Yes, they lost!!!!!
And NO!!!! They were not the same old Bills.
What I saw was another gut-wrenching loss to our bitter rivals. However, I am sick and tired of everyone acting like this the end of world. The team with a rookie HC, a rookie Offensive Coordinator, a rookie QB, a depleted secondary consisting of pretty much only an undrafted CB and/or back-up DB's, a rookie middle linebacker (who is known to hold the moniker 'QB of the defense', and a completely new defensive and offensive schematics; go up against a future Hall of Fame coach and QB, AND almost WIN!!! Not to mention this was the first game for all the rookie characters involved EVER in the NFL. Can those WGR550 and comment posting writers/arm-chair analysts please give it a rest!! If they were up against the Jaquars, Browns (who by the way were the sexy pick of the preseason and fell flat on their behinds against a team-in-progress at home (Dolphins), by the way) or the Jets, then yes I would be crying for Marrone's head as well. But they didn't lose to those squads. Instead, they went toe to toe against a team that by some in the color-analytical business believe will make to the SB. Give the coaching staff and players time to work out the wrinkles like all the rest of the league showed they need to do as well.
I saw things I didn't like but who in the right mind actually believed Buffalo would be in a position to win with less than 10 seconds to go and only lose by one point? The best score I saw predicted was Buff only getting within maybe 10. However, there were positive things observed that give me hope that this current roster/staff will possibly turn things around:
1. Manuel was spectacular considering what he was up against. He outplayed Brady for 95% of the game. His QB rating was upwards around the 106 range and showed that he has the poise to bounce back from a shaky first quarter. Not too shabby for a rookie QB in his first ever NFL game. I also believe that he would have driven down the field on the final drive if he wasn't hindered by only having 5 seconds on the clock.
2. Marrone was sub-par in the 1st half but made the correct adjustments (along with the OC/DC) at halftime. He took Spiller out when he obviously was not in his A-game mode. He put the team in the attack mode and took the lead until the Pats last drive. I can't harp on him for playing fast on the second to last drive. They need to score points to beat Brady, not just hope to hold him off. A coaches job is to prepare his team as well as to make decisions during the game. They looked prepared in the 2nd half and that shows the staff's ability to adapt, even against a Hall of Fame HC.
3. The defense was pressuring Brady all day. Beyond that first TD drive, the front four gave him headaches all day. The secondary was coached up well. They came to play and it showed. Plus, if people are expecting the d-line to be a top ten squad, good luck. Pettine's scheme is based on pressuring the QB not stopping the run. That is how he will succeed. ALSO, they made great goal line stops and red zone disruptions against a fantastic red zone/goal line offense. Haven't seen that eons.
4. Alonso was all over the place. He prevented short passes from becoming long runs after the catch, which is something the Bills haven't seen since Fletcher. Plus, he hits like a dump truck.
5. Finally, they could have just folded up and died when the Pats just beat the dog poop out of them in the 1st quarter, but they didn't!! A young and inexperienced roster/staff fought back and almost pulled off the incredible. The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be sunshine and rainbows in the future, so don't let one game tarnish your impression of a positive off-season, training camp, and preseason.
P.S. Even Jerry Sullivan and the Rochester Daily Chronicle were taking things in stride and understanding the season is more important and to give things time to gel correctly.