Week 1- SOS – Same old S….

Celine Dion lied. My heart doesn’t go on. I loathe this organization. You could have taken any one of the Bills fans in the crowd with 6 minutes to play, and they would have all been saying the same thing, “slow it down now.” But the Bills insisted to keep their “up tempo” offense and took less than a minute off the clock to kick the game away. New regime, same arrogant “we know more than everyone else” and same undisciplined team.

I think the outlook is even bleaker than you think (see below: “a thrashing”). Let’s keep with the Titanic theme. Before the game/movie starts, you know how it is going to turn out, yet you still watch anyways. Brady looks a bit like Leo, though Leo had the good sense to sink to the bottom (and Leo didn’t steal the Heart of the Ocean while Brady did steal 3 Super Bowls). But, pish posh, onward!

Watching this game in the third quarter was like being Thomas Andrews, the creator of the Titanic. Within seconds of hitting the iceberg, there was a conference between the captain, Ismay, some other crew members, and Andrews.  Most seemed pretty satisfied that they did what they were supposed to do. It was horrible, but they thought they could limp into New York with some valuable lessons learned. Andrews knew immediately the boat was going down. “The pumps buy you time, but minutes only. From this moment, no matter what we do, [the Bills] will founder.”

You were Thomas Andrews. You knew the second the Bills had the momentum but were called for illegal hands to the face (yet another BS penalty in a long line of BS calls over the years) that we were going down by the head. The Bills got the ball from an unusual Brady fumble on 4th and 1. They then proceeded to start a nice drive that was looking like their previous touchdown scoring drive. “The press knows the size of [the lead]. Now I want them to marvel at her speed. We must give them something new to print! This maiden voyage of [the Bills] must make headlines!”

But out of nowhere another hands to the face was called. Nothing obvious from the replay, but it took a converted 3rd and 1 and made it 3rd and 11. It was the second time after the Bills had a nice play on 3rd down that a hands to the face call erased.

At that point, while to coaches were listening to the string section, asking for more brandy and assuring passengers that everything was ok, the boat was going down by the head. While the Titanic had the good fortune of sinking only once, we’ve gone through this 21 times out of 23 tries.

The Bills would go on to get 4 more drives in the fourth quarter, and none lasted more than 2 minutes. He’s a rookie coach. Fine. But at the same time, it was obvious in the fourth quarter that EJ was pushing the short passes instead of throwing it. CJ wasn’t effective. The Patriots were gassed from 3 quarters. The plays were the same 4 or 5 calls. Run in the middle, short passes everywhere, and commit penalties. To watch Marrone stick with the hurry up smacked of Jauronian and Gailey-esque strategy. Frankly, with the poor challenge, the refusal to process the game context with his philosophy and that look on his face in the fourth, it looked like a Fast Dick Jauron team.  It doesn’t bode well in the long run if they don’t do some learning. Even Chip Kelly, king of the uptempo offense, bled clock during the Eagles/Redskins game. Perhaps Marrone learns from this, but in the meantime, I think I’m floating here in the deep end of some cold water with no life boats in sight.

DVD Extras

Pats Cheat – stats – One of the first things I say after every Pats loss is “they get all the calls.” And my Pats friends (an unusual term for sure) roll their eyes in their heads and think back to the year 2000 when they weren’t even football fans. That being as it may, I did a little research. If I did a lot more research and had a lot more time, I would suspect my findings would be true against any team the Pats play. Perhaps if anyone responds with an email requesting more, I’ll dig through some more numbers.

My findings: the Bills have played the Pats 19 times since 2004. They’ve won once. Know what else they lost? The penalty battle. They’ve had more penalties called on them 14 times out of 19 games. 74%. Doesn’t that seem odd for two teams who play each other so regularly? I would think it would be closer to 60/40, even taking into account that good teams take less penalties and bad teams take more. But here we are at 74%. In total, the Bills got flagged 137 times for 1,153 yards over those 19 games. The Pats were flagged 91 times for 844 yards. So the Bills gave up 46 more penalties for 309 more yards.

I took a guess (and I’d listen to arguments for or against, as well as any comments like “shenoy, you’re a genius, i like all of this”) that good teams probably get penalized 3-4 times a game for maybe 30-40 yards and bad teams get penalized 5-8 times a game for 50-60 yards. That’s my guess. The Bills got flagged for 10 penalties or more 5 times in 19 games. The Patriots just once. Oh, and in that game, the Bills got flagged 11 times. The Pats have been flagged 4 times or less 10 times in 19 games. These are kind of stunningly shocking numbers.

The yardage the Bills get tagged for is outrageous as well. I would think an average game would have maybe 35-45 yards in penalties for a team. The Bills had 50+ yards in penalties 12X out of 19 games (3x it was over 100 yards and none for the patriots). The Pats had 50+ yards in penalties 8x. In 6 outings they had less than 25 yards in penalties. The Bills did that exactly 1 time in 19 chances. The time they did it, they had 3 penalties for 17 yards; the pats had 1 for 10.

True, you could argue that the Bills suck, and the Pats are good. But routinely? To such an extent? With such consistency? I only have the numbers. I don’t have film to watch when a hands to the face on a 3rd and 1 conversion calls back a play when the Bills are starting to apply the coup de grace. The context of that would be devastating I would assume. There was one game where the Bills only had 2 penalties. Hooray! But they also had 48 yards in penalties that game. So they literally had two gigantic mistakes.

Would you be bullish of a season where you gave up 2.4x more penalties for 16 yards per game? Would you expect a team to win many games with that differential? Furthermore, in all of these games there have been instances where the call was absolutely questionable.  The numbers above show a pretty lopsided case taking that idea of context of penalties into account.

But let’s not discuss it anymore. Are there any more videos of the Patriots cheating that we can help Goodell burn?

Irrational hatred of Patriots – The above was my attempt at being well reasoned and thought out. The next piece is just my undying hate for this team. The Patriots are like the guy who had great hair who now seems to be balding. And you are so excited that this person’s run with great hair is over, and they must live this new life with no hair. And then uninexplicably, he buzzes his head, and it works for him. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I call this, “The Stamos”.

A thrashing – To be fair, the Bills were getting throttled by the Pats before that fumble/TD. That was the first time a DB picking up what seemed to be a dead ball and running the other way turned out to be the right call. Searcy seems to need a little more cardio. The 5 men around him had plenty of gas, and Searcy was looking for a nap by the time he was stumbling to the 30.

That was a turning point. Without that, the Bills had no life on offense, and the defense was wearing down. It bought time. However, the Bills’ bad secondary struggled with mediocre WRs. The running game by the Pats was turned off after the fumble. And when they did run it, they ran effectively. I think the Bills defense had an admirable effort for what turned out to be very little offensive help.

We can argue about penalties and coaching calls, but penalties and sloppiness was making it a route before a very fortunate break. And that break came when Ridley was running through a hole wide enough for 3 running backs to go through. He slipped because he was confused which secondary hole he was going to pick next.

Stevie Johnson – Catch the balls thrown to you when you are wide open. That is all.

That is not all – Whenever there is a big catch and plenty of time, he over thinks it. It wasn’t a perfect pass, but it was very catchable. It’s a rookie qb. Help him out. Ok, that’s all.

Baby Bet– Can you imagine if you bet your wife/girlfriend in 2000 that you’d be willing to have a baby once the Bills got back in the playoffs? You did it to buy some time, but you are now realizing you not only have stalled, you might have out lived her fertility. In a real spiritual move, I am promising the world that I will have a baby every year the Bills DON’T make the playoffs. Imagine if you made that deal in 2000. You’d be close to being the Duggars. You’d definitely have Jon and Kate beat. What have I just done?

– No improvement –  With the Jets and Dolphins winning, it seems like despite a shiny new QB and a new coach, we are still in the basement of the AFC East. As Darcy Reiger and Russ Brandon like to say, “look, this is progress.”

Kevin Shenoy can be reached at onefansview@gmail.com and followed on twitter @KevinShenoy