Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yeah, no NHL news to speak of, no pro football team to speak of either

It's taken a while to fully digest the disaster that was the Buffalo Bills in the Meadowlands. Nearly everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Buffalo, except for RB C.J. Spiller and his 169-yard, one touchdown performance after Fred Jackson left the game due to injury.

Ugly, was the one word title used by WGR's Bulldog in summing up the game. Perhaps he omitted a letter, it was F-ugly.

GR's Whiner Line was, as usual, over the top. Which was to be expected. The callers hated everyone--Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chan Gailey, Mario Williams, perennial whipping boy Leodis McKelvin. Reasoning ranged from simple analysis to downright anal cysts of the mouth. So far reaching was the blame, I was a bit surprised it didn't include President Obama, Rob Johnson or Ryan Miller.

I haven't been that disappointed by a Bills game since Super Bowl XXVI when Mark Rypien smoked the Bills d and the Washington Redskins d put the clampdown on future HOF'er Jim Kelly and his "K-gun" offense.

Many a Bills fan was psyched up for that game thinking that the near miss the year before would hopefully lead to success in their second try. The 37-24 loss was much more lopsided than the score indicated. Much like the Bills 48-28 loss on Sunday.

Much maligned Redskins QB Mark Rypien was the Super Bowl MVP with a stat line of 18-33, 292 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT. Much maligned Mark Sanchez was 19-27, 265 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT.

And if you thought Ryan Fitzpatrick's performance this past Sunday was poor--18-32, 195 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT--this is the line for Jim Kelly in that Super Bowl:  28-58, 275 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT. And, by the way, they both threw INT's on the team's first possession.

Parallels can also be drawn between the two teams when it comes to preparation. Neither the 1992 Super Bowl Bills--as evidenced by RB Thurman Thomas missing the first two plays because he couldn't find his helmet--nor last Sunday's Bills were prepared. While on the other side, Washington's Joe Gibbs and the Jets Rex Ryan were totally ready to shut down the Bills offense and exploit their highly skilled, yet soft defenses.

I will say one thing in defense of the '92 Bills defenders, at least they didn't whine about getting punched in the face.

There's been a big uproar over Mario Williams' post game comments on how he was literally getting smacked around and he called out the refs for not calling anything. The $100M man (or in this case, boy) didn't fight back and was held to one tackle and no sacks in his Buffalo Bills debut.

Former NFL lineman Damien Woody, who publicly trumpeted the Bills, had this to say, "For him to blame replacement officials as the reason he got dominated yesterday, I think that's pathetic," Woody said. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it.
"You're the big free agent. You're the $100 million man going up against a guy that was on the practice squad and inserted in the starting role just a couple weeks ago. I saw a lot of times Mario was one-on-one and couldn't do anything."

We all bought into the hype. When Williams was brought in, it was thought that he could help change the Bills defense. He and fellow free agent Mark Anderson were to bring on a strong pass rush that would help the secondary. It didn't happen vs. the Jets as Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sporano game-planned a quick strike pass attack the left the Bills looking for their collective jock straps.

Buying into the hype is what Jerry Sullivan started off with yesterday on the Howard Simon Show. "That was pretty startling what happened yesterday," he said, "and I think I fell for it...about Mario Williams."

Hype is what doomed the 1992 Buffalo Bills Super Bowl hopes. They were supposed to win that one, because they came so close the previous year and had the great Jim Kelly vs. a journeyman.

That team, like this team in Week One, couldn't handle the expectations.

So, other than Fitzpatrick, Williams and the game-plan, what else?

WR TJ Graham was drafted to stretch the feild with his speed, he didn't dress. Why? Gailey said he didn't feel as if Graham was ready. Like someone on WGR pointed out, how ready do you need to be to run as fast and far as you can to stretch out the d?

The WR's couldn't get open. Stevie Johnson did very little (although he did catch a TD pass in "garbage time",) but ya gotta believe he's nursing a very sore groin. Donald Jones had five catches including a touchdown when the game was already determined. David Nelson had some catches, then caught a bad break when he tore his ACL and is now out for the season.

TE Scott Chandler had a TD reception late in the third quarter, but was never used properly until the game was out of reach. If receivers can't get open and you're QB's having a tough day, your TE can be the QB's best friend, just ask Tom Brady.

As mentioned Spiller was a bright spot, but Fred Jackson never got anything going before leaving with a sprained knee which will keep him out 3-4 weeks.

And the Bills' "Mr. Wildcat," Brad Smith, never entered the game. What a waste of a uniform.

On defense, the Bills secondary got torched, the linebackers looked lame, the pass rush was a complete dud and they couldn't manage to stop the Jets when it counted on third down as NY was 10-14 on third down conversions.

The punt team allowed a 68 yd. punt return for a TD that put the Jets up by 21-0 less than three minutes into the 2nd quarter.


Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt had a gameplan based upon a four-man rush and he barely wavered from that. Why? *shrugs* Who the hell knows.



There is tension in the air in Buffalo with many either hitting the panic button or cloaking their panic.

WGR's Mike Schopp is sure that a Harsh reality is looming concerning the Bills. He makes the case that the Bills have two-time castoffs at QB--Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen and Tavaris Jackson. He states that the Bills have brought in dead end players and coaches--Shawn Merriman, TO, GM Buddy Nix, Gailey and former coach Dick Jauron.

In a typical Schoppian reach where he tries to make a point that rests on shaky ground and has inadequate tie-ins, he seems to yearn for the Tom Donohoe era Buffalo Bills stating that the 2002 and 2004 Bills teams are probably the best. "Donohoe didn't win here," he writes, "but at least in his five years [in Buffalo] the Bills availed themselves to top talent."

After a 3-13 season in Donohoe's first year as GM, Schopp seems to be alluding to the parade for Drew Bledsoe who was traded from the NE Patriots (thus opening the door for Tom Brady) to the Bills for a 2003 1st round pick.

I can't remember who else he brought in that year, but the team did go 8-8. Maybe that's what Schopp's alluding to.

But what ailed the Bills throughout the '00's was poor drafting, exemplified in the Tom Donohoe era.

First round picks Nate Clemens (#21, 2001,) and Lee Evans (#13, 2004) ended up with solid careers. But Donohoe is also responsible for one of the biggest busts ever in T Mike Williams (#4, 2002) while he took a gamble on an injured Willis McGahee (#23, 2003.)

His signature move, though, was trading away their first round pick in 2005 to Dallas to nab QB J.P. Losman. Losman would loose his starting job to journeyman Kelly Holcomb after only three games and was out of the league four years later.

While the two coaches under Donohoe have the best single season records for the Bills over their 13-year playoff drought, both proved nothing more than excellent coordinators.

Greg Williams spent three years in Buffalo, his only head coaching position. He went 3-13, 8-8 (2002) and 6-10 for a combined 17-31 record. Mike Mularkey went 9-7 in his first season yet followed it up with a 5-11 record.

Just after the 2005 season, Donohoe was fired, January 5, 2006 and it was that day, according to Schopp, "that the Bills stopped competing the way other teams do."

Sorry, Schopp, but a 31-49 record competing as "other teams do" is cause for a change.

Donohoe took the Bills for a ride after Ralph Wilson gave him complete control. After that debacle, is it any wonder that Wilson pulled back and started over by reaching back for someone he could trust? Marv Levy?

In the five years not doing business "as other teams do" post-Donohoe the Bills compiled a, lo and behold,  31-49 record.

Sorry, Schopp. Doesn't work. Try again.

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