Hey Bills fans, I know it was a heart-breaking loss, and I know it brought back those harrowing memories of “Wide Right” and “Home-Run Throwback” and that last-second loss to the Dallas Cowboys by the exact same score on a Monday Night Football Game two years ago. But you need to come down off the ledge and focus on the positive things that occurred in that 25-24 loss in New England last night.
Let’s be honest, now, most of you went into that game, like me, thinking doom-and-gloom. All the ingredients were there for a rout of monumental proportions. Tom Brady’s triumphant return. The Bills dearth of NFL experience and cohesiveness along the offensive line. Trent Edwards’ crisis of confidence. Genius Bill Belichick matching wits with a guy incredibly lucky to still have a head coaching job after three straight 7-9 seasons.
Everything was against the Bills, and they came out and gave a whale of an effort. Yes, I know, true to their history, they found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Why didn’t Leodis McKelvin protect the ball and the lead and go down immediately when hit instead of foolishly trying to be a hero and thinking he could break one? And what’s with all the penalties, especially at crucial times.
But let’s look at the positive things.
Edwards showed poise, leadership and intelligence out there. He looked a lot like the quarterback with great potential that we saw early last season. The offensive line, boasting three guys who had never played in a real NFL game before, did a fair job of protecting Edwards and opening up some holes for Fred Jackson while going up against one of the stoutest D-lines in football. Terrell Owens may have only caught two passes, but he still played a major-role as a decoy, attracting extra attention from the New England defense.
And thanks to healthy veteran Aaron Schobel and high-energy newcomer Aaron Maybin, the Bills were able to get some pressure on Brady, which the Giants showed two Super Bowls ago, is the only way you’re going to have any chance of stopping the Patriots high-octane attack.
Look, I’m not naïve enough to think the Bills have turned the corner on the basis of one inspiring performance. There remain a ton of questions with this team, and the injuries to linebacker Paul Posluszny and Jackson, are losses a team this thin in talent can ill afford.
But Bills fans should remember what their mind-set was a few minutes before kickoff last night. Admit it, you weren’t merely thinking rout, you were thinking a lost season. You had written off 2009 and were looking ahead to the possibility of drafting Colt McKoy or Tim Tebow as your next quarterback-of-the-future candidate.
Monday’s loss was indeed gut-wrenching, but it also provided hope that this season might turn out a lot better than most of us thought.