The off-season, for us Bills fans this 6 month period of depression and angst began the minute the whistle blew in New England on December 29th. And despite numerous failures that have accumulated over the last 14 years, anticipation for the coming season grows with every passing week.
Training camp arrives and everything ramps up. Every player “looks good” even though none of us are there and receivers are running routes against air. The preseason concludes and we finally arrive at week 1 and by that time Bills fans are more nervous than Josh Gordon holding a piss cup. Tailgates are in full swing, the chicken wings are frying and the beers are cold and ready in the cooler. The minutes tick down before the 1 pm kickoff and the tension mounts. Finally the ball is kicked off and within 5 minutes I need more beer. A lot more beer. In the blink of an eye it is 7-0, then 10-0. We can say this about our Bills, they rarely make us wait long for failure.In the past 4 years, the numbers listed below show points scored in the first quarter of game 1:
The 2010 squad was led by Trent Edwards who still can’t throw the ball more than 5 yards so we can give them a break for that year. But the rest of those teams had enough talent to get out of the gate a lot faster than they actually did. This is a team which is consistently shit on by media members throughout the off-season for being bad or being good, but not good enough. They have an extremely loyal fan base that still flocks to the Ralph with visions of the 90’s Bills dancing in their heads. Whether it is the first game or sixteenth game, for them to come out flat with all of that motivation fueling them is simply inexcusable.
Some may point to last year’s opener and dispute my argument. But lets remember, if Da’Norris Searcy doesn’t return a fumble 74 yards to the house we would of likely been staring down a 17-0 hole. At that point Brady would probably already have his makeup on and preparing for his exit. But instead the Pats tried to hand us the game numerous times only to rip it away from us in the end. It was a valiant effort, but ultimately another loss strongly influenced by the inability to come back from an early hole.
That leads me to my final point. This team is not constructed to come back from an early deficit. Indeed, the Bills have upgraded the wide receiver position with the additions of Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams. But the Bills have an inexperienced quarterback, who when put in a position where he HAS to throw, is largely unproven. EJ gave us a taste of what he was capable of when he orchestrated an 80 yard game winning drive in the waning moments against Carolina in week 2. But three weeks later he would sustain a serious knee injury that would seriously limit the work he could put on tape in his rookie season. The three headed running attack of CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown should allow Buffalo to pound the rock again this year. They will surely be a run first team that plays better out front. Can EJ consistently be that guy that can bring us back when the defense knows he’s throwing? Only time will tell.
Jim Kelly is widely considered to be the ambassador of the Buffalo Bills. His strength and fight exemplify the hard working, blue collar city that he represents so well. His recent battles with cancer have been well documented in the media for all of us to follow. This team can and should look to Jim for inspiration and leadership qualities. Jim is in a fight. He can’t wait until the 4th quarter to battle. He needed to attack as soon as the opening whistle blew. I will stress that Jim is fighting for his life which is of much greater importance than any game will ever be. But when that ball is kicked off on September 7th in Chicago this team will be in a fight and I sincerely hope they take a few notes from Jim and come out swinging.