Messing up a winnable game shouldn’t feel normal. But reality sets in even as the division gets strange. The New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Buffalo Bills all have the same record after five games. It’s just like everyone predicted, right? The only one of those teams that isn’t evil has much to prove. We knew they’d have trouble learning the principle of seeing games through to the end. In practice, it’s more aggravating.
Optimism washed away in the drizzle. Those who find enduring the elements stimulating wish the Bills could’ve maximized their splashy Cincinnati fun. Rain that would make a mailman stay inside provided a fun challenge to both sides. Delicate dome teams cringed at highlights of cruel precipitation striking hapless players. In a perfect world, Lorenzo Alexander liberating a slippery football would have been the defining moment.
I hated to cheer against Bootsy Collins’s team and a city hosting Andrew W.K., but football isn’t personal. Likewise, it’s never perfect. Clubs find it nearly impossible to simply overwhelm unless they’re the stupid aforementioned Patriots. The Bills have yet to win consistently in spite of duress. Fighting through challenges in Atlanta proved it’s possible. A letdown in Cincinnati shows it’s not yet a habit.
Breaking established patterns isn’t necessarily a virtue. Tyrod Taylor didn’t protect the football at the worst possible time. The sack that preceded the interception provided a good symbol, not result. It’s strange to see him not sensing pressure, which isn’t the standard complaint about him. He must progress on accuracy, not regress on what he already does well.
Coping with adversity isn’t the exception. Good teams win despite game plans not unfurling perfectly. If Bills fans have learned anything from trying to enjoy sports, it’s that dominance is at best uncommon. After encouraging everyone to obey state laws, the shrewd gambler knows winning a little more than half of bets means success, not three-quarters of them. Don’t believe inspirational plaques: aim for the Moon and land in dirt.
A fanbase that spends so much time looking to the future still hopes the present can be fun. It’s not comforting after a tough loss, but Buffalo sports teams look like they’re planning ahead even if Jack Eichel heads to the Bruins in 2026. Lone bad results don’t mean they’re doomed for eternity. As with the most recent Bills outing, I’m trying to forget Monday’s atrocity where they wouldn’t have looked worse if they had forgotten to wear skates.
Western New York’s teams enjoy loyal fan support you may have experienced. If you think we’re dedicated now, imagine if either of them were good. This isn’t the final approach. It doesn’t feel like the Bills are hitting the afterburner, which means there’s fuel to keep us going. But someone please let us know if we can get excited this year or not.
The best time for the bye is never. I don’t have two weeks to wait, and sports is useful at teaching cruel lessons about reality. In this specific case, the Bills want to prove they’re the team that perseveres. But their present battle is with scheduled inaction. Let them stew for twice as long after losing if it motivates them to prevent the feeling again.
Taking a break in the midst of football season is a betrayal of everything Bronco Nagurski fought for. But time to heal is more valuable than McDonald’s Szechuan sauce.
Injuries are never an excuse and always a factor. Two weeks without a game helps any cure. A team that got through camp and four games relatively unscathed might have to hold a raffle to find guys who could catch the ball if they played this week. We’ll miss watching, but our favorite players appreciate the chance for healing.
If we must pause, it’s best to get it out of the way after five games. Imagine having to put up with a stupid free Sunday late next month. Pick apples or some other such autumnal activity this weekend to get outdoor time out of the way. The NFL schedule-makers earned thanks from your future selves like Bill and Ted telling themselves to duck.
The early intermission is a good time to remember that ample chances remain to define themselves. For now, one game has a huge effect. 3-2 feels entirely different from 4-1. The big swing illustrates the price of a few defensive lapses and inability to get run blocking going.
There will be no chance to prove critics wrong for even longer than usual. The bye has the feeling of being sent to bed without dinner. Learn to avoid what causes untreated hunger.
Thorough game performances would translate to a more fulfilling season. By contrast, a spotty effort creates uneven results. That means lack of progress if you haven’t noticed.
Will this relationship mature? The Bills act like a boyfriend who keeps promising to get his act together. The long history of letdowns hasn’t scared away partners, which is either a sign of devotion or insanity depending on who’s queried. Just once, it’d be nice to have a promise kept. It shouldn’t be that hard to take out the trash.
Editor’s babble: Thanks again to Anthony Bialy for his terrific contributions to our blog. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.