Alright, bear with me meow.
We all know what's coming this weekend. Tom Brady and the Patriots are coming to Buffalo. The Bills are an awful 3-5 team and the Patriots are making their usual surge towards the playoffs at 5-3. Brady has his full repertoire in lock-step, while the Bills' defense are banking on breakout performances from… Merriman & McKelvin?
This could get real ugly, folks. In Week 4, we were at least a team with some semblance of hope and confidence. Now, we're the same ol' sulking Bills. If they didn't have the confidence to hang onto a 14 point lead at home 6 weeks ago, how can we have any confidence now in New England?
I don't like being a cynical Bills fan, but it'd be foolhardy not to have doubt at this point. I'm all for optimism. It's how I became the Apologist. But if you're still optimistic about this season, you've crossed the line from disproportionate hope to blind faith. So what's left but to have fun?
Alright, so I'm stretching the season's theme a bit here, but seriously folks, enjoy yourselves. Go ahead and watch the game, but please, focus on your friends or pay more attention to other games that actually matter, if you have that luxury. (Yes, this game does not matter. Said it.) Or God forbid, if someone offers you something better to do, aka anything that doesn't leave you hammered and boiling with rage, please do it. Trust me, you'll thank me later.
I let go a long time ago and it feels great. I remember it began with the first play I witnessed this season. I had been on the road for the Jets game, but I was back in Buffalo to see the home opener of the most hopeful season in years. The Bills had the ball directly in front of my seats. Fitz faked a handoff to Spiller, then rolled to his right with Chandler wide open 8 yards down the field. Fitz threw the ball at his feet.
I saw that and my faith in the Bearded One took a tumble. I tried to keep my hope alive, but letting go only got easier after I watched the fourth unanswered touchdown against the Patriots two weeks later. By last weekend, I walked into the bar basically expecting to see a loss. And I wasn't upset.
Does this make me a bad fan? I still root for them. I follow them religiously. It's just the caring part I've given up on for a little while. I still care about the symbol, but the guys putting on the caps and uniforms eeeeehhhhhhh, not so much. Is that so bad?
It's hard to analyze this team anymore, particularly after I just admitted I've given up on them. Still, for the good of the Deeg, I have no choice but to find the nearest phone booth and put on my Captain Obvious garb.
1. The running game HAS to be revived this week to have any hope of even making this game watchable. Bill Belichick knows what we want to do on offense. And he's proven he can shut down our passing game. But no team has shown much ability to stop our running attack. The only threat to Spiller & Jackson's success is Chan's play calling.
After 9 weeks, I don't know how we could possibly still be talking about this. It's blatantly obvious to everyone except Gailey. Your running backs and linemen are great. Your quarterback and receivers aren't. RUN. THE. BALL.
2. The other man who has to snap out of it if there's to be any hope at all is obviously Ryan Fitzpatrick. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had this season with fellow fans that contained some form of the phrase, "Fitz was always spotty, but he was never THIS bad." I think we all know that a large part of Fitz's problem is in his head. Whether it's the losses, the contract, or the QB coach is irrelevant. Those timing routes to the outside edge used to be his bread and butter. Now it seems no pass is safe when Ryan drops back. The only time he seems the least bit lucid is when a guy is wide open over the middle or he's on the move. Yes, he had a terrible fumble last week, but he hasn't protected the ball well through the air either. But if the Bills can establish the run, then start mixing in play-action passes that allow Fitz's targets more room and gives him the option to run, maybe he can start getting a little confidence back.
Or we can just keep dropping back with 5-wide and see if teams unfigure out how to stop that unsuccessful offensive strategy. Your call, Chan.
3. Our defense blows. Tom Brady is gonna throw for 400+ and 6 touchdowns. The end.
Playlist Additions To Fire You Up
Who Gon Stop Me by Kanye West & Jay-Z. When I first heard this album I hated it. But a few weeks ago, I gave it another shot. Now I can't get it out of my head. Lyrically they've both done better, but Kanye's beats are incredible. And this one is no exception. I picture Obama asking everyone to give him a few minutes alone in the Oval Office and then cranking this up to 11.
Kickstart My Heart by Mötley Crüe. I'm sorry. This song is just great excess. You might be walking over to your friend's apartment to watch football and cry into your beer for 3 hours, but in your head, you're tearing down the highway in a convertible with a beautiful blonde dancing in the passenger seat. (Or your significant other. Which is what all my friends in relationships do when they're fantasizing. We discuss these things.)
Animal by Pearl Jam. If this song doesn't get you at least a little bit fired up, well, I think you're reading the wrong blog. Maybe not. But probably.
Random Buffalo Bill of the Week
Given our current coaching staff's inability to understand what is and isn't working, I couldn't help but think of Carwell Gardner.
Now, don't get me wrong. He could've been an excellent teammate. He might be a great guy. But my mind is littered with memories of 3rd downs where the Bills only needed 1 or 2 yards and looked to Carwell to get it. Nevermind that a future Hall of Famer was on the sidelines, this is a good situation to give it to Gardner. And time after time, Carwell would lower his head, drive into the pile… and get nothing. Did this ever stop the Bills from from trying it again? Of course not.
Best Twitter Account
@kylekinane - Like I said, I'm trying to promote having fun this week and the Bills/Pats doesn't appear to be much fun, so instead, why don't you go ahead and follow a really funny comedian and maybe check out his album? You'll be glad you did.
@realDonaldTrump - I'm staying away from football again with this one, but he really earned it over the last couple weeks. I almost just put any conservative celebrity, because they've all been bemoaning the coming Rapture, but Donald seemed like the best target. After trying to extort information from the President last week, he's spent the last 3 days railing against the great tragedy that is the democratic process. (Remember kids, democracy only works if your guy wins.) Just troll his timeline for a while if you want a good laugh and/or rage storm. He's like the Jose Canseco of the business world. For more on this bonehead, here's Stephen Colbert.
Top Stat Line of the Week: Eric Wood, 2 pancakes, 1 fumble recovery
Small victories. This is what it's come to, folks. Tell me I'm wrong.
Garbage Pail State Line of the Week: Leodis McKelvin, 1 INT, 2 pass deflections, 5 tackles
At a glance, it seems as though I've gotten my stats mixed up, but hear me out. Tom Brady is about to carve us up. They're averaging something like 48 points against us in their last three meetings. And there's no doubt he and Belichick are planning on going after McKelvin all day long, because overall, Brady's going to be successful. But the law of averages dictates that Leodis will get his hands on the ball a few times and my last drop of optimism tells me he might even hang onto one. Still it's hard to imagine anyone from the Bills' defense will be gloating Sunday night.
Potential Patriot Injuries
Stevan Ridley: Loneliness
Bill Belichick: Lockjaw
Jerod Mayo: Salmonella
Ryan Mallet: Bench Sores
Potential Bills Injuries
Ryan Fitzpatrick: PTSD
Stevie Johnson: Frown Wrinkles
Shawne Merriman: Wind Turbine Syndrome
Any Offensive Lineman: Anything that can go wrong
Drunkest Member of the Deeg
The bad season, plus a much worse storm, has made getting together for games far more difficult for Yachts, Scizz, Barrister and I. I know some will be traveling and others have plans, so this weekend there's a chance none of us will be drinking the pain away. So it's gotta come down to the newest members to the clan, the Outlander and the Continental.
My gut tells me this one could go right down to the wire. Of course, my gut has no clue what either of them has planned. So I'll just throw a dart at the board and say, the Continental wins it.
Is it obvious I don't know what I'm doing? Sweet. Let's wrap this up.
Patriots 42, Bills 13.
I hate these games. Go have fun, people. I command you.