Before we get into the post, be sure to check out this quick 15 minute podcast (Which is the fastest ever for a podcast here) I conducted with Matt Warren over at Buffalo Rumblings. We do a recap of Sunday’s epic comeback against the Raiders, possible contract extensions and preview the Pats/Bills game.
(If you want to download the podcast as a MP3, just goto this site and copy the podcast link from Youtube.)
For the last two seasons, I’ve been talking about wanting to see progress with the Bills. No, it had nothing to do with wins/losses, but more along the lines of individuals making progress. That’s pretty much how I viewed last season as a success for the first stage of a rebuilding process. Guys like Fitz, Stevie and Williams all stepped up and if the the team could get another three guys to perform well, they’d be in good shape for the future.
Well, things have changed for me…At least for this week.
The Bills HAVE to beat the Pats. FORGET moral victories. Maybe my reasoning stinks, but I’m sick and tired of seeing the Bills barely lose to the Pats, only to then hear fans talk about how “At least they played well.” Sure, I get that the names and coaches have changed over the years for the Bills, but I just can’t stomach another moral victory. Whether it was Bledsoe, Holcomb, Losman or Edwards, all of these QBs and teams had shots at beating these guys. Average to poor Bills teams always seemed to have the Pats on the ropes.
How many times after those games did we collectively say, “Well, they were close to getting these guys, but you have to love their progress! Wait until we see them again!” After week 1 of the 2009 season, if you wanted to view the McKelvin game through a glass half full approach, you would say the following: “At least we kept it close. We should be on our way to beating these guys and playing well for the rest of the season.” What happened? The team stunk and went 6-10. What about the 2006 season opener, when the Bills lost by just two points? Same thing. What about the Kelly Holcomb/Bruschi game in 2005? Ditto.
The losing will always stink, but the catchphrase of “they gave it the old college try” gets old after awhile. You can only have so many moral victories against the same team. I want to see a win against them. You want to be considered a good team, you gotta beat a great team. These guys have owned us for the last 10 years and until we beat them, I don’t think you can take the Bills seriously. The Pats stand in the way of the Bills. They are the measuring stick. The Bills haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since Mark Sanchez threw 6 interceptions in 2009. Something tells me the Pats will end up with an above .500 record.
Maybe if the losses were all one sided, I would feel differently, but because the moral victory has been overused, I’m over it. Gailey and Fitzpatrick already have a moral victory over the Pats from last year when they put up 30 points in Foxborough. I think we can live without one if you ask me.
Bottom line: If the Bills want to be taken seriously, they need to win this game.
I can’t remember the last time the Bills were this high when entering a Pats game. Since 2004, The Bills record was as followed before their first encounter with the Pats: 0-2, 3-4, season opener, 0-2, 5-3, season opener and 0-2. For all those first time encounters, the Bills never faced the Pats when coming off a victory.
Even though the Bills didn’t enter their games on a high note, they have normally played their best game the first time around. Since 2004, the Bills have lost by an average of 10 points (Not great), but during their 2nd encounter, it becomes a bloodbath. The Bills have lost by an average of 24 points per game.
Now this is the first time since 2004 that the Bills will play the Patriots at home during their first meeting. Yeah, I have no clue what made the schedule makers decide that the Pats should always play at home the first time around. Maybe Tom Brady’s hair does straighten out as much during the fall in Buffalo.