So, since I am now without DirecTV, I attempted to watch the game using the PS3 Sunday Ticket app for the first time. This took forever to load, then it was slow and it kept cutting out to buffer. I missed several key plays on NE’s first touchdown drive, which was kept alive by a stupid Buffalo penalty.
Technology was failing me and the Bills were shooting themselves in the foot and appeared headed towards another epic defeat at the hands of Tom Brady and Bill Bellicheck. As the Bills fell behind 21-0, it looked as if I was headed towards a very frustrating afternoon. There was no way in hell we were going to come back and get the win for the 2nd straight week.
Then, something happened. The PS3 app settled down and it was just like streaming a Netflix movie. And the Bills didn’t roll over and die. They showed an unbelievable amount of resolve and toughness. And they made a game out of it. I thought “well, they’re not going to get the win, but at least they’re tough enough to come back and challenge.”
Then, something else happened. Something that’s never happened before. The Bills got in Tom Brady’s head WITHOUT hitting him. He started making mistakes. Stupid, amateur, JP Losman/Trent Edwards/Rob Johnson type mistakes. And the Bills made them PAY.
I kept waiting for the soul-crushing collapse. That epic last-minute failure like the Music City Mirage or the MNF collapse against Dallas in ’07 or the ’08 opener against NE. But it didn’t come. This team is just too mentally tough, despite the lack of experience and the unheralded way that many of these guys made it to the NFL.
And, we ended the streak. We did the impossible and came out on top in a shootout with the Patriots. I was convinced that we wouldn’t beat them again until Brady and Bellicheck were long gone, but it was OUR day. Tequila shots and Black Label all around!
-Ryan Fitzpatrick is proving to be the real deal. He had his misses and his bad moments, but he was never phased. And he kept going back to Donald Jones despite some early miscues by Jones (one of which led to an INT when the ball bounced off his hands). It was a poised, veteran game.
-Fitz did make a huge mistake on that INT in the endzone on the last drive. He got bailed out by the penalty. But, that’s the risk you take with having a gunslinger QB.
-I don’t think I can say enough good things about Fred Jackson. What a find.
-Chandler had another nice game despite the penalty.
-Wood is a good player but he didn’t have his head in the game in the first half.
-The unsung hero of the offense is Andy Levitre. Just focus on him sometimes, particularly on screen plays. He buries guys.
-I hated the call to go for it on 4th and 14 in the first. If there was no penalty on the prior play and it was 4th and 1, then going for it would have been the right call. But the percentages are just too low. That call wreaked of desperation.
-I loved the way that Gailey played it at the end of the game: killing the clock instead of punching in the TD. It was the right move. Brady is too good and our secondary is bad and beat up. The BEST part of the entire game was seeing Bill Bellicheck go ape-shit screaming at the refs at the 1:43 mark when he knew he was being outsmarted by Gailey and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.
-Merriman had one good pressure but was a no-show other than that.
-Kyle Williams gets off the snap so fast it’s ridiculous.
-McKelvin came through with a big INT but also struggled at times.
-No one on this team can cover Wes Welker.
-Wilson came up with a big INT, but I really got tired of him doing his Donte Whitner impression attempting to cover Gronkowski.
-Like Wood, Barnett is having a great season but he made some key mistakes in the first half, particularly the two penalties.
-The personal foul call on Barnett was the correct call. The personal foul on Byrd was complete BS. It wasn’t helmet-to-helmet- Byrd’s head was actually to the side of Welker and he hit him with his shoulder pad. It was the “Wes Welker’s too exciting for the league to let him get injured” penalty.
-Kelsay is actually having a decent season.
-This team still lacks pass rush.
-I hope Aaron Williams is ok, because he is starting to look like a pretty good player. This secondary was hurting with him and will be even worse without him.
-The DL was well-coached with the way they were jumping and putting their hands up when they couldn’t get the pressure. It caused at least 2 of Brady’s four INT’s.
-On Florence’s TD, Brady was running toward him but completely backed off without attempting to make a hit. There was another Bills player running with Florence and Brady likely would have gotten smacked if he attempted to make the tackle. It was a gutless move by a prima donna QB.
-Brady threw 4 INT’s today (did I mention that yet?). He only threw 4 in all of last SEASON. I think I speak for us all when I say, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!”
-S/T came to play. The kickoff and punt coverage was very good, Moorman was booming them and Lindell came through when it counted most.
-The Buffalo Bills scored a mere 34 points- their lowest total of the season. They are leading the NFL in scoring. And they sit alone atop the AFC East after the Jets’ choke job against the Raiders and Miami’s inexplicable loss to Cleveland.
-The slow starts at home are frustrating.
-The second half comebacks are exhilarating.
-After the game, we met some friends at a local dive bar to watch the Ravens. I had my Kelly jersey and throwback Bills hat on. At least 3 Ravens fans shook my hand and said positive things about the Bills. It probably helped that the Ravens were up 30-0 at the time, but the hatred of the Patriots is universal amongst non-Boston football fans.
One Fan’s View: Feigning disappointment while maintaining confidence
by Kevin Shenoy
When did I know the Bills were going to beat the Pats? Right at the start of the “X Factor” on Tuesday before the game. But Kevin, I saw your facebook status at 14-0 that said “happy to be in Boston for this asskicking, bah!” Obviously you know nothing about universe manipulation. I was feigning disappointment while maintaining total confidence throughout to get the bad vibes out and bring in the new ones.
On the Tuesday before the game, the second contestant on “X Factor” was a smooth singing dude who had the judges on the first note. They asked him where he came from. He said the standard ex-pat response, “originally, I’m from Buffalo, but I live in LA right now.” And they passed him through to the next round. Millionaire Matchmaker, 21-3 comeback, the Sabres pre-season is looking pretty spectacular, and then this. Buffalo’s fortunes are reversing.
I remained pretty upbeat the entire week about a Bills win being a distinct possibility. Everything the pundits said about why the Bills couldn’t win were also negatives about the Pats. “Bills beat two bad teams.” “They gave up a lot of points to the Raiders.” SO? The Pats beat Miami, a team the pundits don’t seem comfortable calling terrible even though we all know better. Then the Chargers are a team that hasn’t shown up in September since 2003. The Pats beat two weak teams and let them put up more points in the process. So why couldn’t the Bills win this game? It made no sense aside from the fact that we hadn’t won this game since 2003. Don’t forget what your mutual fund prospectuses say. “Past returns do not guarantee futures results”.
I told everyone I could that I didn’t think the Bills would embarrass themselves. Sunday morning I left Maine at 9am and drove to Boston to watch the game with some Pats fan buddies and break up the long drive. I felt like Paul Revere. I was riding through New England warning everyone that Buffalo was coming. No one would listen. I listened to 3 hours of talk radio with Troy Brown talking about how the Bills should just be happy that they weren’t an afterthought this time. Then he went negative on Buffalo, the city. “I hate Buffalo. It’s the worst trip because you know that’s where you are going to sit in your hotel room and play video games. The locker room is tiny, the weather is awful, the turf sucks, etc.” The conversation just kept circling how the Bills are up and coming but “let’s be real, there just is no way the Bills will ever get over this hurdle.”
Before I lost my mind at what I was hearing, I was at my friend’s place. There were 4 Pats fans and myself. All of us are fairly respectful about each others passions. These people have watched me flip out about the injustices of being a Bills fan. So they know better than to rub it in. In return, I agreed to be a gentleman. So despite being one of the craziest games we all kept in the excitement. While I wanted to be doing snow angels on the ground, I stood up like a Brit in the 1830’s after a duel and stepped over the dead man I just shot and wished everyone “adieu”.
I then got out of the house, jumped in the car with my jersey on and turned on Boston talk radio. In some ways that was more enjoyable than the game itself. These people were broken. And these are the same bunch of drunk fans that come to buffalo and sit in the endzone seats and leave so drunk and belligerent, it’s only at that point that your realize why America won the Revolution. It’s because Boston is a bunch of drunk belligerent people that have been inbreeding for the last 200+ years. Of course, “The Departed” is about crazy mobsters born from the area. I’m telling you, between chatting with friends and listening to the complaints, I’ve never enjoyed a 3.5 hour drive escaping the land of evil.
Well, the rest of my actual football thoughts are below. But Buffalo, you finally have yourselves a Bills victory over the Pats. On to readjusting our expectations for 4-12 to possibly 11-5.
The glory that is Buffalo could be long reaching. Keep an eye out in the health section of the news. “Buffalo Wings actually lower chosterol and help maintain weight.” Honestly, you see how often they flip flop on wine, eggs and caffenine, why can’t they find beneficial properties to chicken wings?
The monkey surgically has been removed from our backs – We all know that the last time the Bills beat the Pats was in 2003. To put in perspective, if you had a child at the end of the 31-0 game, that child would be 8 years old. We aren’t talking about some child that is just counting to 10, sitting in diapers and figuring out colors. This is a kid that is potty trained and doing long division. I consider long division your first foray into higher level thinking. That’s a long time. I’ve been with Shelly for 6 years. This was the first time she saw me after a Pats win. Is this not blowing your mind?
Renaissance is afoot – And I’m not talking some nerd ball, feudal system renaissance festival renaissance. I’m talking higher science, amazing art renaissance. Go ahead and book this. Waterfront development is back on. Buffalo on way to being #1 city in America to be followed by Pan Am games.
The touchdown that wasn’t a touchdown and thank god it wasn’t a touchdown – F-bomb’s run was classic F bomb(yeah, I’m sticking with that for Fred Jackson). He was seemingly running so slowly that he was lulling the Patriots into a false sense of “we’ll catch him.” But he’s so deceptively fast that it wasn’t until the 5 yard line that they finally had a crack at him. Had he just had elusive speed, I think they would have let him in and that’s that. Yet once they caught up to him, they had to finish what they started. Originally, I wanted the touchdown. I really didn’t care at the moment that the Pats would go back the other. They’d have to score a touchdown. Now I realized that the Pats would have gone for two and made it and I’d be here crying about it.
TTTWATATGIWAT: part 2: To be honest, I truly hated those last two minutes. Here was a great game being reduced to just wasting the clock. In the words of Andre the Giant, “that doesn’t seem very sportsmanlike.” And worse, I think the Bills would have left time on the clock if there wasn’t the defensive penalty giving us a fresh set of downs and if the false start penalty still happened. And we would have settled for a FG with like 20 second left. Clearly enough time when our defensive strategy which called for LB’s on Welker to allow yet another disturbing loss to sit in your brain forever. However, in the end it worked out so I won’t complain. But those 2 minutes were not easy to watch.
TTTWATATGIWAT: part 3: I was telling the Pats fans sitting in disappointment that I was fully preparing for a blocked field goal touch down return. And when that didn’t happen, I still had to remind them that apparently referees are allowed to review plays however long after the game they want and just reverse outcomes if they want. Around 8:15 pm, I felt like we really did win that game.
“He’s a great competitor” – I truly hate that Belichick and Brady are called great competitors. They are not. They’re whiny babies. For some reason this country of football fans gets whiny baby messed up with the virtuous trait of being a competitor. A competitor is a guy who throws an interception and then goes makes the tackle. That’s something Fitzharvard did. Competitors don’t give up half way knowing that they’ll be laid out if they try and then goes screams on a bench when they failed to do their part to stop something. A great competitor does not give half sentences like a petulant child at the press conference and makes it awkward for everyone there. They admit that they made some mistakes but that it was a great game. A competitor knows when the competition is over
However… – I get why Belichick was so mad at the end of the game. The announcers didn’t really say anything, and I’m not sure I would have noticed if I wasn’t watching with Patriots fans. Fred Jackson’s TTTWATATGIWAT run actually happened with about 1:51 second. I was too delirious to even care to watch the clock. All my Pats friends were like, “dude, he’s in.” I looked at the clock. 1:48, 1:47, 1:46, and it continued to the disgust of my friends until 1:43. The announcing team didn’t mention it at all, but we knew. As they reviewed the play, my friends were fine with whatever the outcome was, but they just wanted the time back on the clock. I assumed originally that Belichick was arguing the same thing and that the refs were docking them the timeout. I think we’ve all since found out that belichick just wanted an explanation of what was going to happen when play resumed. They told him the clock was going to start. He was forced to take the time out. It’s interesting that Gailey got so into Belichick’s head that he didn’t even complain about the true injustice. He lost 6-8 seconds because a Buffalo scoreboard operator just let the clock run. If done properly, 12 seconds would have been on the clock. And they way that game was going. It was too much time.
Looking ahead – how can you not look ahead and see the Bills sitting at 5-1/6-0 by the break. Naturally it’s classic Buffalo to go to Cincy and lay a egg and get beaten by a no name QB in Buffalo vs Philly. But there is a swagger, you have to wonder if the self-defeating fan mentality is being killed. Look at David Nelson. The score was 21-7 and he gets deked and loses his helmet. He got up and fired up the crowd. For me, that was when I secretly was like, “they could very well win this game. And if that happens, I’m pretty much flying to Indiana for the superbowl whether I have tickets or not.”
Ocho Cinco vs dos dos– If F-bomb wasn’t a bad nickname for Fred Jackson, I believe dos dos is worse. Dos dos deserves mucho dinero. Ocho Cinco on the other hand is possibly out of football before the Bills bye week. He was routinely looking at the QB with his hands up wondering what the play was. And when they finally said, just go long, he dropped a pass worse than the Stevie Johnson Drop from last year. Ocho cinco dropped a momentum stopper. It doesn’t matter that they came back and scored later in the drive. It wasted time that they clearly needed, and it just kept up the notion that we were winning that game.
Dos Dos part Duex – When dos dos doesn’t touch the ball, the Bills usually are losing. When he starts touching the ball, the Bills are back on track. Perhaps the Bills coaching staff picks up on this nugget early next week and avoids spotting the other team 3 touchdowns before involving Fred Jackson. I hate the idea of spending a lot of money on a 30 year old running back, but it is clear that he is a difference maker. It’s clear that he isn’t a dime a dozen back. He is a unique talent and everyone on the field and stands knows it. If you can give him some extra cash for 2 years to make him happy, it’s worth it if winning is important to the organization. If his demand is a 3 year deal or longer, it’s a very tough call. I don’t buy the argument that he has less wear and tear because of his path into the NFL. If anything, he could have more wear and tear.
History lane – I told my younger cousin who was between the ages of 5-9 during the Super Bowl run, that the 1990 Bills, Super Bowl 1 or 25 depending on how you count Super Bowls, was not automatic. I remember going into the AFC championship game that year. I thought the Bills could beat LA. But I just couldn’t envision the Bills in the Super Bowl. It made no sense. So in that respect, the Super Bowl at first wasn’t a guarantee. And then I started watching some clips of classic games on youtube by a guy named BuffaloBillCody. Its worth checking out. In that first super bowl season, the Bills had 3 back to back to back comeback wins against the Broncos, the Raiders and the Jets. I remember that Jets game, because my grandfather passed away the next day but one of his last words to my uncle was “I saw Kelly’s touchdown pass.” The 2011 Bills have started with 2 come back games in a season where envisioning the Bills in the super bowl is not easy. All I’m saying is it’s definitely happening. The Bills are going to the Super Bowl the same year as the Sabres win the Cup.
Long shot odds – Typically I have been putting 5 dollars on the Bills every year to win the Super Bowl. With the long odds and the fact I always know some one who is going to Vegas, I like to have that outside shot. I like the idea of me crying and hugging everyone at the final snap and then reaching into my pocket to pull out a 100-1 odds ticket and waving it everyone’s face like Charlie and the Chocolate factory that I always know. Naturally this year the odds were the greatest. 150-1. Even more logical, I knew of no one going to Vegas this summer, so I never put the bet in. Just when you start loving your life, you find reasons to absolutely hate it.
Dallas Monday night – This felt like the Dallas Monday night game in 2007 that we lost on national TV. Except, all the interceptions turned into points. The Bills put up 24 points on turnovers. And then they scored on other drives to boot. I felt like this game closed that awful game’s memory out. Especially Florence’s mirror image INT TD return early the 4th quarter.
Financial Crisis? – Last time the Bills were off to a good start, a shaky economy watched Lehman brothers fail and then we plummeted into a dark space. Economy and Bills football wise. In 2008 we learned at some point everything is correlated. In that spirit, if no major financial institution goes belly up in September, we’ll know the Bills are for real. If Bank of America goes away, get ready for another blown Bills season.
Drive home – After I was out of the Boston range, I turned on the radio. “We will Rock you” “We are the champions” and “Eye of the tiger” came on. All in a row. Sadly, this was on the soft rock radio station. I remember when “Eye of the Tiger” was a bad ass song. And later the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on. And I thought, I think the last time the Bills beat the Pats, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were actually just straight up rock. I guess we are all getting older.
Kneel downs – I realize the Bills have not been in the victory formation kneel downs in quite a while, but all 3 of fitz’ kneel downs were heart stopping affairs. The fake fumble was the first of horrible things that I thought could happen. Watching the Pats point like they had the ball made me feel like the Hulk. “Kevin Angry!” How hard is it to take a knee? Do the Bills need to practice this? Also, at one point I was like, “just take the snap from your knee, man!”
Fitz the runner – He scrambled out of the pocket with the flag on the ground that would have negated the whole play anyways. He got to the sidelines and had the Miami high steps going. Of course you all remember his high-stepping ways in 2009, right? In this game, he didn’t make it to the endzone. In fact, he had approximately another 50 yards to go and a defensive player that I thought was going to kill him. When he escaped that play without injury, I felt even better that the team would escape with a win.
Best part of win? – Bills continue to come out of the games with minimal injuries. Aaron Williams was obviously seriously hurt during the game with the stretcher being brought out for him, but all signs point to it not being season ending.
Last two weeks – the Bills have gotten all the breaks and played incredibly well but still needed to go to the final gun to win two weeks in a row. It makes me nervous. Not nervous enough to not be delusional, but enough that if they start a long stretch of losses that I’ll quote this part over and over again. I’d really like to see the Bengals get killed so that we just know we have a winning team on our hands and not a team that isn’t focused and probably putting out an aberration.
Assman – In Seinfeld, Kramer gets a proctologist’s license plates that say “assman”. As Kramer drives down the streets of New York people start screaming out, “hey assman!” and he greets them in return. Upon arriving in New York and returning my rental car, I learned that my monthly pass expired. Being a nice night out, I decided to walk home. Other fans were in their jersey’s and a lot points at my Bills t-shirt, and had really nice things to say. Jets fans were doing this. JETS fans. The level of hatred of for the Patriots extends to all fanbases. I felt like I was running for office. I loved it.
The Field goal celebration – My guess is that there was one Buffalo Bill who wasn’t so excited by the win. That guy is Fancy I. It’s never fun to have someone’s penis end up in your ear because you did something correctly. Not exactly positive reinforcement. “Hey great job on that memo, now here I am on your shoulders with a mild thrust going!” Although, perhaps it’s safer and more accurate to say it’s never fun to have a penis in your ear, ever. Perhaps the next game winning field goal has a more family friendly celebration planned. If I may recommend one, the safe celebration is always air guitar. Just throwing that out there, special teams.
Power Rankings – I’m telling myself to not get angry when we beat a team and the power rankings show us behind that team. We beat KC by 34 points. We moved up from 31 to 21 but remained behind KC. Then this week we beat the Pats and in many cases still remain behind them. As I look at the schedule, I don’t know when we are really going to earn any respect for any of the victories unless we sweep the Jets. That’s kind of a tall order and unnecessarily hurdle to get some simple respect on a weekly basis.
Email address – I guess my pearl jam inspired hotmail account is getting sent the way of the dodo. Some people have mentioned that no one uses hotmail anymore, and frankly, I figured it was time to dedicate its own email account to One Fan’s View! So check out email@example.com. Send your comments there! I also have a twitter account @KevinShenoy. I don’t really know how to use it other than stalk Bills and Sabres players. I say something, they say nothing, I feel excited that I said something worth 141 characters to a Bill, and they technically read it. So if you want in on that kind of excitement, you should follow me on twitter.
Kevin Shenoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org