I'm not sure if this is going to be easier or harder to writer than last week's Bills/Pats post-mortem, but it's going to be a lot more fun that's for fucking sure.
IS THIS REAL LIFE?? WHAT DID WE JUST WATCH?
Shit was pissing in your pants enjoyable, folks. From the defense to the special teams to the offense finally putting it together, sort of?, to the epic minute-thirty-eight-with-no-timeouts-and-don't-bother-spiking-the-ball-because-EJ-has-this-on-lock-bitches-march-down-the-field, this one was a goddamned JOY.
Sure a critical mass of us started watching the game with an air of disgust and disappointment as the Bills seemed to be pissing a game away. Again. But that's what made it great. The way the team has suddenly convinced us to love them again, not 10 minutes after we loathed them with the fire of a decade plus. Or as Scizz put it after spending more than 80% of the game mumbling about how much he fucking hates this team...
1. EJ Manuel. Obviously. Last week I talked about how he showed enough against the Pats to suggest he might be the guy. Yesterday, he was the guy. NINETY-EIGHT SECONDS. I typically have trouble doing anything in ninety-eight seconds - I'll let your imaginations run wild for that joke, this is a family show - and this beautiful asshole marched down the field and threw a game-winning TD to a guy who makes a habit of dropping game-winning TDs in ninety-eight seconds. /ducks
The entirety of that drive, nervous meatheads at McFadden's surrounded me with "spike the ball!!" "why are you throwing it over the middle?!?" "don't dump it off!!!" and the like, and they were basically right. EJ played that drive as outrageously ambitious as one could imagine, but there he was winning the game like some superhero sent to Buffalo to both win football games and scare the shit out of us with the poised, patient way he defies all the conventional wisdom of how to do it. And then he went and hugged his dad and gave him the game ball for his birthday and FUCK that's awesome.
I could get used to this real easy.
2. MARIO FUCKING WILLIAMS. Franchise record for sacks in a game? Check. Fucks up Cam Newton's universe? Check. Puts pressure on the backfield nearly every play? Check.
I got to work this morning expecting Jerry Sullivan to pick Mario's performance apart, since he was tweeting garbage about Byron Bell to downplay Mario's dominance during the game...
We can only speculate about what guys like Sully were going to write if the Bills had lost, particularly the kind of logical tour de force we would have seen for Sully to somehow make Mario's 4.5 sack performance a bad thing. I suppose he'll have to wait for the subtextual racism and bitching about how another person is spending too much of his own money on one of the Bills' better players until another day.
On the day, Mario was amazing. He broke franchise a record, he made Cam Newton his little bitch and we all had a few hours where we could enjoy this player who we've wanted to adore so much since he signed with our squad.
In the meantime, all of us who doubted Mario should be eating our hats.
3. Leodis McKelvin. I know! I would have put the whole secondary in here, except (a) WHAT THE FUCK AARON WILLIAMS, and (b) Newton overthrew a ton and the Bills sort of got off the hook with his inaccuracy, so I'll just tip my cap to McKelvin for a number of great plays he had. Crucial tipped balls. Good run defense on the outsides. Solid, smart play in special teams. Covered Steve Smith pretty great all game, keeping him to just 52 yards. The Bills corner depth still eagerly awaits the return of Stephon Gilmore, but in the meantime Leodis is playing some pretty good ball. With a couple pretty meh passing attacks coming up on the schedule with Jets and Ravens, and with McKelvin not playing like a bag of dicks, I am not terrified. Which is better than I had expected to be at this point in the season.
I usually try to keep myself to just 3 poorly-constructed bullet points, but...
4. Special Teams. 42 yard FG miss by Carpenter aside, gotta give it up to the special teams units. Carpenter made up for his miss with a massive 55 yarder on his next attempt, and then held it down the rest of the game. More to the point, though, the coverage units were really solid. I'm looking at you, Marcus Easley, you sexy motherfucker.
1. Fucking Penalties. Again with this. Just stop, you dumb assholes. I know I'm supposed to love you today, but my obvious journalistic standards dictate that I mention this and now I'm angry again. Fuck you.
Only upside was the absolute GIFT of a holding call on Kuechly on the last drive. Wooooo-eeee, that was a terrible call. Go Bills.
2. Getting Torched Deep. Sure, Cam Newton never really connected deep because he overthrew a ton of balls, a fair amount of those being the result of line pressure, which is basically supposed to force inaccurate throws, but still. STILL. Other QBs in the league will do it better, so yesterday sits a little uneasy as this team will most likely get beat badly by better passing attacks. Or not. Who even knows anymore.
3. Offensive Playcalling. I thought about putting tight end coverage here because, well, the Bills got dicked on all game by Olsen and the Bills are becoming that team where if you need a good TE for fantasy football you just pickup whoever is playing Buffalo, but Kiko had that beauty of a pick in the first quarter so I can't get on the linebackers. And maybe I shouldn't rail on the play-calling when the winning drive was so gorgeous that I want to get naked with it and fornicate in the worst way, but it was brutal at times. "It's getting better" is basically the only thing I can say. I want more shots deep (perhaps a symptom of Goodwin being out?), I want more creative third down plays, I want some play action on first down. Obviously, this being all about me, the Bills should make all those things happen.
It will get better, I'm sure, as EJ continues to settle and Hackett gets a little bit more confident, but I don't love it at the moment.
Except, of course, that last drive ... and that last play. /gets naked
Yesterday was absurdly fun, though. What it's all about. We were at McFadden's for the game and an awesome #SupportSally fundraiser and the vibe was amazing. Little girl is cute as hell, and the Deeg will continue to do all we can to help her and her family.
As for our now beloved squad, the Bills will be at MetLife next week and The Deeg will be there! Some of us, at least. We'll be tailgating in Lot 26a if you're around - near the NYC Bills Backers tailgate, but not so close that we are forced to drink too many bowling ball shots. On our menu will be some great ribs and steaks and bottles of whiskey and beer pong and a keg and keg perches because we always seek to maintain the class and professionalism of DGWU Sports. So come by, or at least listen to the inevitable tailgate podcast that will hit your ear holes that following week.
Let's go Buffalo.