Last week on Twitter, former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards was asked what his favorite touchdown celebration was. He gave a pair of cliches in response, saying: "Just hand the ball to the official. Act like you've been there before."
Unfortunately, many Buffalo Bills players haven't been there before. At least not often enough where it becomes so common place that they feel compelled to not celebrate. The Bills could use more opportunities to "just hand the ball to the official."
Buffalo hasn't scored 400 points in a season since 1998. In 2009, they scored just 259 points, an average of about 16 points per game. That's just over half the number of points the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints scored in the regular season (510) en route to their 13-3 mark. If the Bills want to be more successful, they have to score more points. Or, as Joe P keeps putting it, "they need to score more points than their opponents."
The last decade has been especially pitiful in the touchdown department. The Bills have been outscored in every season except one since 2000 (I continue to ask - how on earth did the 2004 team not make the playoffs when they scored 111 more points than their opponents?). Buffalo hasn't finished out of the bottom ten in scoring in five seasons.
You may think it's a team problem, but the Bills haven't had a legitimate scoring threat in a long time. The last season in which a player not named Rian Lindell scored more than 80 points was in 2002, when Mike Hollis kicked 115 points through the uprights and Travis Henry scored 14 touchdowns, totaling 84 points. Since then, only Willis McGahee has come close, scoring 13 touchdowns in 2004.
Lee Evans was behind Lindell's 108 points on the scoring list in 2009 with seven touchdowns. Terrell Owens had six, and Fred Jackson had four. That's not exactly a dynamic scoring team, obviously. Throughout the NFL, 47 non-kickers scored more points than Bills team leader Evans, including offensive juggernauts Jamaal Charles, Brent Celek, and Jacoby Jones. Four New Orleans Saints scored more points than Evans, too.
To hopefully improve on this dismal statistic, the Bills took C.J. Spiller ninth overall in April's draft. He scored 17 touchdowns for Clemson in 2009, and Bills GM Buddy Nix hopes the shifty back can put similar numbers on the board for Buffalo - if not in 2010, then soon.
Looking at the quarterbacks, the last Bills QB to throw for 20 or more touchdowns in a single season was Drew Bledsoe in 2004. The most any current quarterback on the roster has ever thrown for in a season is Trent Edwards' 11 in 2008. Ryan Fitzpatrick's career high is nine in 2009. Brian Brohm and rookie Levi Brown share a big goose egg in that category.
Long story short, the Bills need to find more of a scoring punch than they have had in the last five years. Maybe if they get into the end zone more, they can celebrate casually by handing the ball to the official and walking back to the sideline.