I had to hold off on writing this. My grief was strong enough that thinking about the Bills game last night was too much. But now I think it’s best to get it out, ya know, talk about it.
As we all know, the Patriots defeated the Bills 25-24 last night. It was another Monday Night Football disaster following on the heels of the Cowboys and Browns meltdowns. During the first 55 minutes or so, the Bills no-huddle offense worked efficiently and effectively while the defense made Brady and Moss look positively pedestrian. With 2 minutes and 10 seconds left, the Bills were up by 11 points. 2 minutes and 10 seconds later, the Bills had lost to the Patriots for the 12th consecutive time.
Here are the positives and negatives from last night’s tragedy:
-Trent firing fastballs all over the place. Edwards saw the field wonderfully, taking expert looks, finding open receivers, and getting the ball where it needed to be quickly. He changed up plays when he needed to and marched the ball down the field. There were a few times he could’ve thrown it away and avoided a sack, but hopefully that’s a learning experience. Indeed, let’s hope he learns a quarterback simply cannot CANNOT take a sack in the final 45 seconds.
-Nearly everything Fred Jackson did. The guy was a force out there. Catching balls, running hard, and finding the endzone.
-The defense getting to Tom Brady. There’s something satisfying about seeing the NFL’s golden boy getting driven into the turf, but more importantly, the pressure created a defensive touchdown for the Bills.
-Offensive play calling. Alex Van Pelt made some great play calls, and an offense that didn’t score a single touchdown in the preseason executed well and scored two against the Patriots. Now let’s see them do that week in and week out.
-TO and Lee Evans dropping important passes. If I remember correctly, both of these veteran receivers dropped incredibly important, would-be drive sustaining passes at key times. These weren’t out of their reach either, these were passes that hit them in their seven-figure hands.
-Letting the Patriots march down the field in the 4th quarter. The Patriots second-to-last touchdown drive was like time-travel to previous years. The defense got soft and let Moss and Welker run underneath routes for 15-20 yard gains all the way down the field.
– Leodis McKelvin absolutely should have run the ball out of the endzone to ensure the clock ran down to the 2 minute warning during the kickoff return (effectively taking a timeout from the Pats). But he has to go down when hit. Or even run out of bounds at the 15 or 20. And the coaching staff has to give him specific instructions for that play – it’s called coaching to the circumstances and Jauron’s staff seems to be consistently bad at it. For McElvin and Jauron to both mention that Leodis could have broken the return for a TD shows an amazing ignorance of the circumstances. The Bills didn’t need a kickoff return for a TD – they needed one offensive first down to close out one of their biggest upsets in franchise history.
– Nobody wants to see Terrell Owens tweeting anything minutes after a loss like that, but we certainly don’t want to see him tweeting ‘RIP Patrick Swayze!!’
All things considered, the sentiment around Buffalo was that the Pats were going to obliterate the Bills. That didn’t come close to happening. So maybe, just maybe, despite the all-too-frequent tragic ending, we can take something positive from last night’s performance. This team is better than we expected.