Apologies in advance for the formatting difficulties with Anthony’s post. WordPress is not behaving well today…
The six-win predictions came true. The Buffalo Bills reached the most common offseason estimate. A lot of people making partially educated guesses were right ahead of schedule.
The team can feel slight pride in taking only 11 games. Now, that could be it. But there are five chances left to improve in a season that’s been as predictable as Powerball. Guess any number you please.
The transition from wondering if they could really shock us to wanting it to be over… to detached curiosity… has made for quite a month. Having no expectations is one way to get them back. Watching without nervousness is a consequence of your favorite team offending the sport, as had been the recent habit.
But the Bills resiliently made us care. Refs gave them a phantom penalty for the crime of trying to tackle the carrier just to make the win more dramatic. This is a pro wrestling type of league, so the good guys can only hope the script is forgiving.
I personally went from pretending not to care at kickoff to swearing at the television during the final quarter. There’s value in being tense. A game that was not just competitive but also nerve-wracking made appreciating fortitude easy. They avoided winning by two scores just so we could enjoy the intrigue.
This year’s edition let us see which team is more dysfunctional. Avoiding an Alex Smith-type decline may not qualify as good news, but it is less bad. We can be impressed they’re not creating their own failure. It’s almost optimistic. Take how coaches flirted with letting LeSean McCoy run to set up the pass. Such a bold approach might even work.
But this club can’t be comfortable with success. The refusal to stick with the sport’s most dynamic back with a fourth-quarter lead on the road is business as usual. We like watching him help the team, which is kind of the point.
The ideal game will be played right after the Peace Bridge is replaced. Wins come despite imperfect efforts. Use any available pieces to fill gaps. For one, I am glad tight ends exist, especially when management had to add J.D. Hill and Billy Buffalo to the receiver depth chart.
Getting needed stops was thankfully out of character. This felt like the game where E.J. Gaines truly became a Bill. And Tre White has proven to be quite the consolation prize for trading down. I don’t mean to gloat over the Chiefs, at least not that much.
The good and bad news is that it’s only one game. Players spent last week announcing that the last trilogy of games was worse than the Star Wars prequels. It’s easy to proclaim such results are unacceptable to fans. Changing it’s the tough part, especially for hired guns who have only been here for a small percentage of the agony.
We had the right to not expect much after Buffalo allowed a low basketball score the previous week. Conceding fewer than 20 percent of the points than they did against the Chargers shows just how bipolar this season has been.
The dread following a win is as much a part of Buffalo as streaking blue cheese with hot sauce. Our favorite franchises are adept at one-game winning streaks. We know better than to get hyped up for the stupid Patriots. The chasm between the two franchises is the closest thing to permanency in our world. I dream of proof that nothing lasts forever.
Remember to welcome back Stephon Gilmore warmly. Do not under any circumstances point out he chose to coast on the efforts of others instead of leading the cause.
It’s easy to play cornerback with a lamentably legendary offense scoring nonstop. As for that quarterback whose quick throws torment for years, matching his release speed is always tough. This would be a great week for the front seven to accelerate.
Keeping pace is especially tough when so many marchers are gone. The Bills have dealt away keystones while trying to keep arches intact. Throwing out everything that reminds you of your ex is one thing. Maintaining that they’re ready to get back in the game despite the breakup is another.
Competing now while building for the future is like proclaiming readiness for the hot dog-eating contest after consuming a Paula’s Donut. This season has tested stomach capacity.
We’re not allowed to be comfortable in case anyone here is new. Enjoy outlasting Kansas City without getting ahead of ourselves, which is the sort of life lesson football teaches.
I’m sorry to report elation is unsustainable. But that makes us appreciate triumph that much more. At this point, we’re even slightly ahead. If that feels strange, it fits this season.
Editor’s babble: Many thanks to Anthony Bialy for soothing our aching hearts with his witty and astute observations about surviving life as a fan of Buffalo sports. We look forward to his comforting words of snark every week. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.
About Robyn Mundy
Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming.
Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor.
Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.