I thought they'd win 6 games this year. I still believe that. I think they can beat Tampa, Jacksonville, and then win one game out of Jets, Miami, Atlanta. Or for all we know, they might win all 5. I doubt it, but, they might....
Here is what I saw: I don't blame the defense for this. They didn't play well, but, they were left to dry out there yesterday and did what they could. They weren't great and certainly did very little to help us win, but, they didn't lose this game for us. It was on the O, EJ, and the dropsies that this team is now plagued by.
I saw a first half filled with dropsies. I saw a first half where the team lost hope and it showed it's true colors: A team that doesn't have enough leaders to get the younger guys to have a stiffer spine and keep their heads in the game. I saw a QB that was very rusty. He was too excited. His footwork was awful. He was also plagued by his receivers not being able to catch anything in the first half. And (not shockingly) he lost hope. The entire team lost hope.
And that is the problem with this team: There is literally no star or personality on it that can really them when they cross the emotional point of no return. NO player, No coach was able to step up and keep them in the game. The problem is that when that happens, players try to do too much to be the one to make a difference. They forget it is a team game.
How many times did we see the pretty reliable Super Mario and other star players on D woefully out of position yesterday, which resulted in big plays against us? Guys do that b/c they know the team needs a big play and they try to cheat their assignment and create that play. Most times, the team playing as a team beats the team of guys who want to make that play. And that is what happened here. The better TEAM won.
I didn't think we'd win yesterday. I thought EJ would struggle, and while they are mentally tougher then teams we have seen in the last 10 years, they still aren't up to real top tier toughness to weather a storm. Nor do I expect them to be that team. They don't have a Brady, Big Ben, Megatron, etc star to keep them going.
But, this is the NFL and no one is as good or bad as they seem. I expect they will be tough against the Jets this week in Buffalo. And I do think they have a chance to win.
I think people care too much about the last 14 years instead of looking at the truth of this team: It is a first year coach, first year systems, first year QB, first year WR, etc. This team wasn't the Colts, one year removed from a playoff team. This team was in no man's land. Now, even with the loss, they are hanging tough, but not tough enough to believe they can overcome their issues. That takes time.
We must give this team time. Truth is, WE have NO CHOICE but to give them time b/c what can we do? Stop Watching? stop caring? If we could do that, we would have done so long ago. Usually the Bills give us false hope. But, this team gives me real hope. I saw a young team schooled by an experienced QB, coach and leaders in a their home, and shown how far they are from being able to win these games. But, I also saw the don't quit mantra by their TD in garbage time. It has been said Pitt didn't want them to score the TD. They did. That sort of minor win won't matter this year, but, next year, with everyone being more seasoned, who knows. They might win the close games.
I can't and won't tell u how to feel, but, rookie coaches, QB etc need time to learn to find their way. They need time to build an identity. Every success story of a rookie QB can be linked to a dominant coach, offense, defense ST etc. Wilson had a game changing D to lean on. What has EJ had to lean on? Yes, the D has been better, but, would you consider any phase of this team better then average?
This team, to me, has always been about next year. When EJ went down in the preseason, I really felt that he had little chance to become a solid QB. When he went down in Cleveland, I really knew this year was over. He will be lucky to be back to where he was in a few weeks, then hopefully, in the last few weeks of the season, see something that gets us excited for next year.
Remember each loss gets us closer to a player that can be a difference maker. That is how teams go from last to first. New Orleans and CArolina are examples this year of good teams that got great guys. Houston will be much better next year. As will the Giants and Steelers b/c the core is still there. Our core is still being built. And no matter how much you wish otherwise, the only thing that leads to the core of a team, is time.