Winning teams don’t talk about how close it was. Aw, man: they only finished up by a touchdown? Moral victories are losses. The league is firm about what counts, and there is no video review.
At the same time, psychological defeats don’t factor for anything worse in the standings even if my precious feelings are hurt. The fantastic notion that the Buffalo Bills had a chance to take the division would’ve merely been a holiday bonus. But Tom Brady’s smirk irks evermore like a Peloton ad airing for two decades.
The usual excuses wore off during the J.P. Losman era. Sure, it’s tougher than a Domino’s crust to emerge triumphant from New England’s lair for just about everyone, not to mention that the Bills would’ve been relying on a Ryan Fitzpatrick miracle next week.
The biggest sign of competitiveness remains elusive. But they’re no longer only trying to mar a playoff team’s record as their own personal championship.
Don’t worry if you forgot about the Saturday start, as so did the Bills. There are whispers about Sean McDermott as a coach of the year candidate even if they’re faint enough that you think you might have muted the tab. Calls would be more audible if his club showed up for more than half the games.
Making sure his squad is prepared for the entire outing wouldn’t just mean fans get full value for tickets and time invested. Think of what the word “quarters” might mean. A dollar can turn into four tries to beat Donkey Kong if it helps Coach visualize a game plan.
There’s something at stake in the final matchup even if the place is unalterable. Using the finale as a preseason game is an opportunity as rare as a happy Jets fan.
There’s still plenty to gain even if the Bills are locked in to five like Stanley Hudson. It would be a shame to sit starters who can work on consistency. They shouldn’t be allowed to rust like grain elevators: get to repurposing now.
First-stringers should play in the finale just to work off frustration. You may have heard about Buffalo’s history of losing all the dang time in every way imaginable against villains who always succeed at taking Nakatomi Plaza.
The only thing worse than how the goons win is the disgraceful manner in which they do so. My sources indicate New England is renowned for cheating when they’re not issuing cheap shots. Why can’t scumbags stop being unpleasant? Nature is tough to alter. Richard Nixon would’ve been reelected without Watergate, but he couldn’t shake the feeling people disliked him.
Resentment isn’t the only reason to despise a bully who’s tormented endlessly. Fans loathed, say, the 49ers in the ’80s because they were successful, not because they were particularly diabolical humans. By contrast, admiring the Patriots is like hoping locusts consume your crops.
Trying to trip a foe is how Brady reminds us he’s flaming radioactive trash who’ll never be respected. And Julian Edelman’s equipment does not include a conscience. One can’t cheer for the Patriots while simultaneously feeling pride.
The tide is turning, and not just when vying against their ostensible foes. Despite the usual egregious missed calls, officials dared rebel against their masters as if they were finally inspired by a Star Wars movie. New England’s offense can commit pass interference, too?! Striped patsies are supposed to be helping the league’s pet . They’re instead flagging offenses, which is totally unfair.
Even better, there were actual highlights to enjoy from Foxborough. Dawson Knox being ruled down before the end zone on his spectacular catch created a delightful chance for new tight end Dion Dawkins. Bill Belichick bitching like his enemy wouldn’t have made sure the occasional offensive tackle was eligible counts as opening a present early.
As seen by how Gregg Williams still has an NFL job, everything is possible. Fate can be altered even if we’re accustomed to rotten outcomes. Making the playoffs two out of three years is what competent franchises do. I suppose that includes the Bills.
Coaches had it easy, as they tried to win without the context of agonizing history. We don’t have to make in-game decisions, so it evens out. Everyday stress could only be worse if McDermott had been with the club since 2000.
Focusing on what’s going on right now is the best way to improve the future. Adjust context by moving past painful memories. A valiant loss isn’t worth celebrating unless you know how much better Saturday’s contest went than usual. The Bills are a Wes Anderson character looking ahead despite life throwing mud clumps.
Nothing is permanent even if it feels like they’ll never replace the Skyway. Limited human perspective means the car in front of us taking four seconds to accelerate at a green light may as well be taking an eternity. Televisions were still furniture the last time Buffalo won the AFC East.
It seems like Buffalo is finally and blessedly gaining on the Patriots. But wins are the only way to truly measure progress. The Bills feel like a fifth seed, so I guess that worked out. There remains room to improve while having improved.
Editor’s babble: Merry Christmas BillsMafia! Thanks to Anthony Bialy, who always provides some jollies year-round. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.