No, this wasn’t a dream.
After last week’s implosion in New York your normally cynical Bills fan was in a special state of self loathing. Looking back the whole ‘we can’t have nice things’ line near the end of my column last Sunday was a little much, but I truly believe that’s how it works when it comes to cheering for the team that plays at Orchard Park.
For fans like myself – not from Buffalo, no family there etc. – complaining about the Bills isn’t well received. You have a choice they say. You don’t have to follow a team that makes you feel shitty more often than not. Blasphemy. It’s days like this that make it all worth it. For the next week my fellow Bills fans and I will be on cloud nine until something awful happens in Cleveland – I assume only bad things are allowed to happen there.
Ryan Fitzpatrick looked much better today, and was aided by playing against a pretty terrible Chiefs defense. There were still some throws that made you cringe – a 10 yard out to Scott Chandler that bounced its way to the tight end stood out – but on a whole Fitz did things that made him successful early last year. We didn’t see his ability to scramble that was on display today in New York.
CJ Spiller was amazing. It’s a lazy comparison that I’m not qualified to make having never seen OJ Simpson play live, but come on. O.J, C.J – it just makes too much sense. Fred Jackson’s pain is Spiller’s gain, at least the veteran running back finally got paid in the offseason. While I’m not exactly proud of the way Jackson’s contract status was handled, it’s not like the Bills haven’t dicked around Spiller as well. After being a first round selection in the 2010 draft, the Clemson alum was handed the starting gig before having it taken away soon after. He’s finally showing what he can do on a consistent basis and I’m positively giddy.
The defense also looked much better. The defensive line was able to get pressure all day – Kyle Williams was immense – and rookie cornerback Stephon Gilmore had a game to remember. Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was clearly targeting the youngster, but Gilmore acquitted himself well. The Bills were generating coverage sacks – a wholly foreign concept a year ago.
There were some negatives, nobody can be 100% happy right? Chan Gailey’s play calling skills or lack there of is becoming a source of constant agony. After Spiller dominated a helpless Chiefs D in the first half, Gailey inexplicably averted to strictly pass plays on multiple series. Fitz throwing less can only a good thing. And can we please kill and bury the wildcat. Brad Smith waiting around in the backfield before ultimately getting pummeled for a three yard loss isn’t good football. It’s idiocy.
With the griping out of the way – some things never change – today is one for celebration. Depending on what happens in Pittsburgh this afternoon all four teams in the AFC East could find themselves at 1-1 two weeks in. What this week hasn’t done is alter my general outlook for the season – seven, eight wins maximum.
On to next week and the Browns. We have a lot in common. Should be depressing.