Immediate Reactions: Bills 49, Bengals 31

A dramatic recreation of the Bills poster in every Mighty Taco. Usually, this is against the Colts.

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(WECK 1230) — I’ve been teetering on the verge of saying this for weeks, since saying plainly that the Bills are not the worst team in football and will not be drafting No. 1 overall, and today the words come out:

I love this Buffalo Bills team.

The texts have changed since the team’s decided change in tone have been echoed by results. While I don’t agree with a whole lot of what Buddy Nix has done — Alex Carrington and Cornell Green have been inspiring this season — I’m still pretty much on board with T. Chandler Gailey.

Bills fans in Buffalo have become the guy in school who likes avant garde music you find to be trash. It’s fun to like the underdog, to feel like you’re on the ground floor and to basically not give a crap about anything but the here and now.

But, Nick, if we keep winning we won’t get Andrew Luck! Yep, and if we keep losing we might not get him anyway. When did we become a bunch of sports fans who embodied the problems with our waterfront? We got something cool now, and we get something cooler later, too. There are more than one quarterbacks in the world. Even more alarming, when did we become the guy who passes up a perfectly good date because in some six months a hot dame might want to share some caramels?

Even worse are the folks who are mad at the Bills for winning. This same crop that wants the team to turn around in no time flat would prefer their team be gutless wonders who purposely spent their a year of their livelihood working just hard enough to lose.

Since this summer, I’ve said there wasn’t much of a chance the Bills would win less than four or more than eight games, using the “two games either way” rule from the 6-10 edition in 2009. Yes, this was a win against a bad team, but it was a big comeback win on the road. Don’t overthink it.

I think I’ll buy a ticket for next Sunday’s game if it doesn’t sell out. I want to support a team that cuts dead weight, benches prima donnas and doesn’t see the benefits of quitting early. It may be short-sighted, but I watch sports to have fun, and that’s what the 2010 Bills have been giving me for the better part of eight weeks.

On to the game…

— Imagine if this team could draft.

Seriously, they found their new star receiver in the seventh round, their starting running back in undrafted free agency and a capable quarterback on the free agent scrap heap. The quickest way to turn around a team is with first- and second-round draft picks, but the Bills have done it with the leftovers while the pass rushers taken in the past two drafts are well-paid witnesses (Carrington and Aaron Maybin).

— After three-straight incompletions on the penultimate Bills drive of the first half, Fitz came back with a furious four-play sequence with 2:34 to play. The screen pass touchdown to Donald Jones worked just fine, but I was more impressed with Fitz’s pocket sense on a 2nd-and-6 completion to the Youngstown State wide-out. Unless he decides to play nude and left-handed, Fitz is going to be your Week One starter in 2011.

— The drive after the George Wilson interception was also dynamite. Much was lost in the sauce considering Fitz’s touchdown toss to the corner of the end zone to Stevie Johnson was A-plus stuff. Overlooked highlights were the Fitz scramble for a first down and the tight window air mail to David Martin. Luckily for Martin, he was looking for the ball unlike on an ill-fated screen pass in the first half.

— Rian Lindell did not have a good day. In fact, I think he hasn’t been the same since WGR personality Mike Schopp labeled him perhaps the best kicker in team history a few weeks back. Sorry, Mike.

— I thought it was nice for Drayton Florence to do something that wasn’t a pass interference penalty. Fumble return for touchdown.

— After the return, Carson Palmer and the Bengals did a lot to subdue enthusiasm with a nearly seven-minute drive. Screen passes, dump-offs, misdirections and mid-length completions were very, very effective. Throwing the football to George Wilson, who plays on the Bills, was ineffective. It really trumped the good things, that interception.

— Terrell Owens was certainly detestable today, but he’s still pretty good at getting open enough to catch several footballs an afternoon. Bet it felt good for the Bills to top Terrell.

— Gus Johnson’s hallmark is the “Oh, caught!” It’s gotta be in the Madden game, right? I haven’t played it.

— Several times I had flashbacks to the comeback win in Cincinnati from a few years ago when Terrence McGee had a pick-six and a return touchdown. I also had a flashback to Terrell Owens leaping for overthrown Trent Edwards passes and dropping them as a Bill last year.

— Marvin Lewis has to be fired. This Bengals team is far too talented to lose to the Bills. They are also way too undisciplined.

— The split screen of Carson Palmer and George Wilson after the latter’s pick of the former was hilarious. I could’ve done a Mystery Sports Theater 3000 on what Wilson was saying for a while.

This week’s cut…

I’m sorry, Orchard Park, but Jon Corto can be forgiven once for a penalty that nullifies a big return. Twice is a lot in the NFL.

Stat line I liked…

Fred Jackson, 21 rushes, 116 yards, 2 TD // three receptions, 13 yards.
— He’s a lot like his quarterback, as his intelligence makes up for the lack of flashiness.

Stat line I didn’t like…

Cedric Benson, 25 carries, 124 yards, TD // three receptions, 22 yards
— It’s weird how the Bills had trouble stopping the run.


The Bengals haven’t beaten the Bills in 22 years. I’m thinking I should make up some red-and-blue “We Own The Bengals” tee shirts and sell them. It would be one heck of a marketing campaign.

Next week…

The Bills are home for what will likely look like a Steelers home game, or a bowl game at-best. Cheapest tickets on Stubhub this week for Steelers and Raiders at Heinz Field were about $130, so this is a good chance for diehard Pittsburgh fans to head up here. The Bills haven’t lost a game by more than 10 points since Oct. 3. That ends this week as Jonathan Scott and the Steelers prove it’s not about the linemen… Pittsburgh 31, Buffalo 17.

Finally… come hang out with The Buffalo News’ Jay Skurski and me at Hucklebuckets in Amherst’s Northtown Plaza on Monday from 7-8 p.m. EST. We’ll be live-to-air before Monday Night Football!


8 Responses to Immediate Reactions: Bills 49, Bengals 31

  1. That waterfront comparison is nonsensical. It’s fitting to my case because a main deterrent to the waterfront development is that awful, unnecessary Skyway. Like the Bills need to remove the garbage they built. And won’t, Chris Kelsay.

    There is one goal for professional football players: Win the World Championship. Any games won after the @TOR loss is selfishness. The Bills have cost themselves the chance at obtaining better talent. Intentionally losing is not an admirable quality, but you play with the rules the NFL gives.

    The Bills’ best kicker was Gary Anderson. WHOOPS~! And then the Bills replaced him soon after with the worst kicker in league history, Joe Danelo.

    Gus does say “Oh, caught!” in Madden. You should pattern your announcing style after Gus the Great, Nicholas.

    Starting Fitzmagic next year is a waste of time. If it were up to me, the Bills leader is currently Jake Locker. He will be the next QB God after Michael Vick. Then we’d have to fire Gailey, of course, with his sterling eye for QB talent.

    • Sure it makes sense. Not only in your comparison — I’m guessing — but in the sense that we continue to wait for the perfect fix instead of the several options that would be giant.

  2. Depressing seasons don’t help you win championships. Having a reputation as a tough team and a fan base that believes in you does. If you don’t feel this way, stop watching sports. It’s more fun without people like you.

  3. Re: “Fitz is going to be your 2011 week 1 starter”. He may not be an option, he is a free agent after this year after all.

  4. Unless this was based on % when it was said, there is absolutely NO WAY that Lindell is the best kicker in Bills history. Just ask yourself who’d you rather have kicking the FG in OT against the Oilers in the Comeback game – Christie or Lindell.

    I know I would have rather of had Christie kicking it against Cleveland on Monday Night a couple of years ago…

    …or against Pittsburgh in the season finale in 2004…

  5. the #1 pick will mean nothing if we don’t continue to draft well. no more 1st round picks like losman, mccargo, whitner, mkelvin, spiller, mcgahee, williams, maybin, lynch…why does it seem the Bills overthink things at the top of the draft? i will give credit for wood, levitre, joker, wood, byrd, poz and some others. every time we draft it seems there is the smart pick and we go for a reach and blow it. Luck would be great if we could get an olb and def end that get after the qb.