Eternity gets dull quickly when disappointments never change. The absence of triumph leads to losing track of the timeline. Buffalo Bills fans are tired of the “When will it change” theme, which was itself in response to a long stretch of unpleasant stasis. The result was regrettably the same for the millionth time Monday, which shows how pain can actually intensify with repetition. I figured this would ache less by now.
Discomfort is relative, so everyone in the Mafia can explain where it hurts. Individuals can decide whether a whiffed tackle, muffed return, clink off the post, fluttering pass, preemptive stop, baffling play call, tossed flag, addled official, or disregarded game clock defines another soul punching. The Bills made it close and weren’t expected by almost anyone to beat New England first, which is worth nothing after a loss.
Instead of getting used to it, woe becomes more acute when experienced consistently. Dullness would be a blessing. But what’s become a historical burden will again haunt this franchise until they can win even close to half the time against their primary tormentor. The inability to win stressful games is embodied by Buffalo’s failure to be even marginally competitive over time with the stupid Patriots. When it comes to individual games, the result is lamentably almost always the same no matter how the heartbreak plays out.
Fears of this contest taking the same tone as usual were sadly validated. New England didn’t even drive at will early on, and Tom Brady was given many glorious reasons to shriek like an emo baby after having his ribs crushed. Still, nothing ultimately changed. A valiant but futile comeback attempt isn’t that much more encouraging than a massive blowout when the Patriots have won 90 percent of the games since Drew Bledsoe got a blood vessel sheared. Nobody will be impressed for long by how a touchdown on the last drive would’ve tied it, although an officiating crew not knowing the rules will stick with angry fans.
Missed chances will haunt this franchise like the other horrid memories on the pile. Particularly, a first half ending in a way that New England could have scripted felt like reliving a nightmare. Mistakes turning into disasters is what this quasi-rivalry has become. But aspirations weren’t fully shattered until later. Bills backers had to cope with the same catastrophic special teams play from the same player who gave away momentum along with the ball in 2009. The pattern of Patriots dominance was sickening back then. That was just a pit stop in an endless race for second.
The quarterback of the future may be here, but he has to improve accuracy in the present. Tyrod Taylor must cut down on misfires to prove he’s Buffalo’s answer past next month. What we can admire is his willingness to play through agony. The current contender to be the next hopeful thrived with a hobbled shoulder when a mere mortal would have exited the game to let EJ Time begin. Using an affliction as motivation means Taylor must be a Morrissey fan. Throwing better after being stricken sounds like a sports movie, only without the happy ending. We can only hope the film’s not over.
This is nothing new. Falling to New England has been a regular occurrence since there were only half a dozen divisions. Even the Dolphins and Jets have been okay at times: there have been six AFC East wild card participants during the Bills drought. That isn’t exactly impressive in its dominance. But we know who hasn’t even grabbed one of those. The context of a seemingly endless famine affects fans in a different way than players. Dropping to .500 against this particular juggernaut is seen in terms of how disastrously things have gone since 2000. This is one bad habit to break.
Still, Monday’s result doesn’t end the season. Drama remains even as they’re back to boring old Sunday afternoon tilts after two instances of dark football. Catching New England is as likely as the Bills bringing back Matt Cassel and Kyle Orton to compete with Matt Leinart. But the winner of the brawl in Kansas City’s saloon will have a tiebreaker in a two-game swing of presently even clubs. Attack Alex Smith like they did Pretty Brady for optimum results. And it’s not to agree with Jon Gruden, but Sammy Watkins seems like someone worth targeting.
More practice waxing on and off with Mister Miyagi to take down the mean kids from Cobra Kai will have to remain a longterm goal. But they can take on lower-level hoodlums for lesser glory. While they’re still not the team that can finally put the Pats in their place, it’s important to recall they can participate in a playoff race without having to top a division. That doesn’t make things easy. Fighting the conference’s runners-up for two consolation slots means mediocre teams have no hope of sneaking into a Super Bowl shot. If they commit as many unforced errors against the Chiefs, this season will be settled rather quickly. Absent resiliency, yet one more dang Patriots loss would be for nothing.