Immediate Reactions: Patriots 34, Bills 3

(WECK 1230) — A Bills victory was not to be, but in a sense there was a Buffalo win in the cards.

Two Buffalo offensive threats entered Ralph Wilson Stadium through different entrances in many different senses of the words, except for birth. New England’s Rob Gronkowski and Buffalo’s Naaman Roosevelt are both NFL players courtesy of Western New York, but each represents the choices many WNYers have to had to make over the years thanks to the stunted economic growth of the area.

Gronkowski is a big tall kid who appears straight out of “Hoosiers” if Shooter made sure all the players had access to only the best in whey protein, creatine and assorted muscle builders. He was so successful at a local public high school that he moved to a perceived better region of the country to get better exposure to elite college scouts. It worked: He was recruited by Arizona, Clemson, Louisville, Maryland, Ohio State, and Syracuse before choosing the first of the bunch. After a successful career and many nationally-televised games Gronkowski freaked out the combine with his skill and size to be drafted by the perennial power of the Patriots.

Naaman Roosevelt came from private school St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, where he was football dynamite in most senses of the word. He came to play for Turner Gill at a bad team in a lesser conference of Division-I football, the University at Buffalo. He came to UB because he was promised a shot at playing quarterback. He got it, but only saw his potential come through by learning an entirely new position, wide receiver. He went undrafted and was signed by his hometown Buffalo Bills only to be cut and resigned.

Both players played well on Sunday in front of a great deal of Buffalonians who have made similar choices: skip town and make it happen in a political and economic climate that harbors more development and exposure, or stay in town and fight against all odds to succeed.

And in Roosevelt’s case, it’s a microcosm of how far you still have to travel to turn relative achievement into larger scale success. The Bills have revitalized their Canalside and have plans to make it better if the “Development People” can get out of their own way. The Patriots have four extremely strong, competing Canalsides.

Anyone for a duck boat tour?

And then one Thomas Brady improved to 17-1 all-time against the Bills…

— Tom Brady is really good. He rubs me the wrong way on tons of levels, but I think it’s because he embodies a combination of the work ethic we admire with the glossy glow we often don’t.

Brady only completed 15 passes, but you don’t have to worry about passing 50 times a game when you can run at-will and average one touchdown pass for every nine dropbacks. He’s an incredible player playing under a fantastic football mind.

Now, the truth requires mouthwash.

— My goodness, were the Bills a mess, especially Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was a J.P. Losman game, where for every moment of wonder there were two disastrous decisions. Moreover, it was the negative side of the balls-to-the-wall gunslinger. When you think you can make anything happen, you do things other players can’t. You also have the chance to stand-out like rotten vegetables at a fruit pie stand. Fitz did the latter today.

— The question of this week will be whether or not Brian Brohm should start against the Jets, and the truth is I don’t care. Whether it’s the beard or the Brohm I’ll be okay with it.

— Akin Ayodele had 17 tackles, which is one more than 16. Ayodele has had a good-enough year with the team to stick around if he wants. I’ve liked him better than the limited view we received of Andra Davis (who I also like).

— I have to keep reminding myself that punting in Ralph Wilson Stadium is difficult. Brian Moorman is experience an almost season-long slump.

— I know he’s the sort of player Buffalonians should root for, but Danny Woodhead looks like a guy worth punching in the face… if life weren’t easier being nonviolent, of course.

— C.J. Spiller run ball well. C.J. Spiller fumble ball twice. Me no happy C.J. Spiller (but what a wonderful catch he made a la Lee Evans in a non-Stamp year).

— First time all season I didn’t notice Kyle Williams.

This week’s cut…

Maybe I’m the only person who thinks Drayton Florence has played most of this year like a more talented Eric King. He could celebrate successfully making it 60 minutes without breaking a shoelace. His act is weary and was much more palatable when he was borderline lockdown in 2009.

Mansfield Wrotto is not very good at American football.

Stat line I liked…

Naaman Roosevelt, four catches, 74 yards

– It was very nice to see Roosevelt continue his NFL success for a second week. Quite literally the only thing I really want to see in the season finale is a receiving touchdown for No. 18, which would make him the third undrafted receiver to make a snag for the Bills in their rookie season of 2010.

Stat line I didn’t like…

Patriots, 41 carries at 5.3 yards-per-carry.

— Yuck.


The Bills have made not just steps but strides in the right direction under Thomas Chandler Gailey and (I suppose) Buddy “Buddy” Nix, but this game underscores how far away they are from true success.

Next week…

Whether the Jets need it or not, I think they’ll win. Perhaps it’ll only be because they saw what happened to the Bengals when they quit in last year’s finale. I despite the Jets, but call it 31-16 in the favor of the home team.


12 Responses to Immediate Reactions: Patriots 34, Bills 3

  1. Ayodele is only usable on a 3-4 defense. Therefore, he’s a waste on this team. Yes, he got a lot of tackles today. That’s because Mr. Belichick knew he could run at Poz and Moats all day. Someone had to get tackles, and Body Check Whitner couldn’t get all of them.

    Speaking of Poz, whatever comments I made about him being average were extinguished today. Good golly, he had a BRUTAL game. He can’t cover. He can’t play the run. He was destroyed on numerous run plays by TEs today. The Bills LB core is a complete and utter joke. A lot of that goes on the 3-4 to 4-3 to whatever poppycock that Gailey and Edwards are responsible for, but the Bills need to completely start anew at LB after next week. Release all of them. Other than that, the defense is acceptable. Thankfully, LBs can be found in later rounds…

    Fitz had a poor game. He’s going to be inconsistent like this. In order for the Bills to ever beat Mr. Belichick, they need a comparable version of Thomas Brady.

  2. The Bills have made not just steps but strides in the right direction under Thomas Chandler Gailey
    The Bills are worse this year. This opinion is garbage. GARBAGE. You’re just making things up, and it’s not acceptable.

    • We need to have a debate. I don’t care if it’s in chat form. They laid waste to (or had quit) 1/4 of their assets from last year either before or during the first few weeks of this year: Schobel, Edwards, Owens, Butler (always forgotten but unplanned retirement for a key player), Lynch and Reed. Throw in the hemorrhaging of the offensive line and the only thing Gailey is guilty of is thinking they could run a 3-4 (granted, a large mistake). The offense has grown a great deal. Period. Whether you agree with the politics of letting Trent play his way out of the job is the only other variable. Otherwise, using a word like garbage is ridiculous. And all this after I spent so much time talking about the Russian Rocket being one of the Top Five hockey players of all time. Viva Pavel.

  3. Obviously one bad loss and the boo birds and negativeness start flying.

    The Bills are closer to a good team now than they were last season. To get to be a good team, they needed to institute a coach who was willing to take a stand and apply some accountability. People need consequences, otherwise they loaf around and collect their paycheck.

    Take Oakland for example. Once they finally made the example of Jamarcus Russell, the team came together. They aren’t going to make the playoffs, but I think they’re a year or two away from being good.

    This team made two tough calls this season, Trentative and Aaron Maybin. Both were failures, mostly because of a poor scouting system. Maybin was also an issue of lack of hard work. I also think that those cases can be partly blamed on a terrible coaching staff under Jauron.

    We’re on the road to recovery. Trust me, we could have kept going with certain players, patched some holes, and gotten ourselves to 6-8 or 7-9. I don’t think that gets us to the Super Bowl anytime soon; in fact, I think hitting bottom isn’t bad, but maybe even is the best thing for this team.

  4. The next step toward fixing this team is to dump Wimpy Whitner. Calling him Body Check Whitner is right. I can’t ever recall seeing him wrap up a runner. Does he have bad breath and not want to get so close he offends? Many times this year I’ve seen the opposing runner get one more yard than needed for a first down, while Whitner stands around while someone else slows down the runner, instead of flying in and pushing the mass back. Today he had an interception available, when Welker dropped one right in front of himself, off to the right of the formation. Whitner as usual was standing still, scratching his butt, instead of attacking to break up the pass. If he’d been moving forward he’d have been right in position to catch the ball and maybe break clear to score. Later, Whitner had a nice view of Gronkowski’s back as the Williamsville native caught his second TD today, two yards in front of him. Troy Polamalu must cringe anytime mentions that this alleged safety plays the same position he does, and was actually drafted to provide the same kind of impact that Polamalu makes. And now Whitner wants $8M a year to keep playing this chicken salad kind of game.

  5. My next comment is on the QB situation. Fitzgerald is a smarter, less athletic version of Doug Flutie, who also didn’t have a great arm but found ways to win with the good talent that remained in the late 90s. Fitzgerald will also look better and better as the players around him get better. Yeah, he’ll probably always have his one or two bad throws a game (usually he’s a lot better than he was today), but he’ll provide leadership and drive that will be enough if the talent on the team improves. Instead of looking for another savior QB in the draft, put better OTs on the offense and watch him go.

  6. Next, about Poz. Does anyone besides me remember Shane Conlan, whom the Bills drafted in 1987? He was another massive runstuffer who was too slow to cover very well, but he was a great player for the Bills because he didn’t usually need to cover. Of course he had Bennett and Talley next to him, and Bruce Smith in front of him, and Nate Odomes behind him, so he could do what his strengths allowed rather than things outside what he’s good at. Get better OLBs, and Poz will make the Pro Bowl.

  7. My last comment of the day — the Bills are definitely not worse than last year. They have learned to compete, except for two or three games this year, and to win some of the close games. It’s hard to say it today, but they’re generally playing like professionals this year. Last year was just embarrassing. Depending on how they draft, and the gains and losses from free agency, I can see them going 9-7 next year and pushing the Jets for second place in the division, and then 12-6 in the first 18 game season in 2012 and pushing the aging Patriots for the championship.

  8. Regardless of everything everyone has said about everything… how much do you hate the Patriots?

    On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest amount of hate and 10 being Dave Chapelle dressed as Rick James accepting an award at the Haters Ball for hating on Charlie Murphy’s couch, if your answer is anything less than 6, I think you need to move out of Buffalo.

    I am an usher at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I woke up this morning, and the hate for Tom Brady and New England Patriots had already started. I began getting myself pysched up as if I was going on a road trip to a play-off away game. A lot of wasted energy considering my job requires me to be bipartial towards the fans of the away teams, forcing me to fight the urge to instruct local patrons to spill beer on certain individuals, and greet everyone with a smile. Perhaps this is the reason that in a 5 win season, almost into January, it’s 3 hours after a blowout of a game and I’m still fired up.

    But these Patriots are just trying so hard to make sure I hate them.

    Exhibit one: Game has not started. Buffalo Jills, dressed in santa skirts (how seasonal!) are lined up awaiting the home team introduction. Before the Bills can be announced, the Patriots offense is announced. Having been an usher for two years…this drill 99 out of 100 times runs this way… the away team gets announced, hears a chorus of boos, goes around the Jills and jogs it out to their respected sideline. HOWEVER, this is apparently not the case when the New England Patriots are in town. Two offensive linemen, #70, and #76 diside they’re going to run through the Jills funnel and congradulate each other at the early “we own you” psychological slap in the face. No one seems to notice or care, but I noticed, and I CARE, because I HATE THE PATRIOTS

    Exhibit two: Spiller tries too hard to stretch a play, and fumbles on the way down much like the way my bearded quarterback did earlier..(who fumbled even though his hand was in forward motion…isn’t that the tuck rule?…only Tom Brady gets that call? okay your right nevermind it’s a fumble) Only in this case…Spiller’s knee appears to be down prior to the fumble… ala down by contact. Tom Brady in all his illustrious glory, decides that before the ref can even make it to the reveiw booth, there’s no way the Pat’s can be wrong, and marches his offense on the feild and starts taking warmup passes. Not sure how you spell bushleague, but I’m pretty sure I know what it looks like. The call ends up being overturned because Spiller was fumbling before his knee touched.. which is a bit different then the gigantic replay being freezephramed on the jumbotron and circled by a telestrator (which for the record is the first time I’ve seen any yellow line written by a telestrator in the jumbo tron in my life) It would be one thing if the call was made, the Hoody challeneged, the Hoody won, we all griped….but Tom Brady is activley doing things to make me hate him. This drive would later be accompanied by an 8 yard incomplete pass followed by Brady physically running out to the exact spot he threw the ball to chew the ref out for missing a call. I wonder if they’ll have room for the Brady yelling at referees section in his Hall of Fame exhibit…. GOD I HATE THE PATRIOTS

    Exhibit three: My third and final point would be the arrogant playcalling. Whatever do you mean? Its a competative game, wouldn’t you want a lead to be as large as possible heading into to forth quarter? What makes being aggressive arrogant? When you are guaranteed a playoff spot, you are up by 4 touchdowns, and you decide to go for it on 4th and 6 you are being arrogant. An obvious passing situation would put your bread and butter into unneccisary danger….or is their danger? It’s moments like this in a game as a fan that I feel like my big brother has me pinned to the ground, is punching me asking me to say uncle, and everytime I say uncle he responds with “muncle? what’s muncle? you must not want me to stop, otherwise youl’d say uncle.” Man oh man do I hate the Patriots.

    I only wish that whatever Bills are around for next year can find a way to show me that they hate the Patriots more than I do.

  9. I’ll give you Butler, that’s it, as Nix is responsible for the Cornell Green disaster. Schobel would have been horrible in the 3-4, Stevie has been better than Owens, and Chan is fully responsible for Edwards. He decided to start him all of training camp and the first two weeks. And, no, it wasn’t a POLITICAL CONSPIRACY by Ralph Wilson to have “his boy” Trent Edwards as the starter. I still cannot believe you seriously thought that, I hope you were very drunk that Monday. This is the same man responsible for Reggie Ball, screwing the recently transferred AJ Suggs who was 1000x better. Gailey is the opposite of a QB guru. He starts crap, has no eye for talent and doesn’t win games except for one singular season at Samford.

    Nick, you and many hopeful Bills fans need to understand that this offense is still quite bad, even with Fitz. Fitz is not playing significantly better than he ever did before. Other than his TD rate, which is almost certainly a huge fluke with the pass/run anomaly this Bills team has, he’s the same including completion and INT rate. And it must be noted again that Gailey’s guy was Edwards. Fitz was competing with Brian Brohm, who sucks, in the preseason. That eye for talent showing again.

    Also, you mention the talent that was lost, consider that Gailey seemed to have suggest that Spiller was a can’t miss pick when this team has numerous desperate needs. A pick that Gailey immediately said after would be a slot WR and returner!!!!!????!!!! I still can’t believe an NFL team did that.

    Last but not least, the Jauron/Fewell regime left behind lots of garbage, but one positive was Jauron’s fine Tampa 2 scheme with lesser talent. What does Gailey do? SCRAP IT! 3-4 with absolutely the worst personnel to run it! Who cares if we’re grossly undersized to do it, other NFL teams do and we have to copy them! Chris Kelsay at JLB!!!!! And when that somehow failed, let’s haphazardly change to a 4-3 after we got lots of waiver wire crap that specifically can only play the 3-4. A joke. AN ABSOLUTE UNEQUIVOCAL JOKE the defensive coaching has been this year. The rest of the NFL is laughing at this, I hope you’re aware. You Gailey homers give him credit for the marginally better offense, he also gets credit for the horrible debacle the Bills defense has been. Gailey should be fired the moment after the Jets game for this. I don’t care if he’s Southern, or “classy”, or whatever other nonsense you people say just because he’s not Dick Jauron. Gailey’s performance has been unprofessional and unacceptable in every way, and he’s been that way HIS ENTIRE CAREER.

    There, now I feel better.

    No, I don’t. The Bills are winning next week. Their draft position will fall from roughly 4th to 8th because the Jets will intelligently decide to finish 6th and face Matt Cassel instead of Peyton Manning. Buffalo is cursed, I swear. And I’m sure you’ll mention how Gailey is rallying the boys when they win, too. I want to cry.

  10. I love how everyone thinks they know how to beat NE and it’s all about Brady. Right like when the Browns beat them with Colt McCoy-. To me you have to score with them the defense is not great ranked 27th. But the inability to get any pressure on Brady makes things very tough. Brady still makes some poor throws and if you can get constant pressure like the Ravens in last years playoffs or Giants in SB he plays like every other QB with pressure. If you let him sit back there he play like most NFL QB’s he face no pressure. It’s not a step backward today just a reminder how far we are from the good teams- we need a pass rush and NFL players in the front seven.