I still haven't rid myself of the awful taste left in my mouth last season in how we failed to compete against the Patriots. That's right. We did not compete. The 20-10 loss last November 9th, in a still meaningful game, left me searching for answers. We entered that game on the heels of consecutive losses to the Fish and Jets, but were 5-3 and still in the thick of the divisional race. I could come up with only two possible explanations for the lethargic play and vanilla game plan on both sides of the ball that day.
One, our brain trust believed the team was good enough to beat New England without offering anything imaginative. In other words, we could and would beat the Patriots straight-up. Maybe if we had beaten the Fish and Jets and were 7-1, I could buy this one. Otherwise, the usual garbage had not worked against New England since Drew Bledsoe's first game as a Bill; I believe the 2003 opener. The other explanation? We did not believe we could win the game, so we chose not to really try. That's simplifying things a great deal, folks, I know, but if you watched that game start-to-finish you know exactly what I mean. If the coaches do not believe we have a chance, that feeling has to filter down to the players. That is the way our players performed that day.
We open against these same Patriots (except Brady is back) in a month in front of the nation. I hope our Bills have learned from the past. We need to throw everything at them, leaving no stone unturned. For just one time, could we out-coach someone? Could we be the ones that make crucial adjustments at halftime for once? Can we be the team to dictate play against a quality opponent?
One more thing. A week after the no-show vs. the Pats, we were upset at home by the Browns, 29-27, and that was pretty much the season.