To recap for those of you who vacated Planet Earth Monday evening: after dominating 57 minutes of the game - while scoring two defensive touchdowns, a special teams touchdown, and forcing six turnovers - the Buffalo Bills once again showed their youth by dropping a 25-24 decision to the Dallas Cowboys as rookie kicker Nick Folk drilled a 53-yarder as time expired. There. You're caught up, and I'm nauseous.
Yes, there is plenty to talk about. Tons to dissect. And yes, I plan to talk about it - oh, yes; we'll have time to discuss quarterback controversies, the intricacies of game management, the coaching staff, and our beloved kicker, just to name a few topics. There is a lot to be said - this team is 1-4, their playoff hopes are fading quickly and new question marks pop up seemingly by the minute. So yes, we'll talk.
But tonight was about this team. This Buffalo Bills team that once again is sleeping on a gut-wrenching loss. This was a game that should have been a Bills victory - but even so, what a game it was.
Bills Nearly Shock the World
This Bills team is young. Buffalo started third-stringers at cornerback (Jabari Greer) and free safety (George Wilson), a rookie quarterback (Trent Edwards) and were facing media scoffs all week (buena suerte that, Tony Kornheiser), and they still nearly pulled the biggest upset of this young NFL season. Nobody saw this coming - except maybe Ron Jaworski, whose proclamation that the Bills would keep it close deep into the fourth quarter was met with inquiries into his mental health. What an effort. What a performance. I may be younger than most football fans out there (I'll be 22 in two weeks), but I've watched a lot of football in my days, and I will proudly state that I have never seen an effort as Herculean by a team as overmatched as the Bills as I saw tonight. It was, even in defeat, incredibly fun to witness.
Ralph Wilson Stadium was electric tonight. I can't remember the last time I stood for the entirety of a football game. I ache from head to toe, and I'm already planning on sounding like Screech for the next two days. Buffalo was ready for a prime-time football game, and our big-hearted club did not (fully) disappoint. We'd better not have to wait another 13 years for a Monday Night game at The Ralph. Bills fans rule.
Some Advice Moving Forward
Two bits of advice: first, don't listen to anything that the national media says about this game. Get ready for the "Romo nearly lost the game", "Dallas laid an egg" and other related idiot excuses. They're so wrong. This was all Buffalo. The Bills came out with a perfect defensive game plan that, for 57 minutes, made Tony Romo look like Heath Shuler. This was a Bills defense ranked dead last in the NFL making play after play against the "league's best offense". Yes, Romo's play was very awful, but it was the Bills making those picks and fumble recoveries. It was the Bills missing opportunities to make a few more plays to seal the deal. So no, Dallas did not win this game - it was handed to them on a silver platter. The team that dominates the game gets credit for winning or losing, and that's exactly what the Bills did: they dominated.
Second: don't get (too) down on this team. More specifically, don't get down on these players. Nowhere in the league will you find a scrappier bunch. These guys, no matter the situation, play their butts off, and deserve all of the credit for this unexpected Monday Night performance. There are still eleven games to play, and we're getting healthier - it's not time to give up on these guys. We're going to be fun to watch as we move forward.
I may be in the minority on this one, but I'm proud to be a fan of this team tonight. You just gave one of the league's best teams the biggest test of their season. Kudos - Cowboys coaches, players and fans certainly need fresh drawers right about now. Yes, the loss hurts. But keep playing the way you're playing, and you won't be losing for much longer. Your performance tonight turned the collective heads of football fans everywhere, Buffalo - now, with those curious heads focused on us for a while, is the time to prove that tonight wasn't a fluke. We'll see you in two weeks, Baltimore.