<![CDATA[Dear God Why Us Sports - Blog]]>Mon, 23 Nov 2015 16:19:31 -0800Weebly<![CDATA["If I die, I will die well-dressed." - Week 11 - Bills at The Patriots of New England]]>Mon, 23 Nov 2015 15:42:47 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/if-i-die-i-will-die-well-dressed-week-11-bills-at-the-patriots-of-new-england
The Barrister

Here we are. I dohwanna.

That said, the certainty of it all, a little less than twelve hours away from inevitable defeat and numbing heartbreak, may be the only bright side we have. Dare not hope because why fucking bother, right mom?

Existential crises put aside for a moment, I fucking hate the New England Patriots all the fucking same, and so do you. I hate their fans and their fans' stupid faces and their fans' stupid sense of superiority at having lucked into the best team in the modern NFL despite being a wretched collection of human beings that couldn't be bothered to show up for the better part of two decades when the team was trash with a side of cock chowdah. I hate all these godforsaken southern and central Mass accents and the fact that everyone comes from a town that makes you feel instantly stupider when you say it out loud. I hate their love of shitty Dunkin Donuts coffee and their claim to progressive social policies despite the fact that their sports teams were all basically governed under Jim Crow until Jimmy Carter was elected. I hate their interstate and their awful drivers and their stupid fucking bumper stickers and their insistence on showing up to MetLife for a Jets/Bills games shrouded in a jersey bearing the number of the biggest asshole who ever played the game so goddamn well. I hate how great this fucking team is and remains, against all odds, and how even when the NFL has them dead-to-rights on one thing or another, they skate by because the only law firm with more idiot lawyers than Paul Cambria's office is whoever the NFL hires to do their legal work. I hate how this fucking team and their fucking fans walk through football season like they own the place because - and this is what I hate the most - they fucking do. They've carved the Patriot Way out of a amalgamation of Boston Creme Donuts, liberal arts degrees, shitty beer, terrible grammar and poor personal hygiene, and the fact that it has happened to work is so fucking maddening I cannot stand it. It's not that they're trash or that they cheat (though they do enough) or that I think they're not that great. It's that THEY ARE THAT GREAT AND MORE.


They're the team that makes me more fucking butthurt than any team in any sport, and here we are. 

​Again, I dohwanna.
Oh, Bills, yeah I have your number right here. I've had it for well over a decade, yeah.

1. Gronk. Obviously. 100%. The Bills have not had an answer for this guy ever. Edelman being out is largely irrelevant because we still have no answer for the primary weapon at Tommy's disposal. Gronk will score a million points and I will smoke a million weed, wait what?

2. A Quasi-Theocratic Hyper-Nationalist State under Donald Trump. This scares me way more than the Patriots so I figure it's best to confront this one head on. TERRIFYING, fam.

3. Dying alone. Think about it. 


1. That new Missy Elliot video. Shit is fire. There are a lot of hip hop acts from my younger years getting a reboot these days and that's a fantastic thing. Missy, Black Star, Tribe was just on Fallon. 19 year old me is fat, an idiot, and also high as shit right now, but also pretty pumped. 

2. Family. Christ, y'all. It's Thanksgiving this week. That's insane and also pretty rad. Drink some whiskey, eat some fowl and some pies, and maybe try to convince your mom to smoke a joint with you. Don't think too much about the Bills. 

3. On the off-chance that the Bills win, well, we'll all feel better than we have in months. Don't worry that this is sad and extremely pathetic. Roll with it. Just don't get too blue if the result goes as it's likely to go ... lotta season left for the Bills to build us back up and then lose in Week 17, missing out on the Wild Card on a tiebreaker. Talk about silver linings.  

This ish just won Whisky of the Year in the Whisky Bible's ranking and I intend to find and drink a considerable amount of it between Thursday and Sunday morning. Good job, Canada. Your whisky is tasty AF and so is your new Prime Minister. Me-ow. 

Apropos of Nothing:
My Prediction:

Pats 46, Bills 17. 

This is not going to be pretty, so least we can do is have a nice little evening with a hoppy beer or six at our side, a dutch rolled for halftime sadz, and knowledge that it'll all be over soon at the ready. 

Go Bills.
<![CDATA["This is the capital of the world! The culture, the... UGH!... He just spit in my mouth!" - Week 10 - The Jets of New York]]>Fri, 13 Nov 2015 00:31:41 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/this-is-the-capital-of-the-world-the-culture-the-ugh-he-just-spit-in-my-mouth-week-10-the-jets-of-new-york
The Apologist

​Any scenario involving the Bills breaking their 15 year playoff drought begins tonight with a win in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This will be a homecoming for Rex Ryan and the biggest test of his progression thus far as head coach. The stakes couldn't be any higher facing off against his former team. A victory puts the Bills at 5-4 and gives them an edge in a potential tiebreaking scenario that could be a huge factor when they face the Jets again in Week 17. A loss does the opposite and forces Buffalo to win at least 5 of their last 7 games to keep even a mathematical hope alive for the playoffs. Not to mention it would be a blow to the psyche of a coach and team that has yet to find consistency 10 weeks into this season.

While last week's game against the Dolphins was enjoyable, it didn't exactly leave anyone brimming with confidence. The offense put together their best game of the season, but the defense allowed Ryan Tannehill (who botched a snap for a safety for the second straight week) to throw over 300 yards while also giving up 100 yards on the ground. Lord knows we'll take a win every way we can get it, but the team faces much stiffer competition this week against the New York Jets. Their running game has been lacking lately, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is arguably a better quarterback than Tannehill and Brandon Marshall is indisputably one of the best wide receivers the Bills will face this season. If the defense continues to give quarterbacks enough time to read a book and find an open man, there is no season-scenario involving a trip to the playoffs.

Of course, none of the above is what anyone's talking about this week. All anyone can talk about is Rex Ryan. And that is totally by his design. While fans of any team he coaches for will have to put up with bad flags and questionable strategies, we don't lack for entertainment along the way. This week has been no different. From wearing a Clemson helmet to a Q&A to naming IK"Oed Geno's Jaw" Enemkpali a captain, Rex is doing everything in his power to take the weight of this game and put it all on himself. And that's exactly why guys like playing for him. The players know if they win, he'll let them steal the headlines for the rest of this week. If they lose, he'll keep all of the blame on his shoulders. It might not always be effective, but at least it's fun.

1) Playoff Potential

Oh God. Why did I even say that? I mean, if they win this game, they're totally in the mix for a wild card spot. But we're terrible in primetime. Pretty much always. And there's tons of pressure and the Bills haven't won four in a row against the Jets since '95-96 but we won the last 3 and Joe says Rex has Fitz's number and PLEASE, PLEASE JUST WIN SO WE DON'T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT DRAFT POSITION FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS!

2) Chris Ivory

​The shock & awe at Chris Ivory’s decline is simply hilarious to me. Running backs don’t suddenly become amazing late in their careers. They either have it or they don’t. Maybe they improve with a better offensive line or a quarterback who takes some of the pressure off, but you never hear about a running back making the jump to elite status in his 6th season. (Exception that proves the rule: Any washed-up running back that Bill Belichick hires.)

And yet, to hear the Jets tell it, this is exactly what happened to Chris Ivory this season. Which is the same move your friend tried to pull in fantasy football earlier this year when he tried to sell you on a trade that revolved around Mr. Ivory. I hope you didn’t fall for it, because the rest of the league didn’t either.

His three biggest games this year were against the Browns, Redskins, and Dolphins (literally the day before they fired Joe Philbin). In his last 3 games? Ivory is averaging 1.5 yards a carry. ONE AND A HALF!! Simply incredible. And it’s not that he’s not getting chances. They’ve handed the ball to him 55 times over those three games.

Please keep giving him the ball, Chan. Please.

3) Taylor to Watkins
Tyrod Taylor has been just about everything the Bills could have hoped for back when they named him the starter. But the biggest concern so far, aside from the usual health worries, was his seeming lack of chemistry with Sammy Watkins. The worst of it came when rumors began trickling out that there was a growing rift between coaches and management over Tyrod versus E.J., centered around the idea that Manuel was better at getting Watkins the targets he was openly agitating for. That idea seems almost laughable now after watching the way the two worked together last Sunday at the Ralph. Taylor only needed 12 throws to beat Miami and 8 of them landed in the hands of Watkins. The result was 168 yards, including a gorgeous 43-yard touchdown after the Dolphins had cut the lead to 5.

The better these two work together, the more it opens up opportunities for the running attack. In my eyes, it's no coincidence that their best game of the season coincided with huge games for both LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams. Clearly it's symbiotic situation, but without a deep threat, there's little chance either back would stand much of a chance against this Jets defense.


1) Revis Island

​Of course, the above excitement could be tampered this week by the black hole that is Darrelle Revis. It's funny to me that people are talking about how he's lost a step. I'll take a slightly slower Revis over pretty much any cornerback in the league. Watkins is undoubtedly a superstar-level talent, but Revis has been smothering elite receivers since the day he entered the league. Also, he's got a Super Bowl ring. So I'm not expecting another 150+ yards from Sammy this week. (Last year in his first game against Revis, Watkins had 2 catches for 27 yards. Yikes.)

If there's anyone who understands this, it should be his former coach Rex Ryan. Rex even had the displeasure of scheming against him last season when he played for the Patriots, so hopefully he can give Greg Roman some nugget of wisdom that gets Watkins room to breath. The dropoff after Revis in the secondary is considerable, so other guys like Clay, McCoy, and Woods should get a few chances to make plays. But as I said, without a deep threat, moving the ball will be much harder for all involved.

2) Offensive Line
A thing that happened.
I feel like we've been whining about our offensive line pretty much forever. At some point, you'd think the team would be able to find four guys not named Eric Wood who can control the line of scrimmage for more than half a second. The only reason Taylor has been so successful thus far is his ability to feel and evade the rush before it comes, which is always. The running game put up big numbers last week, but more than a few runs ended behind the line of scrimmage. And worst of all is their uncanny ability to draw a stupid flag at the worst possible times. I'm pretty sure I've made the exact same complaints every season for the last 8 years. Possibly longer. So I need to stop talking about this.

3) Brandon Marshall

Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled against Rex Ryan defenses in the past. But he's also never had a receiver who can do this...
Regardless of the call, that's an amazing play. I don't understand how he makes catches like this look easy. He's also averaged 71 yards a game against us in his career. Coming off a week where Kenny Stills had that many yards.

Let me guess. You just said "Kenny Who?" Exactly.


Full disclosure... I don't really hate the Jets. Not now. Not ever. What have they ever really done for me to hate them? They've got Joe Namath wagging his finger and then 40-some years of bouncing between abjectly terrible and moderately watchable. Their best quarterback of this century was Mark Sanchez. Ryan Fitzpatrick is their current quarterback because their awful first round pick, Geno Smith got his jaw broken over a friggin' plane ticket. As I said when we faced the Bengals a few weeks back, a team has to actually do something for me to work up the energy to hate them. And the LOLJets have done nothing. If anything, they've been mildly entertaining to follow.

But fuck Fireman Ed. God, was he awful. I never understood the appeal of this egomaniac leading an infantile chant to rile up fellow fans who he then bitched about on his way to "retirement" (see: not being able to afford tickets). Stay gone. Forever. Please.
Notice everyone else not looking like a spoiled child at Walmart.

– Who else digs in the mine and pulls out Garrett Celek as a diamond when he goes and scores 2 TDs?!? I’m real excited about this Jets/Bills special edition and good looks on the continued love. Keeping it brief because we’re enemies this week in a battle for AFC Wild Card relevancy. Let’s go.

Diamond 1 – Shane Vereen. When he was with the Patriots, certain games were known as “Vereen” games where they would pass more. This could not be more applicable for Shane and the Giants than against his former team on an offense that will have to rely on Eli to keep up. The Giants backfield is Muddier Waters than the Daily Fantasy laws or  Redman’s album (that’s the entire album, you’re welcome), but the one thing that IS defined is that Vereen will get passing down work and targets. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a little extra designed for him in a “revenge” game, and the Pats love to give up those garbage time points – they count just the same.
7 Rec, 90+ Combined Yards, TD

Diamond 2 – James Starks. All signs point to this being the get-right game for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Two straight road losses at Denver and Carolina (who are a combined 15-1) don’t mean the Packers aren’t a great offense and Super Bowl contender. The only thing that’s actually concerning is Eddie Lacy turning into all time Fugazi Trend Richardson 2.0. In the midst of this, James Starks has looked good and has stand-alone value as more than just a Lacy handcuff. Good things will happen when you’re on the field with ARod putting up 40, which will happen Sunday against the Lions charity – the word defense is too stout.
120+ Combined Yards, 2TDs

Fugazi 1 – Marcus Mariota. Listen, I ride with the Ducks and think Mariota will be a good NFL Quarterback. But he still is coming off an injury and just did his latest damage against Rob Ryan and the Saints defense that is near the bottom of the league in any measure. This narrative of rallying around a new coach worked a bit in Miami, and Malarkey is 1-0 in Tennessee, but I expect Marcus to come back to Earth against a Red Hot Carolina defense. The rookie has nobody who can beat ascending corner Josh Norman, and the running game is literally between Antonio Andrews and David Cobb coming off I.R. Bad spot for the Titans offense, Fuggettoboughttit.
<230 Passing Yards, 2 INTs

Fugazi 2 – Charcandrick West. The undrafted rookie out of Abiline Christian (Big Shout to the Wildcats of the Southland Conference) has gotten over 20 carries each of the last two weeks and looked good, but that was against the aforementioned Detroit charity. Andy Reid had time on the bye to use his Punk, Pass and Kick skills to scheme weird random shit for D’Anthony Thomas against Denver in this division matchup – not the Sharknado (let it play for the trailer to Sharknado 2 – seriously). We know the Broncos defense is the best in the league straight up and West will go south.
<70 Rush Yards, 0 TD


FUN FACT: The last time the Bills won a fourth straight game against the Jets, Frank Reich was wearing white & green and TODD COLLINS threw a touchdown pass to... wait for it... Steve Tasker.

It's time to break that streak...

Bills 27, Jets 21


Go Bills.
<![CDATA[FUCK YOU, DOLPHIIIIIN! - Week 9 - The Dolphins of Miami]]>Sat, 07 Nov 2015 01:20:02 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/week-9-the-dolphins-of-miami
The Apologist

Remember when this was supposed to be the breakthrough year for Joe Philbin & the Dolphins? Or how confident we were about our chances of making the playoffs? Oops. Seasons that once felt so promising for both teams are feeling far less so coming off the bye week.

I was asked to and failed to write a recap after that Jaguars game because… well… sometimes I don’t feel like extrapolating some buried meaning from a giant pile of shit. And really, how much could have possibly wanted to read about that mess? After that awful stench in the second quarter when the Bills surrendered 20 points in a matter of minutes, I’m fairly certain I wasn’t the only person thinking of different ways to spend my Sundays for the next couple months.

But of course, the Bills being the Bills, rather than letting me cut the Yahoo feed and be done with it, E.J. & Co. rattled off 21 unanswered points, the defense grabbed a pick-6 to take the lead, and suddenly the postseason was back on!

For about 1 minute until Blake (F*%$KING!) Bortles rammed the ball right down our defense’s throat. I don’t care if we got flagged for one bad call or twenty. If the Jaguars drive 84 yards on you, it’s not the ref’s fault, it’s yours.

So here we are. 3-4. Not good, but not out of it. And here come the god damn Dolphins. And they don’t even have the decency to still be as shitty as they were when we faced them in Week 3! WHY CAN’T YOU JUST SUCK LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO!!

So, no playoff talk can be taken seriously unless we take care of business this Sunday at the Ralph.

1) The Return of Tyrod Taylor
I know I don’t watch ESPN or follow #BillsMafia, but did I really hear that this is the healthiest Tyrod Taylor has been all year? He’s already ranked among the top ten quarterbacks in the league in yards per attempt, completion percentage, and passer rating. This from a guy who hasn’t played at 100% yet?

Of course, this being a league where guys like Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck go from ballers to bums seemingly overnight, who really knows how long this can last. But after watching E.J. struggle through two games, it’ll be good to see #5 back under center this Sunday.

2) Williams & McCoy

While this may sound like an over-the-hill Western starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall, you know I mean the running tandem of Karlos & LeSean. The last time the Dolphins saw ‘Los he torched them for 110 yards and a touchdown on 12 (TWELVE!) carries. Assuming that his head is clear and LeSean’s hamstring is feeling limber, these two could be in for a huge day.

The plan was always supposed to be to grind out games with these two, but this might be the first time we actually get to see it full throttle. Eight different Dolphin defenders showed up on the injury report this week, not including Cameron Wake who’s gone for the season. Add in that Roman will presumably want to ease Tyrod back into things and these two should have more than a enough opportunities to show why the Bills coveted both of them so much in the first place.

3) Ryan Tannehill

Among the reasons why people thought this could be the breakthrough season for the Dolphins was the assumption that Ryan Tannehill would continue to develop and finally break into the conversation of “elite quarterbacks.” Now you have to wonder if they’re starting the search for his replacement.
If Rex was able to make adjustments over the bye week to help his defensive line get after the quarterback (adjustments that no one has seen or can prepare for yet), this could be a fun week for the front four.

Besides, here are Tannehill’s average numbers against us in his career... 20/36, 189 yds, 1.6 TD, 1.1 int. Of the many things I’m worried about, Ryan having a big day is not one of them.


1) Attitude

“I always felt when I went to Seattle a lot of the receivers took me as a threat rather than accepting me as a teammate." - Percy Harvin

“(Chip Kelly) wants the full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest.” - LeSean McCoy

“Most of you just wish to be in this position so continue working y’all little jobs for the rest of y’all lives…" - Sammy Watkins

I can’t imagine I’m the only one who’s sick and tired of hearing these guys run their mouths. I know this is part of the package when Rex Ryan becomes your coach, but enough already. When you win, you can say whatever the heck you want (see: Richard Sherman, 2013). When you lose, no one gives a shit what you have to say (see: Richard Sherman, 2014).

Here’s Stephon Gilmore talking about “average” receiver Allen Robinson after the Jaguars game:

“He caught, I don't know how many passes. He wasn't tough to guard.”

Oh really, Stephon? You don’t know? I’ll tell you then. He caught 9 balls for 98 yards and a touchdown. Two of those catches and a third of the yards on the game-winning drive. One of those two, that was, hmmm, let me see, oh yeah, YOU who was covering him. If that’s not tough, then I hate to see what happens this week against above average receivers. Just shut up and play, please.

2) Landry & Matthews

The only way you recognize either of these names is if you write for a blog or are obsessed with fantasy football. In the three games since Philbin was let go, Rishard Matthews has caught 16 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown, while Jarvis Landry has hauled in 14 passes for 196 yards and two scores. Not crazy numbers, but nothing to scoff at either.

Now I know I just said I’m excited to see Tannehill gets his head kicked in, but I find myself more worried about our top two corners than anyone else seems to be. Leading the league in pass deflections is certainly praiseworthy, but it also means that quarterbacks have no problem throwing at you again and again and again.

The Jaguars certainly weren’t. With a little over five minutes on the clock and T.J. Yeldon already having chewed up 100+ yards on the ground, this was their play selection: Pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-pass. With Blake Bortles. And it worked. So… yeah… I’m a little worried about these two doing just enough to make me hate myself for laughing at #TannehillFace.
Never mind. This will never stop being funny.

3) ​Lamar Miller

Statistically the run defense has been one of the bright spots for this unit so far. On the year, they’ve only given up 100 yards rushing three times. But two of those times were our last two games. The third time? Week 3 against Miami in a 27-point blowout.

Again, I’m not saying anyone is going to tell their kids about the position players of this terrible Dolphins squad. But we’re not taking the long view right now. Like Landry & Matthews, Miller’s numbers took a big jump after Campbell took over coaching duties, including a monster day against Houston when he touched the ball 17 times for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns, including 145 yards rushing. Maybe I’m making a mountain out of molehill, but I hope Rex knows this guy’s name.

Last year, I described how the Dolphins taught me what it was to hate a sports team. So what’s new that I hate? Well, they signed Ndamakong Suh because Richie Incognito plays for us now and God forbid they not have one gaping asshole on the team (see: Jason Taylor, Joey Porter, Bryan Cox).

But I don’t really need a new reason when they've given enough to live off of already. This is a team whose former players celebrate when they remain the only undefeated team in football. (I don’t care what Don Shula says, they definitely still do this. Every former athlete thinks about the glory days. I hope they’re all on suicide watch seeing four different teams at 7-0.) Mind you, this celebration includes rejoicing in the failure of their former team! Can you imagine if Jim Kelly celebrated every time a current Bills QB didn’t beat one of his records? Oh, wait. He’d be Dan Marino.

Fuck Dan Marino, Dave Wannstedt, Mark Clayton, Jay Fiedler, Mercury Morris, O.J. McDuffie, Bryan Cox, Jason Taylor… All of them. Just all of them, now and forever.

Except Ricky Williams. I will always love Ricky for running through a brick wall week after week and then walking out on them when he was all they had. Well played, Ricky. Miss you.

@Tha_Scizz – So no “Bang Bang Chicken and shrimp” huh? And the first time you actually used one of my diamonds yourself –sorry bro. Darren McFadden looked good and will continue to be the lead in Dallas, and nobody was giddy over Amari or Lacy’s production. Let’s see what happens this week.

Diamond 1 – Stevie Johnson. The Chargers don’t really run the ball, everything is predicated on Rivers slinging it around, and he has to lead the league in passing with over 300 more yards than Tom Brady and others. Now with the disturbing injury to Keenan Allen (Praying for you Bro) and both TE’s banged up SPEEDZ says Stevie Johnson will pick up the slack. Malcom Floyd will stay as the deep threat and it’ll be Stevie taking the targets along with true RB1 Danny Woodhead. It’s a good spot for San Diego at home on Monday Night against the Bears who are 29th in the League giving up 28.9 points/game. Gruden and Tirico will hype this up with a cool piece on him too!
8 Rec, 90+ Yards, TD

Diamond 2 – Garrett Celek. It’s a dumpster fire in San Francisco. Running backs room is so injured they just had to sign Pierre Thomas off the street. Backup and notoriously horrible QB Blaine Gabbert takes over due to contractual fears, and an opponent who has an explosive offense and something to prove scoring on the road on grass with something on the line in the Falcons. Gabbert will see only one familiar face in fellow backup turned starter Garrett Celek. This combined with garbage time and dump down potential means a security blanket and looks in a historically bad offense. It won’t be pretty, but this is a FFstyle value special.
6 Rec, 80+ Yards, TD

Fugazi 1 – T.Y. Hilton. I can’t believe it’s gotten this bad in Indy, Jim Irsay may need some more painkillers! Luck looks injured and in bad weather against an ascending CB Hilton managed 7 targets but only 1 catch. You would think that would change and he’d bounce back. But Luck isn’t getting any healthier, the O-Line isn’t getting any better, and the Colts welcome the #1 Defense in the league with a great secondary who just shut down Aaron Rodgers. T.Y. has not proven himself to be matchup and QB-proof and has only gone over 100 yards once against a much worse defense (Rob Ryan?) and so I expect little more regardless of the weather control in the dome.  
5 Rec, <60 Yards

Fugazi 2 – DeMarco Murray. There’s not much the Eagles can do differently after the bye. In Chip they trust, in Sam Bradford the rely, and the fact remains Ryan Mathews is a better fit for the system in Philly. The former Cowboy will be eager to prove a point and may get an early drive, but it will be the Dallas defense that celebrates the return to Jerry’s world, especially with a suspect O-Line that hopes Jason Peters is actually “fine” like he claims. Murray got 2 yards on 13 carries against Dallas in week 2, and while it won’t be that bad it won’t be worth it. Look elsewhere.
<65 Combined Yards


Oh, Lord. Honestly, we could lose this game but make the playoffs, and I'd still feel cheated. But coming off a bye week in a must-win situation...

Dolphins 13, Bills 24

Gotta have it. Go Bills.

<![CDATA[“You can call me Susan if it makes you happy” - Your Week 7 Bills Preview - Bills "at" Jaguars]]>Fri, 23 Oct 2015 21:49:56 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/you-can-call-me-susan-if-it-makes-you-happy-your-week-7-bills-preview-bills-at-jaguars
 The Scizz

Greetings and Salutations Berls fans! After a three week hiatus from the Bills previews I have returned more confused than ever! What is this team? To me right now, they seem like another 8 – 8 team that will show a glimmer of hope here and there, juuuuuuuust enough to keep us invested, yet ultimately breaking our hearts. Same old song.
It’s been an early season of “What If’s?” all around. What if Buffalo had all their weapons like Sammy, Shady, and Los Williams for every game? What if Tyrod was able to go last week? What if the offensive line could learn how to play football? What if defensive “genius” Rex Ryan sent his front four to destroy the QB more often? (Which any human with even a minuscule knowledge of football knows should be happening by the way.) Hell, what if Fred Jackson was never relea….GOTCHA!

What this all leads back to is that the one game I was the most confident about winning this season, now seems like it has the potential of a disappointment akin to last year’s loss to the Raiders. How has this happened? I have no real answers, but what I can say is that I don’t give a fuck how they do it, but they need to win Sunday morning in London. Maybe they need to sign Bullet Tooth Tony to start shooting players in the knee caps during warm ups. I’m just spit balling here.

My sources tell me he's taking Whaley's call right now

Three things to be excite about:

1. Shady’s back! – Lesean McCoy looked like his regular self last week, and with EJ back under center and the corpse of Don Beebe starting at WR, he’s sure to get a heavy load (insert inappropriate Mom joke here).

2. The Defensive Front! – It appears Rex has learned the errors of is ways, and with facing a 2nd year QB in Blake Bortles this week, he better be sending the house as much as possible. Let Darby and Gilmore do their jobs and have Mario give Borts nightmares for the rest of the season.   

3. Morning football! – 9:30 AM start? Yes, please! I drank on a Sunday out in Seattle last year and bars opening at 9 for football is just awesome. I honestly would love it if there was one morning game every week to enjoy as you get your day started. I’ll be streaming this bad boy from bed with Bloody Mary’s, breakfast sandwiches, and my upcoming “cocktail” of the week. How about you?

Oh. Really?
Have some fucking self-respect

Three things I’m terrified about:

1. Rex Ryan. – Still not on board. He has been on this list 3 of the 4 weeks I’ve written and I feel even less comfortable after the D-line calling him out last week. But what really chaps my ass is the amount of people I remember not only being excited about the Rex hiring, but blatantly calling out people on twitter who didn’t like the move, now talking shit about Rex like it never happened. Die in a fire.

2. WR Depth Chart. – The following is the WR depth chart for this week 
  • Bobby Woods
  • Bobby Brown
  • Chris Hogan
  • Ted Cruz
  • Randy from IT
  • A Segway
  • Denarius Moore
  • Joe Madden’s glasses
  • Marcus Easley 

3. EJ. – Nuff’ Said

Cocktail of the Week:

Irish Coffee
Is there a better way to start your day? Absolutely not! I love coffee more than pretty much anything except my wife and my dog, and even that’s close. But add some whiskey and Bailey’s and Oooo-weee let’s start some fisticuffs! I’ll be six deep by Noon.

Fantasy Football Diamond in the Rough and Fugazi of the Week:
Dane aka Speedz Keyno is KILLING IT in weekly fantasy line-ups so pay attention. (check his great podcast at http://triplephat.podomatic.com/entry/2015-09-15T20_43_30-07_00) 

Diamonds in the Rough are guys who have warts and may not be expected to produce all season, but who have a favorable matchup or gameflow this week... Sometimes ya got to dig for it!

Fugazis? What's a fugazi? It looks nice and shiny - like something you want to spend some money on... But it's a fake, a fraud. You buy that, you're a real dunceski.

@Tha_Scizz – I told you Antonio Brown and Andre Johnson were Fugazi last week. The DGWU readers have to be on my DFS picks by now right?!? The Cash streak is up to 6…Too bad about that Sammy Watkins karma – Don’t think he knew that targets would come at the cost of his ankle…Check the Diamonds and Fugazi’s for week 7, when I’ll be streaming Yahoo early Sunday morning…
Diamond 1Lamar Miller. New Coach, new attitude...but same coach talk. Campbell says they want to make the most of every day and bring some emotion, which is code for "enough of the bullshit, let's run it down someone's throat”. The former TE gave Lamar Miller 19 more carries than last 2 games combined and he responded with 119 yards more than last 3 weeks combined and 1st rush TD of year. I expect a similar game flow vs. Houston in the Dolphins 1st home game for new regime. Lamar Miller makes 'em Bobble Walk in Miami.
20+ Touches, 110+ Combined Yards, TD
Diamond 2Travis Kelce. Pittsburgh has had trouble defending the TE this year giving up the most points in the NFL to that position, and after one week without Jamaal Charles it's clear the way to address his absence is not through the run game. The vaunted combo of Knile Davis and Charcandrick West combined to gain 46 yards on 14 carries against a Vikings defense that was giving up 113/game and in the bottom half of the league. The Chiefs will look to get their first home win at Arrowhead by pressuring 3rd string QB Landry Jones on D, but look for "Baby Gronk" to be heavily involved as Alex Smith is still scared to throw a ball more than 20 yards downfield and Jeremy Maclin may need to stay in the dark, quiet room.
8 Catches, 90+ Yards, TD
Fugazi 1Martavis Bryant. Sure, 32 fantasy points looks great in a return from suspension. The problem is the Clemson product has always been “Boom or Bust” and got most of his production on one play. Who knows who will start at QB for the Steelers this week, but job #1 will be to feed Antonio Brown (whose “dud” streak now stands at 3 and he must be pissed after being labeled a Fugazi last week) and LeVeon Bell who got zero receptions or targets for the FIRST TIME IN HIS CAREER last week. Bryant may look like a shiny new toy, but he’s a Fugazi this week!
3 Catches, <50 Yards
Fugazi 2Gary Barnidge. This can’t last forever - right? Speedz says the #1 fantasy TE through 6 weeks comes back to Earth in a Trap Game on the road against a non-conference opponent who is coming off a bye at home with time to prepare against the new hyped Cleveland weapon. And to ride with Barnidge means that you implicitly trust Josh McCown! What can Browns do for you? Make you scream at the TV in disgust. Don't do it...unless you trust McCown…I guess.
4 Catches, <60 Yards

Buffalo Bills Player / Pro Wrestler of the Week:

After ordering the WWE network last summer to keep myself occupied during my off weeks from work, it has now taken me down a giant wormhole of professional wrestling that has me listening to not one, but TWO wrestling podcasts every week, watching random streams of Japanese wrestling, and also going to my first live indie wrestling show in Queens a couple of weeks ago. I’m sure as I resume work this obsession will die down, but for now I thought this would be fun.

Johnny Gargano: Most people probably don’t know this guy is, but over the last 6 months or so he has become one of my favorite wrestlers in the world. He’s got it all. Personality, mat skills, high flying ability, and he still plays with action figures as a hobby. He’s not the biggest or fastest guy out there, but he makes you want to root for him every match he’s telling a story in. If you watch NXT, you may have seen him a few times, but as far as I know he’s not signed to WWE quite yet. Also, he’s from Cleveland so fans at his shows chant “John-Ny-Wrest-Ling”. Brilliant.
Johnny’s Bills counterpart is Corey Graham. Not the flashiest or most skillful player on the field, but he’s constantly busting his ass and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him body tackle once. If some of the guys on the team played with his heart and dedication to the fundamentals of tackling, we might not be 3 – 3.

El Greasico

No Greasico this week. I heard he’s a Cubs fan so he may be dead or planning to murder Daniel Murphy?!?

Final Prediction:

I can’t believe I’m scared of the Jaguars, but something tells me that Bortles goes off much like Derek Carr did last year for the Raiders in a major letdown game. Julius Thomas scores twice and the Bills don’t’ find the end zone. Pray I’m wrong
Jaguars 17 – Bills 9

Follow me @Tha_Scizz and shower me with compliments.
<![CDATA[I think I'd better come clean with you about this. It's not a virus, I'm afraid. You see, a virus is what we doctors call 'very, very small'. So small, it could not possibly have made off with the whole leg. - A Week 6 Recap - Bills vs. Bengals]]>Tue, 20 Oct 2015 17:28:41 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/i-think-id-better-come-clean-with-you-about-this-its-not-a-virus-im-afraid-you-see-a-virus-is-what-we-doctors-call-very-very-small-so-small-it-could-not-possibly-have-made-off-with-the-whole-leg-a-week-6-recap-bills-vs-bengals
The Barrister

Anything. Write any fucking thing about this team

Most words about this squad, right now, bum me out. Not because the team isn't fun or pretty good or promising. The team is all those things. Yet it is impossible to love with any semblance of sincerity. It is entirely too racked with frustrating moments and massive disappointments. It is a franchise, in no small measure, that will bite your fucking leg off as you sleep, leaving you to wake with an unshakable disbelief that no fucking way is it possible that they've duped us once again. 

To be a sports fan is to be a sucker. A patsy. A fool unable to see or feel the hand in your back pocket as you are distracted by some shiny promise purposefully set in front of you so you don't notice what's happening behind. Incidentally, this is what I learned from the 10 minutes of the classic Will Smith film Focus I watched the other night. Figured snagging one metaphor for the pointless existence of my life as a fan was enough of that awful awful fucking movie.

Of course, sometimes it's not that at all. Apologist texted me sometime Sunday night / yesterday morning (unable to check my phone which is FUCKING SIX INCHES FROM ME HASHTAG LAZINESS HASHTAG FAT) and said "just write the Bills recap like you're talking about the Mets." Man, is that a difficult ask. Conflating the most joyous part of my sports-watching life with the most milquetoast is not an exercise I want to get to. Nevertheless, the suggestion illustrates a crucial point - sometimes we aren't asked to be patsies, we aren't asked to fork over our money and time and devotion in exchange for absolutely no return into our existential personal cash register of feelings. Sometimes we give all those things and get back something substantial, a series of unforgettable moments paired with actual, real, visible success. Sometimes we get a return on our investment that isn't the result of our rationalization; isn't a construction of our eager need to turn force a shit sandwich down our throats so that we might be able to salvage some pride. Sometimes teams give you enough actual victories that you aren't lining up to the lunch counter at Eataly or some such nonsense place for a helping of moral ones. 

Obviously, we can't tell at the outset whether we'll be rewarded for our enthusiasm and optimism or whether we'll be left to make what we can out of an awful sports product. 

The Bills, our Bills, make it pretty easy to bet on the inevitability of failure. Luckily, it's all second nature at this point, so I'm not about to let these assholes strip away the fun this year ... I've gotten pretty good at making do. 

Let's recap this turd burger and then talk about beer and stuff:

Things I did not like:
1. The defense. Lol they were bad. The rumors of a "wait they were supposed to be better and actually are worse?" are not exaggerated. It's happening before our eyes. Happily, Mario gave us us some insight on why the defensive line, in particular, is not producing after having been a key part of any small successes the Bills had for the past couple years. His insight - that the line isn't playing up to its potential because the plays called are not sending a minimum of four rushes, but are instead dropping d-linemen into COVERAGE (HOW THE FUCK IS THIS A THING?!?) pretty frequently - is certainly not a surprise, is not at all controversial, and is pretty obvious to most people watching the games. The good news is that seems pretty fixable. Bad news is that the defensive secondary had been banged up, so it's not like Rex et al didn't have some reason to trend towards wanting some help in coverage on passing downs. This has to get better without sacrificing quality in the secondary or the season is truly lost. That's not hyperbole - without the defense working very well, the Bills are thoroughly mediocre. 

2. Sammy's injury. Brutal as fuck. No way around it. After spreading the good word of "hey guys if you get me the ball more, we will be successful for reals" throughout the land last week, his opinion on his importance seemed to be paying off. On target #4, late in the second quarter (basically on pace to get at least close to ten targets on the day), Sammy catches a key TD, bailing out a poor throw by EJ to secure the catch and, ultimately, fuck up his knee. We talk about grit a ton as a point of hilarity in how sports media regularly spits out absurd prose to talk about players, but this was fucking GRITTY. He hurt himself before he even caught the ball, and still brought it in. His absence from the lineup will be noticeable.

2a. People talking junk about Sammy and injuries. Seriously, fuck off and die. No one likes you, you have no friends and your family is only capable of maintaining love for you when your mouth remains shut and the illogical vomit you harvest in your esophagus remains jailed behind the prison of your ugly fucking face. 
3. Offensive play-calling. Here's the thing: EJ is not super good at football. He is, from time to time, bad. Before Sunday, he had not started a game in over a year. Greg Roman, curiously and inexplicably, relied on a not-that-good-probably-pretty-bad-and-hasn't-played-much-at-all QB to do things that the aforementioned QB just doesn't do that well and has never done that well. FORTY TWO THROWS. FUCKING FORTY FUCKING TWO FUCKING THROWS. Remember Howard Dean's happy and excited yelling way back when? Now think of the opposite. That's me when a Bills coaching staff asks EJ fucking Manuel to throw more than 40 times. It. Does. Not. Go. Well. Ever. The. End. The amount of pass plays called on 3rd and short made me ill. Three 3rd and 3 pass plays on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Bills drives of the game, all resulting in punts, I mean come the fuck on this isn't complicated. The shit worked ONCE, on the first drive, and Roman figured "oooh this is a good plan" and then kept fucking the shit out of a chicken named Gertrude. How about those two EJ pass plays - virtually the same routes - in a row, the first of which was so badly thrown that the idea of going RIGHT back to EJ's arm on the next play, that went to the same spot he just threw to poorly, a spot to which EJ has consistently revealed himself unable to deliver the ball? EJ is a fine ballplayer when it comes to certain, but definitely NOT ALL, portions of the game required at the quarterback position. It really seemed like Roman and Rex had no clue as to the distinction between things EJ does pretty ok and things for which he has absolutely zero acuity. 
Things I would have liked if I chose to have any good feelings about anything:

1. EJ being not all that awful. We have a low bar for the guy at this point, and he benefited from that on Sunday. He was NOT the biggest reason the Bills lost - honestly, his faults are innumerable, but they're also no secret, so I'm sort of over criticizing him for bad play when a coach is asking him to do something he has only ever done poorly. I've been on the "do not dare throw the ball more than 30 goddamned times with EJ if you expect to win" bandwagon for a while (Note: I am the only one on the bandwagon, but there's room for everyone please someone come hang out the loneliness is crippling). I won't dig up the win-loss record, but it's bad when EJ throws a lot, i.e. 30+ times, and not that bad when he throws not so much, i.e. 0-29 times. He was asked to do far too much on Sunday, particularly after losing his best weapon at WR, and he still put together some good stuff. And, frankly, he did some things a lot better than he did in the four games he played last season; most obvious of them was his willingness to scramble out of the pocket, get some yards with his feet, and not be afraid of a hit. This was good to see. I may not want him playing QB for a team I support ever again (definitely not, let's be real kids), but he wasn't the reason the team lost and was a big part of keeping the score was as close as it was. 

2. More gems from the Bills tailgate. If I can achieve anything over the course of my time in the dysfunctional, drug-abuse-laden-and-entirely-asinine village of Buffalo sports twitter and blogging, I hope it's one of two things: (1) provide an alternate viewpoint for people sick of mainstream media and the sycophant corners of the Buffalo blog world that try to emulate it; and/or (2) advocate for the glorious mess of being a Buffalo sports fan that salvages the fun sucked away by our abominably awful teams with the help of some combination of Canadian whiskey, recreational drugs, hoppy beer, and shotguns full of Genny. These are the music makers, the dreamers of dreams, wandering by lone sea-breakers, and desolate streams. Arthur O'Shaugnessy was writing about Bills fans in 1874, for real. I read it in a book.

Fun is to be celebrated, fam. That's the whole point. Putting aside the weird violence and drunkenness that truly and directly impacts the experience and, more crucially, safety of other fans (because that shit is so obviously out-of-bounds that we don't need to address it), what's the story with Bills fans being embarrassed by the fun being had by fans at tailgates outside The Ralph? Maybe it's not your style, and that's cool. No one is asking you to participate or even explicitly approve. But does Pinto Kenny really deserve derision for getting doused with condiments on Sundays? Do some dudes pulling off wrestling moves really reflect on you? Really?

Get your heads out of your ass and let people have fun without sanctimony raining down. Stop pretending that you have the monopoly on appropriate behavior and sip your Merlot in peace over there. Over here, we're having the best time of our lives and have no intention of stopping just because you feel like suggesting we grow up.

Fuck growing up. Growing up fucking sucks and so do you. 

3. Media headlines misrepresenting player quotes. I went on a rant about this issue this morning on twitter dot com upon seeing Mario Williams "unloading" on Rex Ryan for defensive play-calling. Same thing happened with Sammy last week. These lazy, forced characterizations - layered with bias through the use of verbs that implicitly paint the player quotes as aggressive and selfish - are so fucking tired, even if I totally understand why headline writers do certain things in the quest for clicks. I get it. But until Americans in general and Buffalo sports fans in particular get going with the task of parsing headlines and determining for themselves whether the headlines accurately report on the facts of a story and, in this instance, do so without telling readers what to think before they even get to the fucking byline, the consequence of shitty headlines and subjective reporting will be sports fans left with an inaccurate impression of the players they cheer for. As I tweeted this morning, if you aren't finding the most accurate, value-neutral verbs, adverbs and adjectives to help paint the picture for readers, you're sacrificing accuracy for eyes. It's the business, for sure, but it doesn't mean we have to like it and, FOR FUCKING SURE, it doesn't mean we have to permit clickbaiting bias to shape our own understanding and conversations about our squads. They are the purveyors of heaping piles of horseshit and we are the shit-sippers they rely on to keep the rent paid.

Let's stop sipping shit. 

​Beer of the Week:
I am firmly in the category of "IPA Guy." I love hops, I love tasting a bitterness in beer that is both unmistakable and intentional. Most of all, and this is no surprise, I love drinking a beer and getting value on the percentage of alcohol by volume of what goes down into my belly. The 2XIPA is something I don't see often at my beer store in New Jersey, but when I do, it's getting purchased. I hope you like the passive voice because otherwise I am confident that you are the one that should get bent.

Barrister's Graphic Novel Reading List:

In the spirit of Scizz's (and now Apologist's, that didn't last long!) burgeoning preview and its myriad subsections, I'm branching out, too. Our public library carries a bunch of rad graphic novels and, after re-reading my first entry into this series of recommendations, I am determined to re-acquaint myself with the genre I've barely touched since college. This should help motivate me. 

​This week's recommendation:
The source material for potentially the best comic book movie I will ever see, these books are fantastic. I saw the movie first and then read these and they absolutely hold up. The art is interesting, the story endearing, and each installment in the series goes QUICK. I love these books. Also, any comic that gives me something (even vaguely) reminiscent of Jet Set Radio will always be beloved in my heart.

Barrister's Fuck! This Isn't a Picture Book​! Reading List:
I was going to recommend The Beach because the movie was such trash and the book so good that I figured it was worth mentioning, but this book is better. Garland is a great fucking writer - he penned the screenplay to 28 Days Later which I pre-ordered on Amazon in after reading The Tesseract in the summer of 2002 (?) and then stupidly read in the creepy-when-it's-dark-and-only-running-on-emergency-lights Hobart and William Smith library where we were forced to sleep during the April ice storm in 2003 - and this novel is so good that you'll be angry that you waited over a decade to pick up. You are welcome.

Music to Soothe Your Soul After a Bills Loss:

Catch me being an asshole on twitter @theycallmedubs or come find me out drinking for the Mets.
I'm the handsome one. 
<![CDATA["This will take brains, not brawn. / You better believe it, and I'm loaded with both." - Week 5 - The Bengals of Cincinnati]]>Sun, 18 Oct 2015 00:13:42 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/week-6-the-bengals-of-cincinnati
The only Bengal worth fearing.
The Apologist

​Last weekend in Nashville, the Bills desperately needed a win. It didn’t matter how they got it (luckily). They were missing their two best playmakers on offense along with their second best running back. But a loss would’ve meant a week of trying to explain a season circling the drain. The Titans aren’t as bad as their record might suggest, but they’re bad. Fortunately for Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor decided to have his breakout moment as a Bill. It wasn’t his best game, but we may look back on it as his most defining. Leading an offense with no rhythm, no protection, and seemingly no other options, Taylor put everything on his back and ran head first into the Tennessee defense. The result was a gutsy, if ugly, 14-13 win. The only QB to run for more yards in a single game so far this season is Russell Wilson. On the season, he trails only 3: Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Cam Newton. I’ll take it.

Of course one of those runs resulted in a sprained MCL, an injury we’ll clearly all be wondering about for the rest of the season. Taylor finished the game on the damaged knee and has already proven himself as a capable pocket passer. He doesn’t have to run to be effective. But this issue is clearly the biggest come Sunday. We saw what happened with LeSean McCoy when he tried to hurry back from a hamstring injury. If Tyrod could be the quarterback of the future, do we really want to risk his health against a team tied for fourth in sacks? Just how much does this one game matter? Then again, I’m sure the question the Bills are asking themselves after that last game is: can they win without him?

A couple weeks back, I read an article about how the Cincinnati Bengals deserved more respect for their 3-0 record. The writer, Andrea Hangst, made the argument that the Broncos, Patriots, and Packers were getting far more credit for their identical starts, but… well… I really don’t know what she was talking about because it’s THE BENGALS!

Seriously, has there ever been a less intimidating 5-0 team in the history of football? I actually tried to look it up. And I was reminded of another team in recent history that actually went 6-0 before failing to even make the playoffs. Can you remember who that was? I’ll give you a hint…
(I don’t care if Josh McDaniels wins another Super Bowl this year, takes over after Belichick retires, and wins four more as a head coach. This is will be the defining moment of his career.)

There are plenty of teams that started 3-0 in the last decade and didn’t make the playoffs. The Bills were two of them. (Dammit.) This isn’t to say that the Bengals are a bad team. In fact, they’re quite good. Andy Dalton has thrown 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. The defense is in the top 10 for points per game. They’re the clear favorite to win their division. So there’s a chance the Bills could lose regardless of who plays on Sunday. We won’t know for sure until kickoff, so let the speculation begin!


1) A Sammy Watkins Sighting? Maybe?

Please. I miss him so much. I just want to see him do something amazing again. Sometimes when I’m watching I forget he’s on the team and when I remember it makes me so depressed. Every time I see Robert Woods complain about a flag that’s not coming or Charles Clay run a bad route, all I can think is PLEASE GOD, LET SAMMY HEAL!

And I could care less about him whining about the way he’s being used. Shit, I feel the exact same way. If he wants to play, let the guy play! If he wants it thrown his way, I don’t care if he’s out there on crutches, throw that man the ball! The passing game has been atrocious, E.J.’s back under center, and we’re down to our FIFTH string running back… make it happen.

2) Marvin Lewis
PictureAll the questions.
What do you do when you’ve got two top-tier receivers and a quarterback entering his physical prime enjoying the best start of his career? If you said, focus on the running game, then check the mirror really quick, because you might have traded places with Marvin Lewis last night. I know it might be silly to knock a coach who’s gone 31-16-1 in the last 3 seasons, but that same coach has ZERO playoff wins in 12 years as the Bengals’ coach.

Over a decade with the same head coach. Can you imagine that? The Playstation 3 hadn’t been invented yet when he was hired. John Kerry was considering a run for President. Gay marriage was still a pipe dream. How do you make it 11 seasons as a head coach and not luck into a playoff win or get fired?

Last week, Ken Whisenhunt made some questionable decisions that helped keep Buffalo in the game. This week, Marvin has insisted that he wants to keep the focus of his offense on the running game (2nd in the league in rushing attempts). So far this strategy has translated to 5 straight wins. But they’re only 7th in total yards and 21st in yards per carry. If he continues this strategy against the league’s 3rd best run defense? Maybe we’ll get the upset we’re craving.


Yes, I know. I just used the word “upset” in reference to a game against the Bengals. Without looking at the records, it would seem like an oxymoron. But they are one of the only undefeated teams left in the NFL and the Bills haven’t exactly been setting the league on fire with their performances so far. And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that we’re starting a quarterback who hasn’t played since last September. So this qualifies as a game the Bills aren’t expected to win.

And really, what’s better than a big upset early in the season? Obviously, we would’ve loved to shock the league against the Patriots, but it’s too late for that. All we can do is cross our fingers and hope that the Bills have worked out the kinks of their new systems and are ready to unleash them on a Bengals team that has yet to beat a team with a winning record. If we see the E.J. that nearly beat the Patriots in his very first game, well… that’d be pretty damn exciting.


1) E.J. Manuel

Traded up to get him. UP!
On the other hand, if EJ is erratic and McCoy isn’t healthy enough to play, this could get ugly in a hurry. So far there have been more questions than answers about just how good this team is while the Bengals are a veteran team that knows their strengths and weaknesses inside and out. Not to mention, we’re playing in front of a Cincinnati crowd watching one of the best teams they’ve ever seen. We’ve seen the Bills come out flat nearly every single week. Is it fair to expect them to do any better with E.J. in the huddle? We know he’s got a canon and some of the same scrambling ability as Taylor, so the playbook doesn’t need to change. But the man hasn’t started a game since our visit to Houston last season when he gift-wrapped a pick-6 for J.J. Watt. And the Bills weren’t exactly hiding the fact that they had no interest in letting him be their starting quarterback this season. He did have a very impressive showing in the preseason, but even that was over a month ago. I need to stop talking about this now.

2) The Pass Rush

I spent nearly all of the offseason gloating about how we were going to annihilate every quarterback we faced. I bragged to anyone that would listen that the only quarterbacks on the schedule that scared me were Luck, Brady, and Manning. So, yeah… I don’t know why you should be listening to me about any of this.

I don’t watch game film and I’m not smart enough to tell what is so different between last year and this year. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lack of hustle and we seem to blitz enough as far as I can tell. Part of it is surely that last year teams weren’t expecting Jerry Hughes to be quite the force that he turned out to be and now they’re ready for him. And we’ve definitely seen more gameplans featuring extra blockers and quick throws than I remember seeing last year. The secondary has been a bit leaky with at least two members being injured or ineffective every week, so that has to account for some of it. But still, 9 sacks through 4 games simply isn’t good enough for this defense. To win tomorrow, the defense has to make Dalton feel pressured from the very beginning. If they can force him into a couple turnovers, then maybe we can get out of Ohio with a win. If not, get ready for Scott Farkus to make us look really, really bad.

3) Blowout

As fun as an upset is, a blowout is a far stronger feeling in the opposite direction, particularly with where our expectations were to start the season. Since the season opener, nearly every game has been painful to watch aside from the final quarter. And yet another lackluster performance against a team we’re capable of beating is something I’m dreading more than anything else. I really won’t care all that much if we lose. But if we get thrashed… Oh boy.

3-3 isn’t a nail in the coffin, by any means, but it certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence going into our last 10 games. Especially when that 3rd loss comes against the Bengals.


Seriously. These are still the Bengals. Unless they win a Super Bowl, no one will ever respect them. Ever. A team has to actually have accomplished something in the last 20 years to be hateable. Andy Dalton is the perfect example of what make this team meh. Not great enough to be elite, not bad enough to be laughed at. And as I said, this is a team whose head coach has been around for over a decade with NOTHING to show for it. 

They’ve never won a Super Bowl. Their best quarterback is Boomer Esiason, aka, one of the greatest quarterbacks to not be in the Hall of Fame. Their most memorable players from recent history are Pacman Jones, Akili Smith, and Chad Ocho Cinco. That’s right. The most recognizable player since the early 90’s is most known for legally changing his name to the Spanish numbers of his jersey. You might not like this team, but you really can’t hate them.

But you can hate their chili. That shit is gross.
There are people who eat this and call gay marriage an abomination.

I told you Latavius Murray was a Fugazi! Hope the readers used my DFS lineup again because the Cash streak is up to 5 weeks in a row! Who else is gonna give you Doug Martin when he goes for 30+ points?!? Peep these Diamonds and Fugazi’s for week 6…

Diamond 1 – Sam Bradford. I’m officially the last one off the bandwagon. Philly has started to piece it together and believe it or not they can actually be in 1st place with a win Monday night at home against the Giants. These are the same Giants who are dead last in the league against the pass. Bradford has thrown for over 17 fantasy points and 2+ TD’s in his last two games and I look for that streak to continue – too bad he still has that “nobody’s home” look in his eyes…have you ever seen him next to James Holmes?
310+ Passing Yards, 2+TD’s

Diamond 2 – Duke Johnson. In this RB wasteland with byes, busts, and injures you need to look to receiving backs for a safe floor. Cue Duke Johnson, his 25 targets and increasing role in Cleveland. Pettine has made no secret of the fact that he has no faith in the running game that ranks 28th in the NFL, and McCown threw the ball over 50 times last week! This week the Browns host Denver and I expect a ton of garbage time catches from the Duke. Not sure if he’d throw at his own son at a charity softball game, but the Broncos corners will shut down any threats on the outside so welcome to check-down city!
8 Catches, 80+ Total Yards, TD

Fugazi 1 – Antonio Brown. AB is a beast, there’s no disputing that. But this is an incredible case study to prove that WR stats are tied to QB play. That insane streak over 5 catches and 50+ yards is long gone (as I predicted) and he’s built another one with 2 straight disappointing efforts. The key here is Michael Vick – he just hasn’t been with the team long enough to master the audibles and hand signals they use with Big Ben. Having a QB to “get you in the right play” is huge these days, so without that and with a sad level of inaccuracy instead you need to stay away from Brown until Big Ben comes back to inspire more memes like these. Oh, and this week the Steelers face Arizona and Antonio will see a bunch of Patrick Peterson. He’s a Fugazi!
5 Catches, 62 Yards

Fugazi 2 – Andre Johnson. Don’t be fooled by his “breakout game” last week. That was completely fueled by revenge against his former team with the coaches and scheme trying to get him into the end zone. The Colts O-line is still horrible, and there’s no telling when they’ll get lucky again. (The Russian Police Choir loves that song). Now they face the Pats on Sunday night, and it’ll be New England looking to prove an inflated point. Belichick usually runs the ball down Indy’s throat to control the clock, and I see this playing out no different. Oh, and Andre Johnson still looks like he’s done. Stay away.
3 Catches, 28 Yards


I want to believe the Bills are gonna pull off the upset so much that I've actually talked myself into it. E.J. SHOCKS THE WORLD!

Buffalo 24, Cincinnati 21

I'm so dumb. Go Bills.
<![CDATA["I was partial to tragedy in my youth." - Week 5 - The Titans of Tennessee]]>Sun, 11 Oct 2015 00:58:36 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/week-5-the-titans-of-tennessee
Get it?
The Apologist

Buffalonians have always been a feast or famine fanbase. Either we’re headed for a championship or we’re one of the worst teams in the league. We should trade every spare part we’ve got to get that missing link or tank the season for the next big thing (Oh hey, Jack!). This is what happens when you’ve watched a team fail for most of your life. Not to mention seen the team’s ownership dangle off the precipice once or twice. It’s hard to say wait till next year when you’re not sure if next year will come.

That’s not our situation anymore. The Sabres are staying. The Bills are staying. (Can we please stop with the "Is Terry a good owner?" Who cares. They're staying.) We have a next year and a year after and a year after that… unless Goodell manages to sink the league. That’s a real possibility. Let’s come back to that.

To be fair, it's hard to stay logical after a game like last week's. As the Yachtsman would say, the Bills snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and in horrifyingly sloppy fashion. The offense had two first downs in the entire first half. The defense was flagged for two personal fouls on the same play and were collectively two penalties shy of tying a team record for infractions in the same game. Carpenter hit a 51-yarder, then shanked one from 30. All in all, it was a total mess. But it's still just one game.

The Bills have two wins and two losses. The victories have looked like what you’d expect from a playoff team: dominant defense, explosive offense, tight special teams. And the defeats have featured all the tell-tale signs of a pretender in contender’s clothing: brain farts on defense, an offense that can’t stay on the field, and sloppy play from all involved. It’s the kind of inconsistency that’s not really all that shocking for a team that had a complete overhaul of their coaching staff and ownership group over the past year. So which team will show up this weekend in Nashville?

1) Tyrod Taylor
Doug Whaley took a lot of flack for his “quarterback purgatory” comments in the offseason. His choice of words was probably poor, but his logic was sound. The Bills might not be a playoff team, but they won’t be bad enough to get a top draft pick. And after watching Taylor’s performance through four games, I’m not sure we need one.

He’s accurate. He’s composed. He’s mobile. Basically, he’s everything we could’ve hoped for. Could he fall apart? Sure he could. But there’s a couple reasons I believe he won’t. First off, the Bills seem completely behind him. You don’t send your veteran backup to Dallas if you’re unsure of the guy lining up under center. Second, this isn’t a rookie, it’s a four-year veteran with a Super Bowl ring. He might not have contributed much to that effort, but he’s seen what it took to get there. Guys in the huddle have to respect that fact. I might be wrong, but so far he’s completed over 70% of his passes with more touchdowns than turnovers in his first four games as a starting quarterback. And every time he tries to pick up yards with his legs, his eyes stay downfield till he crosses the line of scrimmage

Is he gonna enter the conversation of best quarterbacks in the league? Maybe not. But that’s not what we need right now. What we need is the defense we payed for.

2) Sacks? Please!?!

The Bills have 7 sacks through the first four games. This is not what the Bills had in mind when they locked up Dareus and Hughes for almost $150 million. But in the three of the team's first four games they faced quarterbacks who understood exactly what they were up against and got rid of the ball quickly. That won't be the case this Sunday against Marcus Mariota. Does he look like the real deal? Sure. Has he ever seen a defense like the one he's facing Sunday? Absolutely not.

And the defense has to be hungry. How could they not be? If they're as angry as all those flags would lead you to believe, you'd think that would translate to hits on the quarterback at some point. If there's one focal point to keep your eye on tomorrow, it's Mario Williams versus rookie tackle Jeremiah Poutasi. Please, Mario. Please turn him into a turnstile.

Alright, this is a bit of a stretch considering he's rumored to be struggling with a calf injury and they brought in two backs to compete with him for touches. But how can you not root for this guy? He's made his way through a life of turmoil and come out the other side smiling ear to ear. He hits a hole as hard as anyone I've ever seen. He keeps the locker room fired up. The fans love him and he loves them. Personally, I hope Greg Roman designs an offense that gets him 100+ yards and 3 touchdowns.


1) Injuries

Obviously the reason Boobie has a chance to shine this weekend is that not one, but two guys ahead of him haven't made it through the first four games healthy. LeSean might not be back until after the bye week and Karlos Williams is out with a concussion. Add in a less than 100 Sammy Watkins, Charles Clay, Aaron Williams, Baccari Rambo, John Miller, Cordy Glenn... Do I need to keep going?

Whaley has proven numerous times that he's stocked the team with an impressive amount of depth. But there's only so many injuries a team can weather. The defense will probably be ok, but the pressure on Tyrod Taylor will be amplified if the running game can't generate anything on the ground. It could be a good test for him. Or it could be Reason #1 why we lost.

2) Flags
Ok, I'll be real now. What the fuck is with all the flags? Seriously. I've watched an absurd amount of football in my life, but never have I ever seen a team get three flags on an onside kick. That happened in Week 2 against the New England Patriots. A game that broke the record for penalties between the two teams. And of course, as I mentioned earlier, the Bills were two flags away from tying a team high in penalties against the Giants. Even a great team can't afford to just hand the other team free yardage every other series. Not to mention, the more the Bills keep this up, the tighter officiating crews are going to call their games. I hate stupid calls as much as the next guy. The holding call that negated Taylor's 30-yard touchdown run was infuriating. But if you're labeled as a dirty team, like I don't know, the kind that gets a chop block call on a meaningless drive at the end of the game, then you're going to see even more ticky-tack calls like that. I understand trying to push the limits when you're facing a playoff-caliber team, but the Bills don't need to do that to beat the Titans. So please don't, Bills. Please.

3) The Kicking Game

Holy shit, we just signed Billy Cundiff.
That's not a miss. That's an embarrassment. A shank like that should be followed by a drug test. When you type Billy Cundiff's name into Google, the third recommendation that pops up is "miss." That's the guy we brought in to compete with Dan Carpenter. This game could easily come down to a late kick and... well... that moment will be terrifying.


I used to run this segment back when I consistently did previews. And this seems like as good a team as any to bring it back for. Simply because there are obvious reasons to hate this team...
  • Mike Mularkey is currently a coach there
  • Bud Adams
  • The Music City Miracle... duh.
Every time we have to see a replay of that lateral, Titans fans should be subjected to three replays of Steve Christie's game winner. Or this...
Also, double-fuck Bud Adams and his decaying middle fingers. I'm sure there are people out there who miss him, but that guy will only ever be remembered in Buffalo for one thing. God, I hope we win by 40.



My name is Lil "I am the peeled banana in your fruit bowl of love" Greasico. So, I see that Apalodick has taken over Bills previews because scizzcakes hates Rex Ryan and anyone who is fat. And that's the theme of today's Mexican takedown. 

Fat people.

Or in this case, Gordo hombres who work in the Buffalo media. 

Holy fucking press club food spread. Have you pendejos seen the stomachs on some of these guys? Now I know why some of these clowns are terrible at their job because they are too distracted eating Sabres cookies and trying to shovel as many calories in their mouths. Trying to make deadline? More like trying to expand your waistline you fat fucking twats. Look at some of these fat fucks...
​Yeah... I have another bowl of Pasta Sal Marinara sauce and I dont even have to tell you who is who here.
​If this was a weight watchers commercial between Sucky and Bully, it would be BEFORE and WAYYYYYY BEFORE. Seriously, wear baggy clothes you fat fucks
Someone tell Paulrus Hamilton he needs to chew before he swallows. Wait? This isn't him?
​This is supposed to be Jon Wario and he's posing with a CD to cover up his 6 chins

Bottom line: Stop fucking eating while you are working. You are getting crumbs all over the computers and sweating all over Jack Eichel. Players don't want to see powder sugar on your mouths after games and think you were making out with the Pillsbury dough boy. Yeah, talking to you Farrinton. 

Oh, Bills lose, 63-11.


Vick and Megatron both shit the bed as predicted last week, each in their own spectacular fashion! Hope you and the DGWU fans got a chance to peep me guest hosting Loudmouths on SNY downstate last week – I went 3-1 picking on Live TV! The only problem is picking the Bills to cover -5.5 was my only loss. I’m still riding with you guys and like Boobie Dixon this week if last week’s diamond Karlos Williams is still stuck in the dark, quiet room.

Check out the clips from the show if you want to know what I look like. You’ll be disappointed I’m sure. http://web.sny.tv/media/video.jsp?content_id=514360283&topic_id=21536544&c_id=sny

Enough about me, onto week 5 – the embedded links are the ones to click on if you want to fully enjoy the Fugazi’s and Diamond’s in the rough this week!

Diamond 1 – Christine Michael. It was sad to see Lance Dunbar go down (especially because he was in one of my FanDuel Lineups) but it just might be an opening for Michael. Dallas traded for him for a reason and have slowly started to work him in. Somehow Randle tried to fumble by superman-ing the pile (that term can go so many ways and we know he likes to crank that) for the 2nd straight week and was quasi-benched against the Saints. That might leave only DMc as an obstacle to carries and in a game where the Pats come off a bye and are primed to put up 40+ it might be the right time to give the former Aggie some burn. Michael is talented, has had some good times playing in Texas, and all the previous praise for the Cowboys offensive line still applies.

7-10 Touches, 50+ Total Yards, TD – Not bad for out of nowhere…

Diamond 2 – Phillip Rivers. This just smells like the right spot for Rivers. A crafty veteran with a chance to step up and have a big game on Monday Night against another perennial conference threat in a muddled AFC 2nd tier? That, and would you have guessed that Phillip Rivers LEADS THE NFL IN PASSING YARDS AFTER 4 GAMES? Melvin Gordon hasn’t gotten going which means more Danny Woodhead on the field, which means more short passing which all counts for the man who is has more pride in his faith than even Russell Wilson! Maybe they should talk about the temptations of the flesh together (This really is must-see video)…I can see Gruden now – “You know Mike, I love the way Rivers slings it with that funky delivery, he’s spreading the ball it’s like it’s holy water at a Christening . I call him the Baptiser…”

320+ Passing Yards, 2+TD’s

Fugazi 1 – Latavius Murray. The Raiders went to Roy Helu at the end of last weeks game in Chicago after Murray simply didn’t play well. The pass-catching back’s snaps will continue to increase this week. Latavius draws Denver and their #1 ranked defense giving up only 276 yards/game. I expect Del Rio to think opening it up with David Carr gives them the best chance to win this division matchup, and with two great corners the young QB will say “Helu” for more snaps then the last 4 weeks. Game-flow Genius call here goes against Murray…

<75 Rushing Yards, 1Turnover

Fugazi 2 – Andy Dalton. The Red Rifle has been good so far this year, but this is just about the time he turns the gun on himself. Yes, they’ve had the #2 offense in the league putting up 423 yards/game and Dalton completed 67% of his passes for a 123 QB Rating, but there’s a Seattle team coming to town that despite winning last week somehow has something to prove. The Seahawks have forced opponents to punt on all but one drive since Kam Chancellor has been back, and they see this as a chance to change the narrative about their season. Not the best spot for Dalton, especially since their power running game in the form of Jeremy Hill has only gone over 40 yards once this year back in week 1, and is averaging 33 yards/game over the last 3 weeks. Dalton may be on the phone with his mom (and Obama) after this one…

<250 Passing Yards, 1TD, 2INT’s


We need this win to silence the critics and gain some confidence. I might be foolish, but I'm guessing this is Tyrod's best game of the season and the defense rediscovers their pass rush.

Buffalo 30, Tennessee 17

Congrats on making this far... I've got nothing for you. Tell your friends.
<![CDATA["And It's Been A Long Way, But We're Here" The Outlander's 2015-2016 Sabres Preview]]>Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:53:37 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/and-its-been-a-long-way-but-were-here-the-outlanders-2015-2016-sabres-preview

The Outlander

Last time I wrote here, it was regarding the depressing, soul-sucking death march to 30th place and the hand-wringing, moral crusading, negative nancies and militant pragmatists that came with it. It was by far the least amount of fun I’ve had following this franchise for the last twenty-five years or so, and that’s selling it short; it was not fun at all. There was zero fun outside of the occasional gallows humor that comes with some of the worst hockey players in franchise history hockeying together at once.

Yet I’ll remember April 10th. I went to Orioles opening day with my girlfriend and her friends, a miserable 50 degree day where the Blue Jays crushed the home team - much like they would to clinch the division title less than six months later - before we started barhopping. Shortly before some hardcore browning and blacking out between the two of us respectively, in the last final seconds before my phone died, I refreshed my score app continuously to see the Sabres lose to Columbus. It was glorious. Aside from the guarantee of McEichel, it was such a relief to just be proven right after doubling down on the certainty of 30th the entire season. As any borderline narcissist knows, things like that are victories in themselves.

The Sabres, regardless of the reasons for excitement that I assure you I’ll get to, are in a peculiar position they haven’t found themselves in for some fifteen years: that of afterthought. This is Bills time, and it will continue to be Bills time until that team’s season has either run its course or stomped on our hearts (nice start Sunday btw), forcing us to return in November or December to the team that has been our salve, our dependable solace for more consecutive football seasons than we’d care to address. It is that dependability, that wins help numb the pain of a previous Sunday’s disappointment and even losses (it’s a long season and what do you want, they were dead last two years in a row) help get us through the time in between those Sundays that for now just seem like such an insufferably long time.

I feel for many of us born in a certain window, who came of age in Western New York at a certain time, have felt more connected to the Sabres than the Bills mostly due to results. On my 15th birthday I watched from my Grandparents house as the Sabres took a 3-1 series lead over the Leafs in the Conference Finals. Two nights later my Mom dropped a friend and I off at the old Tops on Young in Tonawanda (now a Big Lots/Subway) just as Game Five started. The store played the game on the PA system and we got to hear RJ’s voice call the comeback victory and trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. To pass the time throughout the night, a large group of fans taught us Euchre, a game I’d play pretty much every lunch period for the rest of high school.

Despite being numbers three and four in line, the antiquated system at Tops was too slow when the tickets went on sale. Didn’t help that the two middle aged guys in front of us bought four tickets to each home game but when it came our turn, my friend got one ticket to Game Three, me one ticket to Game Four. I was dropped off at the foot of Washington Street while my Mom and Grandfather went to Coca Cola Field to watch the game on the scoreboard. I’ve been to many games afterwards and maybe seen better teams, but the noise when Sanderson scored on a breakaway in that game (the only home Cup Final win in forty years) was the loudest I’ve ever heard that arena.

I was hooked. Seven years later I was on the precipice of graduating college and was #blessed enough to have some of the best weeks of my life tied into the most exhilarating run a Buffalo team has given us in a generation. I got to watch Game 1 against Philly in the last row of the arena, where my first hug was not my girlfriend but the stranger who shared his nachos with me (and brought HIS girlfriend). I got to watch the Sabres murder that finesse team day drinking before a house party, I got to watch Game 1 against Ottawa at a Quad Party at Canisius, Game 3 from the Bonaventure Golf Course Clubhouse with over a hundred folks jammed four rows deep behind the bar to squint at the one small TV in the corner. Game 5 was the night before graduation, slip n’ sliding down a hill in the rain afterwards, warming up that chill at a bonfire until 5am with fifty friends who just didn’t want morning to come before my girlfriend told me “Matt you graduate in four hours.”

I listened to the Drury game in a tiny townhouse bedroom at Penn State, Property book open but used only to rest my elbows as I leaned as close to my speakers as I could, hoping for a miracle that, for once, came. I watched the mad rush to the postseason in 2011 in a dive bar in Barre, Vermont and welled up when the Flyers inexplicably played for a tie. And April 10th this year I high-fived people in Baltimore over a loss, the meaning of which they couldn’t understand. But it started long before all this.
PictureEsteemed Author With Grandfather and Original Zubaz, c. 1992
I was raised by my mother and grandparents as the man whose last name I still carry blew town before I could formulate memories. Bills games were a bit too rowdy during this period - my grandfather only took me to one - so we went to Sabres games, usually a couple times a season. We’d take the Metro down, my grandfather would hold my hand, caution me to keep my wallet in my front pocket, and lead me through the labyrinth of tunnels to our seat in the Oranges at The Aud. Usually he’d buy me a puck of the team they played which is good because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to remember. As I got older and the arena changed I remembered more; a 3-1 win against Edmonton the first year it opened, a blowout over Calgary a couple years later, Game 4 in the 2000 playoffs, a Barnes OT winner in the only Sabres victory in that series. We went to Bisons opening day for nearly a decade straight, regardless of whether that fell on a school day or not, and he’d always get me a fresh media guide to leaf through. My mother was a casual fan but my grandfather was an actual fan.

As an only child I was socially stunted, more so because my interests at 5, 6, 7 were the state capitals, presidents, planets; in fourth grade we had to dress up as a historical figure and have the parents guess who we were and I picked Millard Fillmore, which no one could guess until I told them a hospital was named after me (shockingly, my hints about Perry’s trip to Japan weren’t a dead giveaway). I’d go to my Grandparents after school and wait in the window for him to come home from Spaulding Fibre; most weekends we’d go to their cabin in Strykersville, play catch, watch whatever came in on the antenna TV (in the later years of the cabin this was The Practice, which pretty much led me to decide on law school at age 12). He nailed a basketball hoop to the tree in their yard; in 11th grade when I was ejected after grabbing a kid by the back of the jersey as he ran by me and slammed him to the ground, it was him who calmed my mother down by saying that I “shouldn’t take any crap.” He moved me into my dorm junior year at Bonas when my Mom was near death from a burst appendix and he came to my law school graduation in State College, even the BBQ party my friends and I held afterwards.

During my time in Vermont, Maryland and now Pennsylvania, I’d call but not nearly as much as I should. He suffered a near fatal heart attack in 2012 and the doctors said he wouldn’t make it but he did. He went into cardiac arrest at Tops last year and was revived in the Tim Horton’s seating area. But a couple months ago, after another hospital visit no one really thought he’d return home from, he went to pull the garage door down, lost his balance and broke his hip. As it often the case in these instances, from there it’s been a steady and precipitous decline. He can’t speak much, won’t eat or drink and has lost so much weight he’s nearly unrecognizable. My mother, his medical proxy, is in the midst of discussions regarding hospice.

Sports can be corrupt, morally repulsive, bland, whitewashed gibberish about god, Gatorade, the troops and draft kings. It demands investments of time and money yet gives little back and even less in Buffalo. But it gave me those memories with my grandfather and if that means I buy some swag every year and drop money on streaming packages, I come out so far ahead it’s not even close. For all of it, sports can bring great things and I say this because, well, this season marks the start of some great things.

Time to Sports

Tim Murray’s genius lay not simply in assembling a roster of trash and then tinkering to ensure it would finish last - if he was the owner in Major League the Indians wouldn’t have stood a chance - but how he re-calibrated expectations of success from far down the road to pretty damn soon. The genius of trading the moderately talented but sparsely desired dead weight of Stafford and Myers for a talented guy who couldn’t even play last season can’t be quantified. He acquired a goalie who got hurt and couldn’t play and traded the better ones away. He kept us from hair pulling and twitter fights over Grigorenko and Zadorov’s development by shipping them off for a star who is already developed. The “give no fucks” attitude after Darcy’s apprehensiveness and stubbornness is like opening the window to take that first deep breath of spring. I like to picture him knocking a sandwich out of Russ Brandon’s hand in the hallway every day and refusing to call him by anything other than “fuck face.”

I’m excited. Not in the 2012 “WE CAN BUILD ON THIS” excitement or even the 2007 “this better be the year because if not…” way. We no longer live in a world where we have to hope a couple above average guys play great and a couple average guys play above average and the goalie is a Vezina candidate just to crack the playoffs. We just have to wait for the great players to gel with each other and the Superstar to continue growing and hope the average players are average and the goalie is good. This is where it gets fun again, where you don’t need ten beers to convince yourself that they “might not be that bad.” It’s logic and past performances of players that tell us they might not be that bad.

The more I think about it the more I like Bylsma for these guys.  The Bills have their coach who looks like he’s enjoying himself pretty much all the time, maybe the Sabres should have that. I was watching the Ottawa game and one of the TSN announcers remarked “he looks happy all the time,” and I thought “that’s perfect.” Babcock is already screaming himself hoarse and sniping at players in the media and it’s just the preseason. Do we really need him doing the same to kids who are going to need some time to anticipate and adapt to each others tendencies? Do we really want another demanding hardass yammering on about toughness and desire and effort? Because we’ve had twenty years of that with two dudes who won exactly one conference title and I don’t know, man, I’m a little tired of it. Plus the dude’s watch game is spectacular; the amount of swagger in this area between Rex’s truck, Tyrod’s suits, Kane’s unbuttoned dress shirts and Bylsma’s accessories makes all of us weaned on cargo shorts, sports jerseys and north face just a little cooler by proximity.
PictureWhy Yes, That IS a Blackhawks Shirtsy c. May 2015
It’s fun that the media has no narrative naturally placed in front of them to leech off of like the lazy, antagonistic sycophants they are. Sure, you’ll have a “Kane is lazy” hit piece TOTALLY unrelated to his race, perhaps someone pounding their chest during a losing streak about the tank or the tried and true copy and paste stat of McDavid or Babcock or Grigorenko or Myers which is basically the equivalent of taking the beer out of your hand, spitting in it and handing it back to you, and then telling you it was your fault.  Last year was a lesson in timeline whittling on Twitter. The season was shitty enough, why have White, or Wawrow, or Graham polluting your timeline with garbage telling you how to be a fan, or what’s wrong with you, or why you won’t be happy. There’s a bitterness and vitriol there that we don’t need, that the happiness and joy of others is not something that can be tolerated on their watch. They’ll still be out there screaming into the void but the tank is over, they have nothing to contribute, their opinions are not more valid than anyone else’s, even less so when one considers the bitter shit-stirrers they are. If you saw them at a party you would not approach the group they were in, you’d fill your beer up, play beer pong or asshole and forget about the douchebag in the kitchen smoking a clove and saying a little too loudly “drinking games are stupid.”

At its most basic level, the reason for excitement now is simply because it's time. We knew this would be the time since before the mid-point of the 2013-14 season, when I bought tickets for 12 bucks, let them go to waste and was happy about that decision. We knew during the fire sale of Spring 2014 that the 14-15 season would be a lost year unless the organization decided to chase something that would give it purpose. With two superstars up for grabs, it was up to the team to decide if they wanted to go the meathead route, blabber about the integrity of the game, blue-collar efforts, hustle and grit, the ethics of tanking and all the other shit people say when the only things on their bookshelf are Lombardi biographies and the screenplay from "The Junction Boys," OR they could be smarter than that, look at the big picture, the future, and strive for that.

It was brilliant. Hire a well-loved, affable guy from the past whose style has long since been passed by, let him prattle on about effort and compete while all the while ensuring the roster was such a garbage heap they’d never have a chance. If Tim Murray ever had the voice of pride fucking with him, he never let it show for a second. The ranting and ravings of insecure, lesser men who took it upon themselves to turn a brilliant long-term strategy into a referendum on moral fiber was always a joke and to know the Sabres are led by someone that dedicated to improving the team, no matter how silly they look short term, is frankly heartwarming.

And because of that, he’s here. There are entire careers for us to see play out, but I know that today, right now, I have little care for “losing” the draft lottery. I love how he can pass, how he can fly by a defenseman in two strides, his snipe, vision, control, his quotes, his meme-ability, his goofy hair, the things that don’t matter but are nice like hanging out with his teammates, living with Moulson. There are enough good players on the roster that this season won’t be entirely about him but come on it’s at least mostly about him. For a season and a half our fanbase turned into something ugly out of necessity and that is behind us. We can be fans again and not just that but we might have a superstar, we might have gotten what we all deserve for the last two seasons of garbage, for fucking Steve Ott, John Scott, Mike Weber on the top pair, goalies promoted to Buffalo that should have been demoted to Elmira, for ANDERS LINDBACK. Jack Eichel is here and I know from what I’ve seen so far that I haven’t seen anything like him on this team as long as I can remember. I know it’s difficult to even describe since I can’t yet say things like “that goal against [X]” (although the breakaway against Toronto was all the feels) or point to some fancy stats but I just love everything I’m seeing and can’t wait for it to be real.

So where are we at? It’s a weird time - albeit much, much, much better than what we just escaped from. They probably won’t make the playoffs so diving back into the full fan experience - wins good, losses bad - seems like a poor way to take in this season, assuming one is trying to enjoy themselves, but at least we're not rooting for losses anymore. I suppose the best option, unless we are shown otherwise from the team themselves, is that we’ll just have to add some objectivity into our viewing and assessing. I know personally that’s difficult; I still hate that Penn State couldn’t close out their double OT loss to Ohio State last year, subjecting all of America to that repulsive team and I also know I dismissed anyone who said they were “proud” of the effort or offered kind words. It was a loss, losses are shitty and even more so when you’re one stop away from a win. But whatever, in hockey this is easier (though fuck the Hurricanes, Lightning and Kings forever and always), there’s 82 games and I surmise that by Christmas we will have a decent idea that the playoffs aren’t in the cards.

This isn't because I don't think the forwards won't do their job, by the way. I think even as they get acclimated their talent alone will allow them to find each other and put the puck in the net; we've seen that in the preseason, with stretches of mind-numbing tedium punctuated by moments of pure elation. The defense scares me and the goaltending might not even be average, let alone at a level our spoiled asses spent two decades not being grateful for. Risto makes poor decisions only occasionally but it seems when he does there's an odd-man rush coming the other way. Weber is still here, and so the rotting corpse of Colaiacovo who is only 16 months older than me but whatever. As for the goaltending, concussions are an absolute motherfucker and I know I never want another one so hopefully Lehner 1) avoids any knees to the head and 2) gets right and confident in the net. For a big dude he's left spots exposed on numerous occasions and not to be a Wawrow but the Leafs are garbage so we can't just look to that shutout as a predicate of what's to come. But his mask is straight *fire emoji* so I hope only the best from him. As for whatever a Chad Johnson is, I might have watched him play against the Sabres but he might as well be fictional. Like compassionate conservatism. 

So let’s enjoy the many fruits of our labors of suffering. Let’s watch what Ennis can do with true top-line players alongside him. Let’s see that power play when Kane and Eichel are both out there, let’s see Eichel all the time, no matter what he’s doing - learning the tendencies of his teammates, springing a breakout, going into that fourth gear to get around a guy toward the net. Let’s see if O’Reilly can anchor the top line to let Eichel grow and eat on the second line for a while. Let’s watch some abominable goaltending and look back wistfully at jokes about “Ryan Miller Shutouts” and say things like “that’s too bad because I really like his mask.” Let’s get drunk at Liberty Hound before and Iron Works after. These aren’t moral victories, they’re growth. We’ll get to have the excitement of watching the team - the men and boys that will put an end to the region’s title drought someday - start to come into their own. We’ll get to hear the arena be loud again and games against rivals feel like rivalries again. Mike Weber’s shittiness will be back to its rightful place as a detriment to what the team is trying to do. Unlike the many years where we drifted back to the Sabres only as the Bills descended into the abyss, the Sabres will be here to jerk you back to attention.

For the record, I'm picking 10th place in the East, 5th in the Atlantic but whatever, the darkest days are behind us.

Let the fun begin.

<![CDATA[Scizz died but set up emails to forward to his lawyer, so while I go through Ashley Madison notifications, and cease and desist letters from T. Swift (that Shake It Off cover was dope, though), here are your Week 4 Fantasy Football Diamonds & Fughazis]]>Sun, 04 Oct 2015 13:54:46 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/your-diamonds-fughazis-for-the-week
The Barrister

The title says everything you need to know. Rest well, little bird. Maybe Apologist can swing you whatever he uses for his unholy resurrections ... motherfucker has died a couple dozen times at this point. Coming back from the dead is to Sammy as having an apartment smelling roughly of marinara and lube is to Joe Buffalo Wins.

I'm not going to bother previewing this shit - you're not gonna read it, I have awful soccer to be watching, a 3 year old's birthday to go to in about an hour, and it's not my fucking job, man. Scizz is dead and I'm in mourning and all I can really muster is a promise to continue eating cheese curds and salami sticks for the next sixty hours. 

That said, we still have hordes of fantasy football-playing jamokes out there that need some advice, and I'd feel bad not passing this along. Also, Dane co-hosted Loudmouths on SNY last Friday, which is amazing, so everyone should find that shit online and watch.

Fantasy Football Diamond in the rough and Fugazi of the week:

In a new feature for the previews, Scizz's buddy Dane aka Speedz Keyno (check his great podcast here, and twitter here) will feature some fantasy football takes, well, let's have him explain:

Diamonds in the Rough are guys who have warts and may not be expected to produce all season, but who have a favorable matchup or gameflow this week... Sometimes ya got to dig for it!

Fugazis? What's a fugazi? It looks nice and shiny - like something you want to spend some money on... But it's a fake, a fraud. You buy that, you're a real dunceski.

Hey Scizz – So Terrance Williams proved to be a SUPER Fugazi but hopefully the DGWU readers are checking our twitter page for the DFS lineups and getting paid! There’s more heat coming in our week 4 podcast – now’s the time when you can really make some moves to help win your league! I think Bills fans will be happy with at least one of my calls this week…On to week 4.
Diamond 1 – Karlos Williams. Let’s Go Buffalo! Karlos is the only RB in the entire league with a TD each of the first 3 weeks and it’s gonna continue against a Giants team that can’t even stop Arts and Crafty Tono Romo (those “Crownies” look good though). He looked great getting 12 carries for 110 against Miami, and I heard somewhere that Rex has a running big playbook. With Watkins banged up and early reports saying Shady may rest against the Giants this week, this is the place to go to win that DFS money! The G-Men are giving up 411 yards/game (good for 31st in the league), and ironically enough are gonna be focused on limiting Tyrod. Book it!
15+ Touches, 130+ Total Yards, TD
Diamond 2 – Melvin Gordon – The Chargers just haven’t shown up in their last 2 road games, but it’ll be a different story back at home against the Browns this Sunday. Gordon has looked good on a few long runs, had another called back on a penalty and is ready to break out. Danny Woodhead’s touches have gone down each week since the opener, and in a game where I expect San Diego to be ahead in the 2nd half Gordon will take advantage of a Cleveland run defense that is dead last in the league giving up 159 yards/game and 5.01 yards/carry. The badger fans will be proud and jumping around like it’s the 4th quarter at Camp Randall.
21 Carries, 142 Yards, TD
Fugazi 1 – Michael Vick – This is not the Michael Vick you fell in love with playing Madden back in the day. This is not the Michael Vick who once went into Lambeau and beat the Pack in sub-40 degree temperatures. This isn’t even the Vick that had a great stretch with Philly a few years back. This is a Michael Vick who didn’t have a job in late August, admitted that he didn’t prepare as a backup with the Jets, and had a QB Rating of 68.3 with more turnovers than touchdowns in 10 games last year. Now he dives into one of the NFL’s fiercest rivalries against a desperate Ravens team on a short week?!? The Ravens defense will attack like a fighting dog, Antonio Brown’s streak is officially in Jeopardy, and they’ll all be LeVeon a Prayer this week.
<250 Passing Yards, <30 Rushing Yards, 1TD, 3 Turnovers
Fugazi 2 – Megatron – This one is pretty simple. The Lions O-Line can barely keep Stafford upright. That means he’s getting the ball out quicker to guys like Golden Tate, Ameer Abdullah, and even Eric Ebron. Calvin has only been targeted deeper than 15 yards THREE TIMES ALL SEASON! The days of Stafford just chucking it up and letting Megatron make a play seem to be over under Joe Lombardi, and add to that he’ll be the focus of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and the LOB in Seattle on a Monday night…This won’t end well and Jon Gruden will tell you about it!
<7 Catches, <80 Yards
That's all for today. 

​Bills 37, Giants 14. 
<![CDATA["I'm the warrior chief. I'm the merciless god of anything that stirs in my universe. You fuck with me, and you will suffer my wrath." - A Week 3 Recap - Bills at Dolphins]]>Mon, 28 Sep 2015 04:53:27 GMThttp://www.deargodwhyussports.com/blog/a-week-3-recap-bills-at-dolphins
John Shale, Bills backup fullback and munitions expert
The Barrister

UPDATE: We recorded a carcast en route to the bar to watch the game and Scizz just sent me the audio file from his phone so here it is! Bonus points for listeners who can decipher what's playing on my car radio at any given moment.
That was a fucking splendid afternoon of Buffalo Bills football we got yesterday. Unfuckingreal.

With a season as short as that of the NFL, generally a full week between games, every outing becomes a narrative-guiding metric even if we know it shouldn’t be. We should be able to relax and remain patient while we wait for a more reasonable sample size to come in for evaluation; we should be able to wait to see just how successful our particular squad is and, perhaps even more crucially, how good or awful the opponent really is, before putting much stock into any one week’s result. The Week 1 win against the Colts seems a little less impressive given how poor they’ve looked since; last week’s loss to the Patriots looks a little more forgivable now that we’ve seen another week wherein they dismantled their opposition (albeit to the most dismantle-able team in the league); and now yesterday’s win, well, it is both heartening and devoid of meaning given how good the Bills looked and how bad the Dolphins have been in their three games. 

So, what to make of it? The sample size went up a game, the Rex Ryan-led Bills showed us something new by bouncing back from a brutal day and parlaying their fourth quarter would-be heroics into a massively dominant afternoon against a division rival, and the Dolphins are a dog shit football team that most halfway decent teams should be able to beat. So the Bills are at least halfway decent. Maybe even pretty good since they won by thirty. Maybe stacked with enough talent both on the field and on the sidelines that they can make a true run at a Wild Card. Predictions are dumb in this sport, we’re still talking about less than a quarter of the season in terms of available data, and I’m most certainly wrong due to any combination of the following factors:
  1. Any predictions are entirely unable to account for the dumbfuckery of the NFL and its dumbfuck rules and the dumbfuck officials that enforce the aforementioned dumbfuck rules in a way that makes me wonder about the meaning of life and my impending death;
  2. #becauseitsbuffalo we will revert to the mean of sadness in substantial measure;
  3. The Patriots are developing a plan to thieve the DNA of Buffalo’s skill players and replace it with the genetic code of the morning show guys on WEEI;
  4. Tim Graham is bound to snap and murder me or someone I love someday, which is I suppose only sad for me, but fuck you for bringing that up;
  5. Paul Hamilton is going to give the team swine flu;
  6. The GOP’s insistence on banning stem cell research has stymied UB’s research into curing the Losing Disease, sucks to be us; or
  7. Carl Paladino is Buffalo’s version of Adrian Veidt (Watchmen references two weeks in a row, deal with it, chump ass motherfuckers), which means he is (a) creepy as hell with an ugly face, (b) a fucking idiot, and (c) going to send a massive [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS) to [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS] us all.  
But seriously, it looks like they’re going to be a good football team and bring us all the happiness we’ve so desperately craved because life always works out and I'm sleep-deprived and a little baked out so really I'm bound to believe anything right now. There's no way (read: every way) this can end badly!
Onto the recap!

  1. Greg Roman​.​ This crazy motherfucker called a hilarious game of football right from the first TYGOD snap. First drive? Throw five times in a row. That is a thing I always think the Bills should do until the one time they do it and it doesn’t work because Nathaniel Hackett is calling the plays and he is an irrefutable moron with the Midas touch except, instead of gold, contact with his skin creates a cocktail of unicorn tears and the anxiety of unemployed bald men. That aside, the plan worked yesterday, in part, because the calls – while catching the Dolphins a little bit by surprise given the success of the Bills’ running game last week and the documented propensities of Rex Ryan as a run-first coach – still involved plays with a high probability of success; those three throws to Charles Clay in particular. The early play calls gave Taylor the opportunity to find some easy rhythm, let Clay make his statement against his former club immediately, and set the Bills offensive line up for a good day of run blocking by forcing the Dolphins to respect the pass. Right away, second drive, Roman went back to the run, got a first down, and suddenly the deep ball opens up with Taylor finding Sammy for 39 yards (dropping that shit on a DIME, holy shit). If we’re being honest, and not defeatist Bills fans, the game was basically over after those first two drives – Taylor had already passed for 138 yards (!!), two TDs (!!), and Miami had no. fucking. answer. A fourteen point lead after the first quarter with this Bills defense should be enough most weeks.  ... Also, Percy Harvin? Percy Harvin.
  2. Defensive Efforts with Missing Pieces. I was tempted to just give Jerry Hughes this entire bullet point – he was a MONSTER yesterday, all over the field, making play after play, each moment another dagger through the hearts of Colts fans who wish they could have Hughes back – but it’s fair to say that the entire defense picked up some massive slack in the face of concerns about their depth in the secondary. As always, it starts with the front four – a unit that had only two sacks, but would have had many more had the Dolphins not held Mario Williams on virtually every play – but the play from Corey Graham as he assumed a more important role at safety was much-needed and the guy delivered by leading the team in tackles. Really, there was so much quality, you can just pick a guy and rave for a few minutes about how much fun it was to watch him play.
  3. That +3 turnover ratio. This is equal parts indictment of how awful Ryan Tannehill is and affitmation of how great Tyrod played, but LOLOLOLOLOL fuck you, Miami. Omar Kelly, resident mountain troll and Gilmore Girls devotee, tweeted that this was Ry-Ry’s 9th worst game in the NFL. Three picks. One fumble (not recovered, sadly). A 53% completion rating and horrendously low 59.7 rating. How is it possible that he’s had eight games that were worse than that and remains employed? Yikes. I guess the dude is an awful football player, and I am not going to argue. On the other side, Taylor reverted back to his accurate, mistake-free self, and it was glorious. Nothing will ever go wrong again and I will see you all at the Super Bowl parade next February and every year thereafter.​
  1. Wendy’s forgetting one of my three value meal burgers and me not noticing it until I was ten miles away. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something about my relationship with fast food; I am surely not hearing it. Harrison, New Jersey, you may be the home of my Red Bulls, but you are dead to me. 
  2. Grocery shopping. It pulled me away from the game and all the bro hugs a man could ever desire before the final whistle. Combined with the fact that I drove to Earl’s Beer and Cheese – public transportation to the Upper East Side from Essex County, NJ, on a Sunday afternoon is basically AIDS – my duties as husband and father made for a slightly sad, more sober departure than I would have preferred, though not all was lost since, you know, my wife is gorgeous and my son is a goddamned genius.
  3. More injuries. Injuries are dumb and we are dumb for liking such a dangerous sport. 

Beer of the Week:

Scizz gets a cocktail, I get a calorie-filled brew.  He's a skinny dude who doesn't have any kids, I'm a fat dad who doesn't get enough sleep and is fragile around hard liquor. This week:
We drank a lot of this yesterday. It is delicious and everyone from Buffalo should purchase a lot of it in support of dear friends (of mine), even though it’s from the dumb state of Michigan which, as I learned yesterday, is overflowing with yokels. 

Barrister’s Graphic Novel Reading List:

In the spirit of Scizz's burgeoning preview and its myriad subsections, I'm branching out, too. Our public library carries a bunch of rad graphic novels and after re-reading my first entry into this series of recommendations, I am determined to re-acquaint myself with the genre I've barely touched since college. This should help motivate me. 

​This week's recommendation:

​I read this book for the first time sophomore year at Hobart upon the spirited recommendations of friends who are smarter than me when it comes to comics. This book is fucking gnarly. Conceptually, the tale of a preacher that gets possessed by a demon called Genesis, and thereafter starts killing basically everyone, is very funny to me as the son of an Episcopal priest. And also as the son-in-law of a different Episcopal priest. Cheers to my dads' respective and mutual resistance to retirement and my ongoing, persistent hope that one or both of them plays host to a demon and lays waste to coffee hour. More cookies for me. 

I never read any of the books in the series after the first, which is a mistake I intend on remedying before the television adaptation comes out next year and makes me furious and/or turned on by violence. We shall see.

Barrister's Fuck! this Isn't a Picture Book! Reading List:
I borrowed this from Joey Cannoli, the purveyor of Buffalo Wins dot com, a site as overflowing with reasonable takes and smart writers as it is screaming out for a good editor. I borrowed it about two years ago and it’s been sitting on my coffee table, finished, for about 10 months. I am a good friend.

This book is so fucking great, an obvious symptom of the 1986 Metropolitans being a hilarious and exciting part of baseball history. As much as I knew about the lore of the team I adopted back in 2005, Jeff Pearlman brought the mythology alive with direct, compelling prose, always focused on the context of his subject matter – a would-be dynasty that ultimately became a one-hit wonder, broken apart by the hubris of management and the decline of players battling intense addiction. A story of the what-could-have-been, I’m probably going to take it for another spin as I revel in the Mets’ return to the playoffs. Hopefully the run lasts long enough for me to get to the stories about Straw and Doc doing blow on the team jet. 

Music to Keep You Hype After a Bills Win:

This song is fire. I’ve used it in a podcast recently, but you assholes don’t listen to our podcasts. Fuck, you aren’t even reading this right now. Nothing more perfect for swimming in the joy of a win that reminds us of the early 90s, with a new spin. Word painting! Hitting you over the head with imagery! Norwegians!

Follow me on Twitter @theycallmedubs and compliment my beard.