With 6:25 left in the third quarter, the Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders were separated by one point. It was a 50/50 game in the estimate of most objective observers. And yet, there was an unusual feeling amongst many Bills fans watching that game: confidence.
For years Bills fans have watched passes in mid air, waiting for the tv camera to pan to the intended receiver while a small inner voice whispered nervously, “don’t drop it.” Fans would watch a punt returner brace to receive a ball that wasn’t fair caught and that same inner voice would again whisper, “don’t fumble”. The opposing quarterback would release a pass on third down and as the TV screen left the pocket and followed the ball the same little voice would whisper, “don’t rough the passer.”
Bills fans settled into a certain kind of conditioning about the likelihood of events during the drought; like fans were Pavlov’s dog whom Pavlov liked to taunt and torment.
Now, only four short weeks into the 2020 season a new sort of emotional journey is establishing itself in the living rooms of members of Bills Mafia. Instead of wondering what could go wrong, fans are excited to see how things go right. When Josh Allen throws a ball deep, an anticipatory smirk expecting a big play coming paints Bills’ fans faces. When the opponent takes the lead or gets close, fans experience schadenfreude at the prospect of their opponents’ hopes getting raised only to be crushed as the Bills begin to pull away again.
It’s surprising, if not shocking, at what the Bills’ offense (i.e. Josh Allen) has become this season. Things have changed at a neck-break speed for Bills fans in 2020. And it’s the best case of whiplash anyone could have hoped for.