There's a lot to digest from this game and I don't really know where to begin. I had written this season off and I was expecting a complete blowout. I had my blog post tomorrow already mapped out. It was going to be about how we had all this confidence just five weeks ago and now we are back to normal. I may still run with it. However, like they always do, the Bills brought us back only to then have a heartbreaking loss. Today's game created a lot of emotions for me. From hating Twitter...to loving Steve Johnson to then hating him. I'm at a loss for words.
On one hand, you have to give the Bills a lot of credit for the way they played today. No one thought the Bills had a chance in this game. They were beaten up and had Thanksgiving leftovers playing on the offensive/defensive front 7. They were playing a team that dominated them not even a month ago. It was a gutsy effort. They played hard and they didn't go down without a fight. Hey, if all the damn Sabres fans are going to give the Sabres credit for beating the crappy Caps with a bunch of spare parts and kids, we should do the same. Oh, right..we lost! Yeah, it would have been a great story. Alas, it's typical Buffalo.
---Obviously, Stevie Johnson is going to be the hot topic for this week. Look, it was a stupid penalty and he needs to know the rules. When you fall down after a touchdown, you are going to get flagged. Chan Gailey and I don't celebrate touchdowns in the end zone, yet, we know the rules. Yes, his celebration led to the Bills attempting to squib kick, which was butchered by our kicker. However, to completely fault him for it? Come on. Sure, I'll go with he added to the problem, but you have to expect your kicker to at least squib it a little better than he did. Nine out of 10 times, the ball would probably have been advanced to the 30-40 yard line. You would also like for your defense to actually stop Mark Sanchez.
---As for the celebration itself, I'm not going to kill him for that. It's the NFL and it is all about entertainment. I thought it was a funny celebration. Someone tweeted (I think it was from one of the 60 Griswolds) something like it's funny how the media has given a lot of wisecracks towards #17's gunshot wound but we're now taking the high moral ground with the celebration. Yes, very typical of them. Look, I'm so over trying to kill athletes in this town for stuff that has nothing to do with their on-the-field play. From killing McGahee for not enjoying the nightlife to Ryan Miller being a di#$ to the press, I'm just over it. Some guys aren't going to be your ideal role models. OK? I'm here to watch football and see guys help their teams win. I don't care about their personalities. I don't need to live vicariously through them. I don't know need them to be the mirror image of Jim Kelly or Tim Russert. It's lame. Get over it. Really? We don't want to pay Stevie because he celebrated a touchdown pass? Shut up!? Up until that last drive, do you know who the Bills most valuable player was today? It was #13. He made Revis Island look like Gilligan's Island...up until this...
---That was a killer drop by Stevie. To me, that is the thing that should be played out during this week. Not the stupid celebration. He has to make those catches if he wants to be paid like an elite WR. This is the second time in a year that Johnson had the outcome of the game fall out of his hands. Can he make plays when things count? Is he a choker? Harsh, but decent questions. Now, in fairness to #13, he hasn't had many drops this year. Frankly, I couldn't recall any. I still think they should re-sign him. Franchise him or whatever. What would you rather have? Stevie and an OLB in the first round or David Nelson and a WR in the first round? The Bills aren't even close to the cap and should pay him. You don't start taking away offensive pieces from your franchise QB. You are suppose to add some.
--I know a number of pundits will try playing the Stevie Karma and I get it, it's an easy column to write. I can already see the verbiage about how the Bills are immature kids and they need to grow up. They'll mention the David Nelson cheerleader thing. They will talk about Shawne Merriman's tweet. They will talk about how they wore each other's t-shirts. Blah, blah, blah. Funny what losing does when you are in the media, three weeks ago, they were the happy go-lucky bunch and now they are juveniles? Yeah, that's balance. Maybe that has something to do with their losing streak, but I happen to think it's about the talent level and the rash of injuries. It's just not good right now.
--Last thing on the celebration, pretty lame that you can pretend to shoot yourself on a touchdown celebration, but you can't fall to the ground. God, how I love the NFL. IDIOTS!
--I have to say, Twitter sucked today. Just too much bickering! This entire month on Twitter has been awful! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY FAVORITE SITE?!
--I know Johnson and probably Fitz will get a lot of crap for today's loss, but I still think that the defense deserves some blame. As I mentioned, they let Mark Sanchez throw four touchdowns. (Side note: When was the last time a QB got booed for throwing four touchdowns?) They let him burn them on the final drive. They called a stupid blitz on a 3rd and 11 during the final drive, and in doing so, they had their safety cover Plax. Great coaching! Again, until the Bills fix that defense, they are not going anywhere. Even with the Sanchez touchdowns, he still played lousy. Ugh, just a real confusing game today.
- Stevie's Johnson's celebration or the Bills lack of a pass rush?
- Stevie's celebration or the Bills OLBs?
- Stevie's celebration or the Bills lack of depth?
- Stevie's celebration or the Bills corners not playing well in deep routes?
Do you see where I am going here?
--I hate Aaron Maybin. I really wish the Sabres could recall Zack Kassian and take a run at him. Oops, wrong sport. His personal foul call for the late hit was completely bush league. He's an asshole. Alright, Maybin played well today and guess what? He's way better than Spencer Johnson on the outside. Take away the Bills 9 sack performance against the Redskins and the Bills have 7 sacks on the season while Maybin has 5. Oh, and he's played only eight games this season.
--Stats-wise, Ryan Fitzpatrick looked good, but he is still a little off on his throws. I'd like it if he could place the ball in the WRs hands when they are going in stride. Sometimes, it seems like he doesn't give his wideouts the opportunity to run after the catch. I'm also not sure what to make of his 2nd last throw to Johnson. It seemed like Fitz threw it in one spot and then Stevie went to the other side during mid-throw. Does that make sense? I don't know. But hey, I think I'm splitting hairs a bit. He's completed less than 50% of his passes against the Jets for his career and actually looked like the guy from September today. Completing 65% of his passes and not really having a running game was a good day for him. If Stevie doesn't drop that pass, we are talking about the Bills driving the length of the field with just a minute left against the Jets.
--I thought CJ Spiller played a um, simple game? OK, he's not Fred Jackson and he will never be close to being a first round pick. However, at least he made two plays. He was sound and wasn't a complete waste. The Bills aren't going to make him into a focal point at this point. Brad Smith actually made some plays today, too. Hell, he almost Matched his receiving total for this year (77 yards today and 78 yards entering). I guess credit goes to #16 for having the longest arms in the NFL as Rich Gannon said.
--Besides the penalties and Stevie's drop, you had to like what you saw from the offense today. Gailey called a nice game in which he didn't spread the field with 4-5 wides as he decided to use two tight ends. Yes, the guy who wears #85 on the offense is a tight end. Gailey also mixed in a lot of play action, which is something I don't think he runs enough of.
Final word: Yeah, the playoffs are gone. We are now back to talking about the Bills making progress for next season, which sucks. I'm a little conflicted for this game. Yes, it seemed like your typical Bills loss that we have seen throughout the years. I think that bitterness is what really clouds our judgement when it comes to this team. It is almost impossible to quote progress with this team because fans are so angry at just the misery that has occurred over the last 11 years. It's so easy to take a crap on them because we are so bitter. I get that. I get that way too, especially after a 5-2 start.
However, they played a much better game than what they did against the Jets 3 weeks ago. If Stevie doesn't drop a pass towards the end of the game, we are echoing that Fitzpatrick is worth the money and that this team has a lot of character. I don't know, they took a step forward but they also took a step back. Does that make sense?