(WECK 1230) — Operation: Won
So many times, the Bills have been “this close” to a win and found a way to lose. There was Shawn Nelson hoisted into the air by the Ravens, followed by pass-happy OT failures versus the Chiefs and finally a career-first missed point-after by a normally reliable kicker.
This time, they were “this close” to a loss and found a way to win. Lee Evans awoke from a couple weeks of ineptitude to get his fingertips on a deep ball from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
It was grey, blacked-out and wonderfully just enough. The Buffalo Bills will not be a miserable 0-16 thanks to the Detroit Lions (Get ready for the national media jokes, by the way). When one win makes a difference, it generally is the one that got you into the playoffs, but nay, no sir, not this year.
One win means simply misery instead of complete incompetence.
On to the game…
— Fred Jackson had a dynamite game to put the Bills running game in a good spot. It wasn’t all hugs and high-fives, as Jackson put a ball on the carpet in the second quarter only to be bailed out by his defense as Bryan Scott pushed the Lions out of a field goal attempt with a 3rd down sack. It was Jackson’s second fumble of the game — he recovered the other — but couldn’t negate the good of rushing 25 times for 133 yards and posting two scores.
Wins are more fun than losses.
— By the way, I’ve already said for several weeks that I don’t expect the Bills to draft No. 1 overall. Sad, but true.
— Big ups to Ryan Fitzpatrick for snagging the “Favre to Green” shovel pass touchdown stat. He now has 1,645 yards passing, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. This is mostly because it is nearly impossible to intercept a bouncing pass legally.
— Donte Whitner and Jairus Byrd played like real NFL safeties for most of the game and that never hurts efforts to win.
— Stevie Johnson, wow, what a drop on a route through the middle that could’ve been a game-sealing touchdown. I guess he could’ve been Terrell Owens last year. Before he can be a star, he needs to eliminate the weekly major brain cramp (the aforementioned play, lining up offsides, diving short of the first down marker to avoid a hit).
— I’m beginning to move toward the opinion that Demetrius Bell can hack it as a right tackle in the NFL (no, not left). He showed a little nasty, physical play against the Lions and if he can ever get the whole “not false starting” thing out of his system, we might have to really analyze his future.
— According to the rule book it was holding, but that was a pretty weak flag thrown on Jon Corto to negate Leodis McKelvin’s 78-yard punt return touchdown.
— Did the officials allow the Bills to bear hug Ndamukong Suh all day? The No. 2 overall pick who’s looked like a monster in almost every game this year was neutralized for most of the afternoon by Buffalo blockers. Whichever of the interior lineman was mostly responsible for this feat should be given a platter of delicious cheese.
— When Bills’ cut Ashlee Palmer made a huge fourth-down stop on Fred Jackson, I thought, “Seriously, this is how it’s going to go down today?” Luckily it didn’t. The Bills were dominant early and their failure to capitalize has haunted them often this year.
— After the loss to Chicago, we said, “You can’t like your chances in a game where Ryan Fitzpatrick has to throw the ball 51 times.” The same principle applies to Detroit and Shaun Hill (50 times, but you get the idea).
— I love what the defense was able to do with the very dangerous Jahvid Best, who carried 15 times for just 31 yards. Special notice goes out to Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards.
This week’s cut…
Quinton Ganther. Why? I don’t know, cause Clymer’s Jehuu Caulcrick deserves a game check. Keep Buffalo jobs in Buffalo! It’s a recession. Deal with it.
Stat line I liked…
Paul Posluszny, 13 tackles
— Yes, he’s too slow moving side-to-side and doesn’t quite work in a 4-3, but “Poz” was good for the second-straight week.
Stat line I didn’t like…
Detroit, 3-of-3 on fourth down.
I heard a radio host claim that Bills fans shouldn’t care if Buffalo wins because not many of these players will feature on this team next year. Forgetting the sheer logistical inaccuracy of this statement, I hope this sort of “peeing on someone else’s party” splatters back. The Bills won and that works for me. Plus, my son is now almost four days old and hasn’t seen his hometown NFL team lose. Let’s go, Bills.
The Bills go to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. If Buffalo can continue to play adequately against the run, that’ll make the difference in this game Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley and Chad Ochocinco against the Bills secondary. Buffalo should be able to handle that task, but can Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough against his old team’s middle-of-the-road pass defense? Too many variables: Bengals 24, Bills 16.
One more thing… I didn’t do a Bills rap this week, but I did have a kid. Thanks to everyone who offered my wife and me well wishes. I appreciate having you as a part of my life.