I have to admit, I had my mind already made up as to what I was going to write about today's game, win or lose. It was on my mind as I was going through Twitter at around 1130am. Anyone covering the game alluded to it.
In case you couldn't find an illegal feed, the Bills won, 34-18. I'm pretty sure more people watched this game illegally than those in attendance. Officially, the Bills had 53,000 or so fans in attendance. You didn't have to know Buffalo teams tend to exaggerate the attendance gate (See: Sabres games) to know that it seemed a lot smaller if you saw the overhead shot. Since 2010, the only December home games that have been on local TV have been against the Pats.
Look, I'll be the first person to say that our fan base are suckers when it comes to believing the bullshit that comes out of 1 Bills Drive. Sign me up, cause I've lead that charge. It has been well established since 2000. However, it is one thing to talk about the Bills play when they stink, it is another thing when you have to put down 100 bucks on any given Sunday to watch this crap. During the 2000s, it was easy to get these folks coming in through the turnstiles. They sold out all of their games during the 2009 season. Now? Not so much.
Fans are tired of this crap.
I've always said that if I were living in Buffalo and made half of what I made now, I'd have season tickets. I've alluded to how I know people who make like 25,000 a year and have seasons. 50 bucks a game is dirt Amsterdam prostitute cheap. I'd have it just to have it. Now? Fuck that. I'd give them away and cancel them. It's not worth it after 13 years of this. You got to have some sense of pride, don't you? I was amazed to see that there were 50-yard line tickets for 15 bucks on Stub Hub.
This may not be the first non-December sellout, but I've never seen it this bad before.
I warned fans about this before the season started about how critical this year was in terms of how the team only sold about 43,000 season tickets after signing Mario. That number was 56,000 in 2009 after the T.O. signing. Mind you, that was after the economy crashed. You can't keep up those 7-9 paces anymore and hope people will buy tickets.
Of course, you've heard this before, this can be termed as Bills fans being between a rock and a hard place. If you don't buy tickets because you disapprove, it could prove as a loop hole for the NFL to move the team to LA. Gun to our head to buy tickets. Blah, blah, blah. I probably made that point last year or the year before.
If I'm the Bills, I'm embarrassed by this.
If you really care about winning, this should be momentum for them to get better or to clean house. Winning should be the main reason why you are coaching or GMing in this game. Take some pride in your work, man.
The Bills need to look in those stands and realize they did this to the fan base. I've heard Russ Brandon talk too many times about moving inventory or blaming the weather for the lack of December sellouts. That's bullshit and shows that either he's lying or he doesn't understand what winning and losing does to a fan base.
Russ, Ralph, Chan and Buddy should frame today's crowd shot into their office and remember this. It should make them sick to their stomach. Alas, the majority of these folks are just happy to have a job in the NFL. On the contrary, the fans in the stands aren't happy with just having a football team.
Now to the rest:
— 39 Rushes between Spiller/Jackson to 17 pass attempts by Fitz. Don't even think of this being Chan having an epiphany when it comes to what his team should do offensively. Just google what they were saying after the KC game and how fans/media thought the Bills were changing to a running team. This was all about the rainy/windy weather. If this was October, Fitz would have passed the ball 35 times. Under Gailey, the Bills have rushed for over 100 yards in their last 6 December home games. They have a 192, 160, 125 and 232 yard performances during that span. I know, don't you wish the Bills played in the elements all the time?
—A few people can't help themselves in making 28/22 into a running back controversy after they still rush for over 200 yards collectively. Jackson gets 100 yards and people still bitch that Spiller isn't getting enough carries. I get it. CJ should get more carries, but if it's working and the Bills are actually committed to running and moving the ball because of it, shut up. Seriously, Buffalo can't live without arguing about a position battle like they can't live without a beer tent at a festival. The combo attack can and should work. It has been proven in the history books. It is the guy calling the plays who hasn't understood it.
—The Jags are fricken terrible. Someone tweeted that Mark Kelso said the Jags are a very talented team. Not sure if he was talking about the Jags team that beat the Bills in the 1996 playoffs. If not, he should be drug tested. The Jags' defense was terrible. They knew that the Bills were going to run the football, yet, they couldn't come close to stopping them. Chad Henne is a career backup. They are screwed.
—Poz is still overrated. I would have booed him two years ago.
—Mario Williams has been playing his ass off over the last month. Shocking that after getting wrist surgery, he'd play better and get 6 sacks since. The Bills have 31 sacks on the season, which is more than what they had last year. Mario now has 9.5 sacks and he's on his way to getting probably 12-14 for the season. His next sack would be the most a Bills' player has had since 2009. If he gets to 15, it would be the most a Bills' player has had since 1995. That's exactly what you had hoped for when they signed him. Seriously, you know how I feel about the crap he got at the start of the season when it came to fridges, PR people and all that petty shit I hate. If you want to be a dick and go after him for that? Fine. But, if you want to be respected on this site, you should at least acknowledge how well he's been playing and show the same vigor towards him positively as you did negatively. Alas, that would mean you'd be saying you were wrong…which is a major NO, NO in sports media.
—Ron Brooks had an interesting game. He was feast or famine all day long. He made nice hits and pass breakups and then he got burned and was called for PIs. I can handle that for a rookie. You make mistakes, but if you throw in a good play or two, I can live with that. That's just something Aaron Williams hasn't done yet.
—My favorite moment was when the entire B-team (Merriman, Carrington, Spencer and Moats) sacked Henne. It was pretty awesome.
— The last 12 QBs the Bills have played at home (RWS) in December are Chad Henne, Tim Tebow, Matt Moore, Matt Hasselbeck, Tom Brady, Jake Dehlomme, Jim Sorgi, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, Shaun Hill, Eli Manning and Cleo Lemon. So much for other teams helping us draw fans.
—Ryan Fitzpatrick actually completed a deep pass today. The food I spat out in my mouth traveled almost as far as his throw. Hey, I was that shocked! Alright, Fitz was alright. He didn't do much except make like 2-3 throws. Frankly, I think anyone could have been the QB for the Bills today.
—Ironic, but during Bruce DeHaven's glory days as the special teams coach, they were outstanding in punt and kick coverage (See: Pike and Tasker) but kind of lousy in the return game (See: Copeland, Al Edwards and Clifford Hicks). Complete reversal of fortune now.
Final word: As I write this, there's a possibility the Bills could be 1 game out of the 6th seed if Pittsburgh and Cincinnati loses. You can root for that, but you may as well root for World Peace. In other words, it is not going to happen. However, I'm pretty sure you aren't dumb enough to think that, hence the reason 50,000 people showed up today. I get it, you have to root for something and telling yourself that it's possible is understandable.
Just merely use it as a way to make these games more exciting. Think of it as a way of thinking Gyp Rosetti has a chance at killing Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk, when we all know it won't happen. You keep that element of disbelief alive to make your viewing habits not so predictable.
The Bills beat an awful team today.
I think they'll beat the Rams next week, even though they are coming off a nice win against San Fran. They will be 6-7 and then we will have about 20 discussions geared towards winning out or losing out for a high draft pick. You'll hear the same crap about learning how to win/high pick doesn't mean anything vs. losing out for a QB and we could have had Big Ben if we lost one more games in 2003. It's the same shit I've heard for years now. Frankly, I don't care. I'm kind of just over all of this.
Today was no different than when they beat Denver in December of 2008. The Colts B-team in December 2009. The Dolphins in December of 2010. The Broncos in December of 2011. They always have that win against a subpar team in December that looks awesome in the box score, yet, it doesn't really mean anything except being a springboard to a 7-9 or 6-10 record.
I just don't believe in them anymore and judging by the crowd, I'm not the only one