Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tennessee at Buffalo: Being a Bills Fan Is Getting Harder

In honor of Beavis and Butt-head: "Uhhh...he said 'getting harder.'"  Huh huh...

We’ll get to the Bills in a moment.  First I want to share a few links.  This entire blog entry is as disjointed as my recent feeling as a Bills fan have become. 

On the bright side, I should have more time to devote to my blog, now that football season is winding down.  We’ll review Old Dominion football’s third season of existence over the holidays.  The season ended with a loss in the playoffs, but to be frank I wouldn’t have bet on a winning season.  I am glad I was very, very wrong: my best-case scenario had the team winning eight games.  They would go on to win ten (nine in the regular season).

I provided a preview of last week’s quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs.  (I am not too humble to point out that I went four-for-four in my predictions of the games.)  You can also read my preview of Sam Houston State this weekend against Montana.

With football season over for the Monarchs, I am focusing more on basketball.  I’m attending one game every Saturday the rest of the regular season, and will attend at least part of the CAA tournament in March.  You can read my summary of Towson’s loss to UMBC by clicking on the link.

Now that I’m done pimping my stuff for other sites, let’s review Buffalo’s game against Tennessee.  They lost.  The Bills were down by two scores most of the game, and the Titans held on late to win, 23-17.  Chris Johnson continued his outstanding play (at the time) against a Buffalo defense that’s weak against the run.

I could go into a long analysis of the game but the tune this season is a familiar one, even when the Bills were winning early.  Except in a win against the Redskins weeks ago, Buffalo’s defense just hasn’t gotten the job done.  There are individual players who will clearly contribute over the next several years; the problem has been depth.  Deficiencies were masked by come-from-behind victories pulled out by the offense.

When I began writing this post I wanted to go into detail of the team’s defensive woes, but it gave me an idea for another post – examining why Buffalo hasn’t played a playoff game since January 2000.  I can’t do that adequately without doing research, but here are some highlights:

·        Hiring Gregg Williams in 2000 as a head coach when better options were available.
·        Drafting Willis McGahee in the first round in 2002 when the team already had a productive Travis Henry.  (It turns out Henry was certainly productive over the years, just not strictly on the field.)
·        Trading up to draft JP Losman in the 2004 draft after Pittsburgh already picked…Ben Roethlisberger.
o   As an aside, Microsoft’s Word 2010 recognizes “Roethlisberger” as an actual word, whereas it thinks “Losman” is a misspelling of “Lowman.”
·        Hiring Marv Levy as general manager in 2006, who hired Dick Jauron as his head coach.
·        Drafting Donte Whitner in 2006 even though Haloti Ngata was available.  The Bills were adamant about playing the 4-3 “Tampa Two” defense.
·        Drafting Aaron Maybin in 2009.  In the first round.  On purpose.  Even though we were adamant about playing the 4-3 “Tampa Two” defense.  He fit neither the lineman nor linebacker positions in the 4-3 defense.

And now, I am officially depressed.  Mind you, all these items happened between 2000 and 2009...and are issues that happened OFF THE FIELD.  Wait until I spell out how these impacted losses when I examine the worst games of the past decade. 

But we’re going to move on from that and just get to the pictures.  I promise the next post about the Bills will have more oomph to it...probably once the season is over and I can be more objective about ANOTHER YEAR OF NOT MAKING THE PLAYOFFS.

The Jills performed before the game.

Former Bills great Steve Christie waved a flag to pump up the crowd.
Matt Hasselback led the Titans to a score on this opening drive.
McIntyre (38) opened led the way for Choice (30).
Fitzpatrick is the Bills' best QB since Drew Bledsoe in 2002.
Chris Johnson rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns. 
Fitzpatrick is having a better season than his stats (and win/loss record) indicate.

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