Buffalo Bills teams don’t do what this one did on Sunday at the Ralph. They don’t score touchdowns on EVERY possession of the second half. They don’t storm back from a 21-3 deficit at halftime like they knew it was coming. They don’t go 2-0 on the season and have Bill Belichick actually scrambling to try to figure out how to slow them down. Once upon a time this kind of thing happened in Buffalo but that Bills team (90’s) seems like a different franchise than we’ve been forced to watch for the last decade. So far this year it’s actually fun to watch the Bills play.
Before the season I wrote that this Bills team was bigger and better than they were a year ago. I also said that I thought the offense would not miss Lee Evans and Geoff Hangartner, two veterans that they got rid of in camp. I was accused by a respected person in town of being a homer, a rah rah guy for the team. The person actually wanted to know if my objectivity was compromised by my preseason job as the team’s sideline reporter. Let’s start with the fact that I have been doing that job for a dozen years and it’s never had any impact on what I do or say here. Let’s continue by saying it really ticked me off because no reporter wants to be accused of bias for any reason. And of course it could be said that because I was actually there and with the team I might have had a better perspective on what was going on than someone who was never around. But more important than my own feeling is the tiny fact that so far it looks like I am right. Lee Evans is a good, but limited player. Does it look like the Bills miss him one bit? Geoff Hangartner? An ok backup that they might need now that the line has some injuries, but the league is filled with that level player on the waiver wire.
This is no time for any Bills fan or me to be saying “I told you so”. Yes the Bills are a surprise 2-0 and they have looked like one of the best offenses in the league through the first pair of games. But as everyone has learned in the past, this is a long NFL season and so many things can happen to derail a good start. But can you argue with the fact that Chan Gailey knows how to coach offense in the NFL? Sunday he’s playing with a QB (7th rounder) and WR’s that (7th round, free agent and free agent) came into the league with no pedigree at all. Can you argue that Ryan Fitzpatrick is a better than average starting quarterback in the league? Since the midway point of last season Fitz is 6-3 as a starter and since he took over as the Bills starter he has many touchdown passes than Aaron Rogers and Drew Brees. (No I am not saying he’s close to Rogers or Brees).
All I said when the season started was that the Bills were bigger and better but I only picked them to win 6 games this year. Now as anyone knows who decides to put that prediction out to the public, once you have made the pick you have to stick with it. But it is looking more likely that this is a team with a real shot to go .500 or better this season. I will be happy to see it happen but that doesn’t make me a cheerleader.
Most impressive players:
1) 1) Ryan Fitzpatrick: Fitz has made fantasy football players around the country scramble. Can’t you see them all searchingto find David Nelson, Donald Jones and Scott Chandler? Keep one thing in mind. Fitz uses the Brady method. His favorite receiver is the open one
2) 2). Donald Jones: The undrafted free agent who many experts scoffed at when the Bills said he was a starter did the little things to save the game Sunday. Not only did he make the key 4th down reception on the winning drive, but his defensive play, breaking up a sure interception, saved the day
3) 3) Fred Jackson: Usually I would say the guy’s one knock is that he doesn’t take it to the house on long runs. Then yesterday he makes two great moves and gets his team back in the game with the scintillating score that woke up the crowd in the 3rd quarter
4) 4) Demetrius Bell: I admit that I didn’t think Bell could be a starter in the league. But yesterday he battled all day and kept Fitzpatrick clean again. The O line still has not given up a sack this year
Least impressive players
1) Shawne Merriman: I don’t want to get on the guy too much because he has played so little football in the last two years. But he was invisible most of the day Sunday. That being said, Merriman was on his way to a game sealing sack when he was blatantly held on the last play. No call could have been a disaster for Buffalo
2) Leodis Mckelvin: It is always my worry about the former first round pick. He doesn’t appear to have any ball skills. Leodis runs with receivers but can’t find the ball. What will Tom Brady do to him?