(WECK 1230) — Alright, the Bills are 0-8 after their third-consecutive three-point loss. I’ve got a lot to say about the actual 22-19 loss to Chicago in Toronto, but there’s something bigger dominating my football mind: Fans need to stop with the 0-16 talk.
This team deserves better. It’s a bunch of under-talented guys who could be playing overwhelmed but keep bringing their proverbial lunch pails to work. In honor of these undrafted free agents and left-for-dead veterans, I’m beginning a new campaign:
We need a logo for “OW”, so hopefully some of you graphically-inclined folks can send some our way to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them in the comments box below. We’d sure appreciate it.
On to the game…
— One of the things I’m still learning as a play-by-play guy is you need to “leave yourself some place to go” regarding the emotion in goal calls, so I’m not going to go nuts on this, but how poor was Chan Gailey’s choice to challenge Roscoe Parrish’s “not-even-close-to-being-in-bounds” fourth-quarter snare? The computer wouldn’t even challenge that in “Madden 2003.” The timeout would’ve come in handy later, and how knows whether or not the Bills would’ve had better luck on fourth down had Chicago not had an extra four minutes of rest? The Bears defense had been on the field for 4:11 heading into the review. Whoever told Chan to throw the flag made a silly choice.
EDIT: My summer co-broadcaster for the Buffalo Flash games, Gregg Torlone, points out that Gailey may have been planning on using the time-out in that spot anyway, and figured he’d see what happened on the review/potentially gain more time. Very interesting proposition.
– He’s not near the top of the Bills list of problems, but Lee Evans appears heartless on the football field. At the very least, he has poor focus. Buffalo’s richly-paid wide receiver dropped multiple balls for what seems like the fourth or fifth game in a row, and his three catches for 31 yards performance isn’t wowing anyone.
In a league where undrafted free agent Chargers WR Seyi Ajirotutu can haul in four balls for 111 yards and two scores out of nowhere — or Fresno State — Buffalo needs more out of its $37-plus million man.
— Not a great game for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he’s not the reason the team lost. Fitz made the best of a mediocre performance from his offensive line and worked himself into decent passing positions on several left-for-dead plays. The game plan with him at quarterback rarely states “throw 51 times.” Hopefully, we’ll get a mid-week email alerting the media that his 299 yards passing have been changed to 300.
Maybe I’m being nice because I can’t get the image of his wonderfully haggard beard out of my noggin. This guy looks like Jeremiah Johnson fronting a thrash metal band, which is much different than quarterbacking the Bills… or is it?
— We’ll deal out a bunch of laurels and high-fives to Stevie Johnson later, but that 299 could’ve been 300 already if he didn’t take a dive short of the first-down marker late in the goings. I know getting hit hurts and the league is about safety-first, but your team needed a first down. Whether they got it after or not is irrelevant. Bad form, Peter.
— I have zero desire to plant the 0-16 flag, but I have no problem losing in Toronto. It’s a quieter joint than the Air Canada Centre for a Leafs game, which has been the biggest letdown of a crowd in sports for me. The similarities are striking, too, as the Leafs games hold out the passionate fan in favor of suits and the “Bills in Toronto” series shuts out Bills fans from a home game. Keep sending the money, however.
— Defensive coordinator George Edwards looks lost out there, and it’ll be very interesting to see whether Shawne Merriman sees time over Chris Kelsay or Reggie Torbor. The former looks pitiful at OLB in this 3-4, and the latter hasn’t been much better. I feel awful for Kelsay. He’s a terrific leader and guy for the locker room, but he looks like guy in that old lottery commercial who bought the Mets and decided to make himself the third baseman. Awful. The worst part is that no one is going to email me and tell me to stop overreacting.
— I have zero problem with Gailey choosing to go for two after the Bills went up, 19-14. That’s what you do there when you have gumption and common sense working side-by-side. Period.
— Paul Posluszny not only looked like a real NFL middle linebacker, he played like a good one. Score one for him, as well as Jairus Byrd. The second-year man took advantage of the Bears poor line to knife into the backfield for several good plays.
— Speaking of good guys, I want Akin Ayodele to do much better after a pal sent me looking for his quote from this month’s Esquire, “Surprisingly, Buffalo does have quite a few good restaurants around here. There’s a place I’ve been going to at least once a week — it’s called Papaya. Duck, pad thai. The food’s pretty good up there.”
Another point for the QC.
— Arthur Moats is a big dude.
— More good play from Kyle Williams, who has become the default “guy to compliment” on the Bills roster.
This week’s cut…
Whoever was supposed to block Israel Idonije on extra points. Yeesh. Also, Tim Ryan and Sam Rosen for constantly informing us that Idonije was thriving at home. Manitoba’s not all-that-close to Toronto, and Idonije was born in Nigeria. Get a map.
Stat line I liked…
Stevie Johnson, 11 catches, 145 yards
— I don’t know that I agree with Bills postgame guy Brent Axe’s “a star is born” sentiments, but Johnson has stopped lining up offsides and is catching nearly every ball thrown near his hands. Now, if he could only catch the one-hoppers.
Stat line I didn’t like…
Bills running backs, 16 carries, 37 yards, 2 TD, fumble
— Save for one 15-yard C.J. Spiller run, this is pathetic. Now that the team can somewhat pass block, can offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris start to focus on what’s supposed to be easier (run blocking)?
Come on, boys.
The Lions come to town, perhaps without Matthew Stafford. It’s going to be very difficult for the Bills to stop Jahvid Best. The Lions have two double-digit wins this year and only one big loss on their record. I’d love to call “Operation Win” an instant success, but I just don’t see it: Detroit 28, Bills 20.
One more thing… We’ve moved our pregame show to a Monday Night Football outing at Hucklebuckets. Come watch my show from 7-8 on Mondays, followed by whoever is tangoing on MNF on a ton of nice TVs. I’m unaware if the collective weight of the televisions is over 2,000 pounds. Also, you can rarely guarantee which random athlete or personality might be joining me for the hour, plus Luke Russert on the horn.