In some ways, this blog and others like it are as simple as a negative proof of the product we've all set out to digest on a daily weekly annual basis. Where the Bills sell hope and change like they're running for something other than Regional Fuckboi, this space sells despair. There's a surplus and we'd like to unload it off our books, I figure, and it's a goddamn bargain for those interested in investing in distressed emotional debt.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention, while we're still processing my brutal metaphors, that my mission here is to write about our Bills in spite of myself and in spite of our Bills, that my brain is mush and can't possibly be asked to form coherent takes, and that here, by the grace of God go I, is where I am basically because Apologist said "hey write that recap" while we parted at a lonely midtown street corner some time ago.
Fuck the Bills and Love the Bills, alas and so on and so forth.
If time is a flat circle, as some claim it is, we're blessed to experience this kind of Bills team only once but also infinity times, so it's an open question whether that 3 point loss in Miami should be eminently shrug-off-able as 'just a thing that happened' or emotionally paralyzing as 'the thing that just happens every fuck-all time.' We're somewhere in the middle, most of us, and it's frankly just as dark a corner of cerebral sub-consciousness as sports can get. The cruelty of belief is that it's is a massively marketable phenomenon to attach to any given team, and many of us have been all-too-willing to hitch ourselves to the hope cultivated and farmed for the benefit of our preferred clubs, irrationality be fucked.
The cruelty of belief is that it is equal parts goodness and elusiveness, the treasure at the end of the rainbow, sight unseen.
Depending on where you fall on the spectrum of Billschausen syndrome, you either got all in with this team recently (Hi!) or were on the precipice (or you billieve unconditionally, in which case why are you here?), and depending on where you fall, you're either out now, huffing and puffing about the uselessness of it all, or at the very least have a foot in the door open while you consider things like whether you left the oven on and, if so, whether it might be more useful to stick your head right up in it on Sundays because why let this team suck the life out of you when you're fully capable of killing yourself all on your own.
In the same way that people are drawn to comments sections and cable news out of morbid curiosity at the train wreck humans involved, being a fan of this team is very much about the allure of something so earth-shatteringly shitty that you sort of need to crane your head to look. Besides, there's virtue in learning to repackage the experience of watching a terrible football team into a fun exercise in schadenfreude and moral superiority. So long as the team is going to trip over its own putrid tendencies towards failure, we may as well alight our hearts with ideas that we deserve better and that we have answers that would fix what ails our Bills, if only if only if only. So long as this team is going to struggle through another fall as if it's the harvest and they're farming melancholy, we may as well pull out a dictaphone and assemble a cacophony of sarcasm and derision as tribute to the Wagon-Circling Buffalo Bills, the only team that would consider it a badge of pride that they left home without a map, keep taking the wrong trail and have yet again stumbled upon some band of horsemen or patriots or birds or marine mammals or whatnot, thereby necessitating wagon circling from the get.
tl;dr: When you live in Chump City, it's no consolation that you've been elected mayor.
Don't get me wrong: I'm *still* hopeful, and therein lies the annoying and inestimable rub. All they gotta do is win this weekend and they'll show us they really are the team we hope them hahahahahahahahaha hahahaha.
Fuck it. Let's do the damn thing, I guess.
Under the of-discussed Dubs Doctrine, just named, the Bills are not a team that can throw the ball more than run the ball and expect to win. The QB quality has simply not been there at any point during the playoff drought, and our willingness to view one-off worldies from the average-or-worse quarterbacks playing for us as the rule rather than the exception has been the most consistent way this team has failed. Sunday? 28 pass attempts, 24 rush attempts, Bills loss. Big surprise.
If you're wondering, dating back to the beginning of last season, when the Bills rush the ball more than they pass, they are 10-2; when they pass more, they're 2-9. Yes, this is skewed by playing from behind to some extent, I'm sure, but EJ Manuel threw FORTY TWO FUCKING TIMES in his two starts last season; about half of those throws against the Bengals came when the Bills were within one score, and by the time EJ threw his second pick against the Jags (it was only the second quarter), he'd thrown 14 passes, was sacked once and the Bills had only run the ball seven times. After that second pick, you may remember, the Bills were down 27-3 against the worst team in football for always.
Situational coaching is not skewing the stats that much.
2. Tyrod's play. All that said, Tyrod just wasn't good enough, and his errors are ones we see every week, basically, even during wins. He misses open receivers CONSTANTLY, and because he's a guy that lacks the skill set to put the ball into tight windows on a regular basis, his inability to see the open man kills the offense's potential. On weeks he can get out of the pocket reliably, he can make up for this glaring weakness in his game with his feet, and all is (essentially) forgiven. On weeks that the opponent figures out ways to keep him in the pocket, like Sunday, this weakness is not offset in any discernible way. Sure, he was fire at times - his pass to Goodwin for the TD was dope, and he avoided throwing interceptions (one of his best qualities, imo) - but when it's not working for him on the ground, he's going to look a really flawed QB. On days when it's not working for him on the ground and the team abandons the run game generally, relying instead on his inconsistent arm, the Bills lose. Why is this so complicated?
3. Hitting a snag in the streak of great sports weekends. It's no secret to people that know me or follow me on Twitter that the Bills are, depending on the year, my 3rd or 4th favorite team during the fall. Football is probably my least favorite sport, mind you, so it's a testament to my lasting devotion to them that they even crack the top five.
The last few weekends of sports have been REALLY enjoyable, what with the Bills winning four straight, Liverpool remaining undefeated since late August, and the Red Bulls not having lost since fucking JULY 3RD - 9-7-0 over that run, by the way. With the Sabres providing no real semblance of promise at the moment, the Bills game really took the wind out of my sails. That said, Red Bulls' first playoff game is in 11 days, and Liverpool just beat Tottenham in the League Cup Round of 16, so I'm not cutting quite yet. There's a lot to look forward to.
Honorable mention: Jarvis Landry and the NFL paradigm of player safety. It's Wednesday and the penalty for targeting AJ's head remains at 15 yards. No fine. No suspension. Seems fair. Because it's a "football move," whatever the fuck that means.
1. Colton Schmidt. Punting is winning.
2. Aaron Williams seems to be ok. Shady looks like he may play Sunday, too. We'll see.
3. Football season is only 16 games. This will all be over soon.
Honorable Mentions: Obama's mean tweets video, Black Jeopardy, the new Jimmy Eat World album, watching Chance the Rapper interviews.
Barrister's Reading List:
"Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry . . . Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented."
TELEVISION TO LAY YOUR EYES ON: