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.
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:
- 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;
- #becauseitsbuffalo we will revert to the mean of sadness in substantial measure;
- 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;
- 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;
- Paul Hamilton is going to give the team swine flu;
- The GOP’s insistence on banning stem cell research has stymied UB’s research into curing the Losing Disease, sucks to be us; or
- 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.
Onto the recap!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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 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:
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!