Also, I was so fired up I did a five-minute audio post-game show. Check it out and download the emotional high of yesterhour.
— Ryan Fitzmagic is the man. Point blank. Nothing shatters his confidence, even if that strong mindset may be ill-founded because of accuracy concerns. The guy misses some passes awfully, but just watch the rest. The fourth-down peg to David Nelson with a man in his chest was magic.
This wasn’t his finest hour, but it’s what I wrote about last week: it’s a Fitz game. You may forget the Chiefs or Bengals wins, but you won’t forget this one or who quarterbacked. A pantheon win for No. 14.
— He’s got the guts to trade a star receiver just before a season and cut his starting quarterback just weeks into a season. He believes he can turn an Ivy League quarterback into a star and make cast-off tackles and tight ends into guys who matter.
But he doesn’t believe he can get 36 inches or less with a defense on its heels.
This is what keeps me from completely buying in on Thomas Chandler Gailey.
— Fred Jackson has some Benjamin Button thing going on, because he actually looks faster, tougher and more explosive with age. Where did that breakaway speed come from?
The “lovable losers” tag that we applied to this team last year is peeling off in a hurry. They are just lovable right now, from their vagabond head coach to their vagabond running back to their vagabond wide receivers and their Madden 2007 All-Star team of linebackers.
— This was one of those games that cements a player’s toughness in your mind, even without 100% success in said toughness. Stevie Johnson was clearly hampered by his leg injury but played through it. Dropped balls and a missing second gear were far from exemplary, but it wasn’t about this. Johnson fought through the pain and I love that. If anything is to come out of this game, it’s that Stevie Johnson had a Top-Ten WR game in Bills history, all things considered.
— This offensive line had a nice day with a difficult Raiders front four. They gave CJ Spiller lanes and the receivers and tight ends bought in with some massive blocking.
— Marcel Dareus is really good.
— Bills linebackers had some tepid moments, but Nick Barnett made up for some potentially costly errors by coming up with some big wrap-ups of Darren McFadden and a huge forced fumble that Danny Batten was able to corral.
— Really would’ve liked to see a — hindsight — onside kick on the kickoff after the third Bills touchdown. From midfield after the penalty on Hue Jackson? Why not?
— The Raiders have a nice team on offense and defense. I’ve always kinda liked Jason Campbell, who got punched in the small of the back time-and-again by Washington’s coaching staff, and Oakland’s defense isn’t awful with the exception of cornerback Chris Johnson, who was Pop-Tarted by Johnson and the Bills receivers all day. This is a good win, even with the 35 points allowed.
— George Wilson had his second-straight poor day, in my opinion. He’s a most-excellent quote and story, but he’s gotta bail out the struggling Leodis McKelvin on that deep ball to Nobody McTennessee that almost cost the Bills the game. Maybe Denarius Moore will turn out to be the Vol that common sense forgot, but Buffalo’s secondary can’t consist of Drayton Florence and a prevent D. Florence had a super-solid game versus Oakland.
Stat line I liked…
Fitz, 28-of-46 (46!) for 264 yards, three TDs, one INT
— For better or worse, he’s unshakable. You know what you’re getting from Fitz: some awful throws and some scary choices. I’m not christening him the franchise, but I’m also not going to let myself wait for the other shoe to drop. The Bills are giving me fun right now, not just 345 frustrating commercial breaks.
Stat line I didn’t like…
Jason Campbell, 23-of-33 for 323 yards, two TDs, INT
– I like Campbell, but not to boss around a secondary like that. Tom Brady will adore this game film. Maybe Aaron Williams should move to safety.
— Superhero performance. He’s so serious.
Please have fun with this, and don’t let people roll their eyes at you too much. That my wish, sports fans. “That’s my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?” This is why we watch sports. Take Jeff Quinn’s 24-hour rule before you worry about New England. That said…
I’m saying “screw it” to my reporter’s side that wants me to say 34-31, Pats. I’m high-fiving Archie Graham and sliding into third: Buffalo Bills 27, New England Patriots 26.