it’s nice to still have opportunities to advance after a middling outing in a loss that didn’t define the season. It’s normal to rue not capturing a win that would’ve doubled as a prize no matter the initial expectations.
That was perfect timing to be on virtual national television just a bit too soon. CBS got a little ahead of itself like retail managers ordering Baby Yoda dolls that won’t be stocked until after Christmas. Still, Buffalo was in it until their last down, which is unlike how a prominent game would’ve unfolded in previous years. Not being embarrassed will have to count as progress.
The nation’s totally impressed with how far Josh Allen can throw. Connecting with receivers who haven’t run that far would wow for more useful reasons. 17 started off 1 for 7 as he still indulges in the habit of chucking a ball like Uncle Rico.
Crank the Stunt Cycle too furiously and wonder why Evel Knievel crashes into the davenport. Mechanical abilities need to be psychologically managed. Allen has to calm down. Chant a mantra to stay level from the opening kickoff, like Killer Carlson being one with the universe.
I wonder why nobody mentioned anything about this Lamar Jackson player. You’d think the media would praise him. This totally mysterious quarterback now has highlights if any pregame shows want to finally discuss his season.
The presumed MVP’s various abilities have brought him starring roles. Dual-threat quarterbacks are like bank robbers in that you can only get away with it for so long.
But being on the run sure can be exciting until cops find you or Tremaine Edmunds folds your rib cage like an accordion.
Jackson’s also finding a way to deliver passes even without terrific mechanics. Like life, players find a way. General managers can’t just draft based on what’s measured at the Combine.
The Bills apparently had better things to do than cover the tight end. One lapse is sometimes all it takes. Even a diluted conference’s best team forces the sort of mistakes you regret for eternity.
Meanwhile, the underdog couldn’t exploit their foe’s foibles. Buffalo’s biggest weapon was Baltimore’s personal fouls. There wasn’t enough exploitation of excessively rough play. Their leading receiver was the ground.
Wallowing is easy, noted the moping teen on Tumblr. There’s little risk in life when everything stays crummy. The Bills have historically become attached to failure to the point where it seems intrinsic to personality.
This franchise is proficient at being Shakespearian, and not Twelfth Night, either. But not everything has to end with heartbroken poisoned corpses just because that narrative seems to occur frequently.
It’s all over except for the season and race. Reflexively fatalistic fans may need to be reminded. We impulsively expect the complex to crumble like it was built with waxed playing cards. Fear about the Bills stomping hearts while losing games is simply a matter of noticing patterns. But those can be broken.
Games matter, which makes this season tricky. We’re supposed to be free from distractions to focus on Christmas shopping. How can you pick just the right Amazon gift card for me while there’s more than draft position at stake?
The horror of being above teams in the hunt creates apprehension. If everything falls apart, there’s nothing about which to be nervous. Playoff hopefuls enjoy antacids with coffee.
Stress is a welcome tradeoff. This roster gets another showcase that will be broadcast beyond the two cities with competing teams. Next is Buffalo’s first Sunday Night Football game since the forward pass was invented. That particular rule should benefit Allen if he can stay relaxed despite the inherent excitement of nighttime football.
For now, those outside our fanbase learned the Bills are promising but flawed like a Ghostbusters reboot. The scrutiny that comes with being pretty good should be welcomed. This franchise is accustomed to being ignored, which leads to spiraling unaccountability. I blame regional coverage for two decades of mostly bad football. I guess some of the players didn’t help.
Losing to Baltimore is popular. The Bills joined a trend among decent teams who aren’t elite falling short against the Ravens. If we’re going to be like those irksome positive types who looks for good signs in a loss, it may as well be to notice how skilled the presumed top seed is at calling plays conducive to the roster’s talents.
The schedule only gets easier in theory. They suddenly have to beat a hosting Pittsburgh team eager to win a tiebreaker that’s playing rugged defense in the franchise’s style for the past half century. The Bills must show they’re the best students in algebra even if they’re not ready for calculus. Tense games are what we’ve wanted. I just hope the genie doesn’t laugh while granting our wish.
Editor’s babble: This might be one of my very favorite columns written by Anthony. Talk about capturing the essence of Bills fans’ cognitive dissonance. Can’t thank Anthony enough for all his superb contributions to our blog. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.