The Jets-Bills game proved to me one thing. Neither team is ready for a playoff spot. Both times each team had the momentum to take charge of the game, soft mental mistakes let the other team in it.
I know it’s popular to rag on Stevie Johnson for dropping an easy catch with under two minutes to go, but I’d rag on him for something different. When the Bills went up 14-7, he was penalized for excessive celebration. Never mind the Jets do their “I’m flying” dance all the time and don’t get penalized. Just because the Jet crashed it’s a penalty? The guns didn’t initially bring out a flag. The NFL and their rules. Two coaches get into a fight from the 50 yard line to the 15 yard line, no fines. Rex Ryan gets taunted and says the F word back and he gets fined. Stomping on a guy requires 5 days to suspend him. Absurd.
Anyways, Stevie’s celebration caused the ball to be put on the 20. Rayner trying to kick the living hell out of the ball shanked the ball. He essentially made the mistake that we all make in our golf game. Try to muscle it instead of smoothly following through. Now, if there was such a thing as god, the Bills would have recovered that onside kick. If there was such a thing as a Bills Defense, the Jets would have only scored 3.
Instead of going into the half up 14-7, the Bills went in tied. And the Bills came out in a malaise in the second half. If the Jets didn’t muff the punt, I don’t see the Bills coming back in that game. But the muff happened, and the Bills ended up 24-21. With 8 minutes to go from their own 37 yard line, the Bills needed 3 first downs.
The brain trust on the sideline thought, “this guy Choice who got steamrolled the last time he was in the backfield should get the ball.” The Jets showed they were bringing it. Why didn’t Fitz change out of that play into a passing play? Then the Bills went with a long developing pass play on second down which resulted in a sack. The Bills were sacked on almost every long developing play in their book. Then on 3rd down, they threw short of the sticks which was forgivable since it was 3rd down and unconvertible.
At that point, you knew the Bills had lost that game. And they lost it way before Stevie had any chance to drop a game winning pass.
- Stevie Johnson’s drop– Well he dropped his big payday. Drop one clutch catch, we forgive you. A second one and now no one trusts you with the rock in a close game. But in his defense, I’m not sure he makes it into the endzone if he catches the ball. And the way the Bills ran inside, even if he made it to the five, I don’t know if they score to win the game.
- Penalties – Wow, 9 penalities. Almost all of them were the offensive line making bone headed plays. For an offense that has just stopped producing like they did before, all the holding penalties were maddening. I liked that the Bills also got flagged for pushing Maybin back. You know the Bills must have back-ups in if Maybin is getting to the QB on his great circle route move.
- 2010 draft class – Spiller looked fairly decent for his first full start. There were some good runs in there. He is kind of solidifying himself into the Donte Whitner mold. Good, but not good enough for the 9th pick good. After him, the 2010 draft class is looking pretty awful. Troup is hurt all the time, Carrington is a depth player, Easley will never play a down for the Bills in a regular season game, Moats is decent but the team likes to play him out of position and not nearly enough. Danny Batten is a special teams ace, Ed Wang got cut on a team with no OL depth, Levi Brown is Levi brown and the guy after him got cut.
- Rooting for the Jets– I would like to see the Jets make the playoffs. Here in NYC, there seems to be a feeling that if the Jets can just get into the playoffs, it will all right itself. The Jets are a bad team (which I’ve been saying for awhile). Sure, they beat the Bills, but how many other teams would have a kicker who can’t kick the ball on their roster? Not a kicker who missed a field goal, but simply a guy who can’t kick a ball forward correctly? How many other teams have a #1 receiver who can’t receive the ball? How many other teams have a defense that can’t play defense? And the Jets needed 4 quarters to get by. As a result, I’d like the Jets to make it, just so we can see them get manhandled and destroyed in the wildcard weekend. Even as an avid Jet hater, I have to say Rich Gannon really gave it to Sanchez. Jets fans know Sanchez has held them back, but another bad game on an aging team in the playoffs will be the nail in the coffin. Then watch for the Jets try and trade for Peyton Manning.
- Revis Island– I like that the Bills were the only team who made their strategy to throw it at Darrell Revis. No other team has ever stroked their chin and been like, “you know where their huge weakness is? Revis!” Yet that was the Bills plan and for the most part it worked if it were for those meddling kids. Sorry, I had to say that. It makes no sense here, but it just felt so right. Anyways, Revis was beaten time and time again by a receiver who isn’t always catching balls. Imagine what an accurate passer and a decent WR can do.
- Who’s reading me? – Perhaps the Bills coaching staff? Looks like Corey McIntyre and the double TE set came out more than a few times. Now we just have to teach Spiller to stop running into the backs of his linemen. Also, the Bills may want to have Spiller run the counter tray. He’s got speed for the outside, but if the run is clearly shown to be going left, he runs out of room when he runs left. But if he runs the opposite way of the blocking like Thurman Thomas did in the glorious 90’s, he’d probably be running one on one with a LB. Who doesn’t like Spiller’s odds of beating a line backer?
- No Bar this week – I watched from the comfort of my own home. Prior to the game, I just assumed it was going to be a loss. I figured I’d get the laundry done as I watched the game. I wanted one win. This proved to make the loss so much more manageable. However, when the Bills went up 14-7, I hesitated on losing my grouchy demeanor on the season. “Oh my god, we win this and we are right back in this….but you know they won’t do it.” I texted Kabir, “Look at this. They couldn’t even just lose and be done with it. They are toying with us. Then after the messed up squib kick, I went into full negative mode. Texts were flying, angry words were shouted at the television. Shelly left the couch. “You always give up on your team first.” I don’t consider it giving up as much as I consider it managing my heart. Upon Shelly’s move to the kitchen, Leodis recovered the fumble. “Woooo! We are back in this.” So sadistic the football gods are.
- Everyone has an opinion on Suh – Just like Stevie Johnson took one step closer to cementing the idea that he isn’t a clutch receiver, Suh pretty much ended the debate on whether he was a dirty player or not. That Thanksgiving stomp stunned the entire Shenoy household. And our household had about 5 big football fans and 5 casual to non fans all gasp when the stomp came out. I like that he did that in the early stages of the 3rd quarter, got booted immediately and had roughly an hour and a half to have the Lions PR team craft a statement of regret. Instead he gave the Miss South Carolina speech that made very little sense. The only thing I got from it is that he didn’t think he did anything wrong. Two hours later? After the cameras caught you slamming the guy’s head on the turf not once but TWICE! And then you stomped on him? The last player to stomp on someone was Albert Haynesworth. Is Suh on the same path of being good but out of control?
- McKelvin – He’s not a bust! He’s a special team’s ace! That’s a step in the right direction for our 1st round picks! Great hustle on the kickoffs and punt returns. Great hit on punt coverage and great recovery on the fumble. I genuinely felt bad for him when they took him off the field, and he looked like he was crying. If you are a QB, if people sneeze on you, it’s a 15 yard penalty. If you are anyone else, you are fair game. Mckelvin recovered the fumble and was solely on the ball for 2 full seconds. Then a Jets player 1.5x his size spears him. Love to Mckelvin for continuing to hold onto that ball despite being in a massive amount of pain.
- Fair game – Continuing on the point that all players other than the QB are fair game, how come we didn’t get a roughing the kicker call when Moorman was tackled after a late punt? I realize giving the Bills an advantageous call goes against all NFL rules, however, Moorman hardly ever goes down. Could they have let us have our playoff dream for one more week?
- Horrible November – The Bills went 0-4 in November. The Sabres went 7-6, embarrassed themselves for not standing up for their goalie, had their goalies pulled in like 5 games and still can’t win at home to save their lives! By the time this posts, there will be no more November. Thank god. I can’t imagine December being worse for Buffalo Sports. That being said, I am envisioning worse. Vanek will get hurt, The Bills will lose to Miami at home…in a snow storm. The Bills will win one game that moves them up 4 spaces in the draft. You should have enjoyed November more! I love this part of a dying Bills season. While the micro factors to the Bills are all negative (our QB play, the Line play, no defense) and seem like the world is against us, the macro factors (how other teams play) are working out to keep us in the hunt. The Jets losing to Tebow? The Bengals losing to the Ravens? The Bills are still in this hunt. If the bills would have lost these three games and were mildly competitive, this would be exciting news.
- Charley – Charley G is one of the very first people to write me when I started this in 2004. Whenever he writes in, I am usually laughing at his response. His email this week was, “that celebration was better than a hypothetical Bills win.” Hard to argue. Look at how angry we were after the Steelers game last year. That Drop gave us Marcel Dareus. This drop most likely will have a similar effect. As maddening as the Bills are, they are getting closer to having all the pieces. It will take a gargantuan effort by Ralph Wilson and the bean counters to actually admit that they need to get adequate depth to survive the 15-20 injuries we get every year just like every other team in the NFL.
Kevin Shenoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.