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Buffalo Bills fans react and overreact to blowout loss to New York Jets

Fandom has two sides, and they rarely see eye to eye

What happens in a Buffalo Bills’ fan’s mind when they lose:

  1. We would lose to Alabama.
  2. We couldn’t catch a cold.
  3. We are the worst/trash/etc.

What happens in a Buffalo Bills’ fan’s mind when they win:

  1. New England is going down!
  2. There is no reason we can’t make the AFC Championship at minimum
  3. How many games in a row can we win?

As fans (short for fanatics), we have all entered the state of mind that brings about comments like those listed above. In the heat of the moment, it is easy to spew venom or drink the kool-aid of our favorite team. Later on, cooler heads prevail, but for the three hours when the Bills play and the hour or so after, something I refer to as “Mr. Hyde” takes over.

Hyde controls the fanatic, and when our defense allows Matt Forte to run through us or we whoop on an Oakland Raiders team that just beat the Kansas City Chiefs, it is easy for Hyde to go to the extreme. Based on the tweets, Facebook posts, and comments I see during and after the game, I am not the only one.

About 90 minutes after the game, thankfully, a more rational (read: Dr. Jekyll) side of my fandom takes over, and I can look at what just happened objectively.

With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun idea to put into written form on a weekly basis that battle between rational and irrational. Thoughts following Buffalo’s loss to the Jets:

Hyde: We’re the same old Bills.

Jekyll: Let’s be honest, the Bills were due for a letdown game and, for now, that is all it was. The defense failed to make plays that they had been making all year, the offensive line withered in the face of a solid Jets front seven and simply nothing went our way (O’Leary and Matthews fumbles being perfect examples of that). This is the first game in which Buffalo was clearly the inferior team and had no real shot of winning. What would truly make this version of the team “the same old Bills” is if that loss snowballs into a losing streak. That is what the drought-era Bills have done. Based on an 8-game sample with McDermott in charge, I don’t think that will be an issue. If in two weeks we are sitting at 5-5, then we can have that discussion.

Hyde: The defense is showing its true colors. Without turnovers, this defense is useless.

Jekyll: Without a doubt, the lack of turnovers against the Jets was a big issue, but plays were there to be made. The team missed 21 tackles on the night, and Leonard Johnson dropped a surefire interception early in the contest. When you have a “bend but don’t break” defense, turnovers are key to success, and when they aren’t generated, the “bend” often proves to be too much. The one thing I will give the doubters is that the inability to stop the run worries me. As I noted above, let’s not panic over one game. At the start of the year, we all would have taken 5-3 at the midpoint of the season. This is still a work in progress, but it is further along than most anyone could have predicted.

Hyde: The offensive line would struggle blocking the 7-man sled.

Jekyll: Seriously? While expectations for the Jets were low heading into the season, the one thing agreed upon is that they had the potential to have a great defensive line. The rest of the team was “meh,” but the defensive line has skilled players who can take over a game at any point. Couple that with the improved play of the linebackers, and you have the disaster that unfolded Thursday night. Again, it was one game. In the previous two games, Tyrod Taylor had been kept relatively clean and the running game was humming. If the offensive line acts more like a turnstile again against the Saints, then there are definite issues. Right now, however, it is one bad game against a unit that played about as well as it could have.