I dare you to be honest.
Raise your hand, high and proud, if you are a Bills fan that was convinced this past August, the front office of the Buffalo Bills organization was orchestrating a deliberate attempt to “tank” the 2017 football season so they could get a better draft position next spring.
Their best cornerback allowed to leave in free agency, the 2nd best traded away. Their best wide receiver, in some fan’s eyes their only legitimate wide receiver, traded also.
It was obvious. Right?
Well, not to Head Coach Sean McDermott. Nor to General Manager Brandon Beane. In fact, I don’t think the word “tanking” is even in their vocabulary.
Fast forward one short month, the end of the first quarter of the NFL regular season. The Buffalo Bills are 3-1, alone atop the AFC East. This…is not the definition of tanking. To McDermott, Beane and company, planning for the future (making trades for draft picks) and maintaining a competitive football team (winning games) are not mutually exclusive entities. It’s just their way of doing things. And, they are very good at it.
Today, as they begin the 2nd quarter of the season, the Buffalo Bills face the 1-3 Cincinnati Bengals. If you are a social media participant, you have no doubt seen the word “trap” spring up, and more than once. Trap, as in “trap game”, the idea that the recently successful Bills will let their guard down, because they are facing a team with a poorer record.
There are two problems with this idea, though.
The first, is an incredibly weird situation. Though the Buffalo Bills have a record of 3 wins and only 1 loss, and Cincinnati has a record of only 1 win with 3 losses, the home Bengals are 3 point favorites. Technically, a team cannot have a trap game, if they are the underdog. Now, that’s just technically.
In reality, the Buffalo Bills players, though technically underdogs according to the Vegas line, can mentally and emotionally come into the game thinking they are the better team, and therefore, succumb to the proverbial trap, of a game like this.
Except, there is one person who will not let that happen.
Well, there is actually a process that will not let that happen.
Trust. The. Process.
Musings From Around the NFL
The Chiefs, Steelers, and Packers continue their predicted success, while the Lions, Rams, and of course Bills continue their unexpected impressiveness.
The 49ers, Browns and Bears continue their predicted losses, while the Giants, Dolphins, and Patriots are causing heads to shake with their unexpected lack of impressiveness.
There are a flock of teams at 2-2, some expectedly, some not. (We’re looking at you – New York Jets)
The Colts are in limbo until their messiah returns, the Chargers can’t buy a break, and the Vikings, Seahawks, Cardinals and Saints can’t make up their mind if they are going to be good, or bad.
Fantasy Football Tips
Fantasy superstars are tearing apart season-long fantasy leagues with injuries, significant or daily-by-daily minor.
You did notice that Doug Martin is back – did you pick him up, yet?
What a win! Am I right?
Wait, I wrote those words last week after the Broncos game. Maybe, just maybe, I can write them next week, too?
But, it was…quite a win for the entire organization. It was the poke in the eye to the rest of the NFL, too.
When was it for you? When was the moment, when they were winning, when you said to yourself, “Here it comes. This is where they lose the game.”
For me, it was with the 1:37 mark of the final quarter. Cedric Thornton had just sacked Matt Ryan for a loss, that was then nullified by a Leonard Johnson defensive holding penalty. That’s when I knew they were going to lose. It was all too familiar. Play a great game – lose it in the final minutes. Appropriately, with penalties. Two plays later, Lorenzo Alexander – neutral zone infraction. Move the ball 5 yards closer to the goal line.
Here we go.
They won as we stood, as we held our collective breaths. Achingly close to a defensive holding penalty on the very last play.
Well done, boys.
Today the Bills enter the trap.
Nah, not really.
The process continues.
Buffalo 20 – Cincinnati 17
Read me here next week.
Editor’s babble: Thanks to Rick Bates for another great contribution to our blog. You can follow Rick on Twitter @MyHammock.