When youíre trapped in no manís land you should probably just try to make the best of it Ė thatís how I figure it, anyway.
After a crushing three game slide, the Bills are back to winning in this crazy yo-yo season. Wait for the Bills to lose and they start winning; start getting excited and they look terrible. Get behind the coach who is moving in the right direction, beat your head against the wall when he makes a ridiculous quarterback change at a terrible time. Like other Bills fans, thereís time when I honestly donít know what to do as I watch another game.
The Bills may have proved that they arenít as bad as their last three weeks have suggested, but at 6-5 they find themselves on a no manís land. Thanks to a quirky schedule, the Bills play division rivals New England twice, Miami twice and host Indianapolis. If history is any indicator, the Bills arenít likely to win either of the New England games as Belichickís crew may still have a reason to play (and if they donít, the coach still likes to run up the score on other teams). To realistically have a shot at the playoffs the Bills will need to finish 9-7, which means sweeping Miami and beating Indianapolis Ė possible, but very questionable considering how up and down the Bills have been this season.
And so the Bills find themselves in the all too familiar no manís zone between an extremely difficult strong finish to finally get them over the hump, and falling just short to draft in the middle of the pack again. The Bills have come so close to the playoffs over their epic drought Ė each year seems as if they were only one or two games away from making it happen. Games short of the playoffs is like the left on base statistic in baseball Ė a measure of frustration and lost hope.
OK, so letís try and enjoy where we are today. At 6-5, the Bills are ďin the huntĒ, so thatís good, although Sundayís games werenít a tremendous help to the Bills in terms of tie-breakers. The Bills did show some life to folks who counted them out. For weeks the national media declared the Bills all but dead after some really terrible losses against the Jets, New Orleans and the Chargers and it got bad enough to where even deeper local observers who follow the team started thinking the Bills success was just a thin veneer. The Bills proved they arenít as bad as their previous three games and gave a loss to a team whose first round draft pick they hold in the spring.
On Sunday I saw a team play a stout first half defense Ė forcing Kansas City to punt in their first five possessions and give up a short 32 yard drive for a field goal. The Bills held the Chiefs to 57 yards of offense in the first half Ė 18 on the ground and 39 through the air. The Bills also garnered a sack and gave up only two plays longer than six yards.
Offensively the Bills were far from fantastic, but they did move the ball when they had to. Early in the game both teams struggled offensively, so much that I commented that the punters were each receiving oxygen on their respective sidelines Ė youíve never seen punters work so hard.
Itís hard to say that anyone on the offensive side of the ball had a great game. LeSean McCoy was his normal slippery self, but for every run with positive yardage there was at least one where he got nothing or even less. Tyrod was Tyrod Ė he had some nice passes and bought time with his feet but missed some receivers and threw passes that would have gone for much better yardage if they were better placed. In truth, the Bills played well enough to beat a team that is really struggling after a hot start, but Iím not sure how many other teams they would have beat on Sunday.
In the past I would have probably harped on how bad Kansas City looked and how beating them didnít prove much. I would also complained about how the playoffs are an incredible long shot and that every win probably hurts the Bills more than it helps. Iíd think about all holes the team needs to fill at so many different positions to really be contenders. Iíd probably lament the state of the quarterback and the road to finding another (please, please, please find a quarterback and end this purgatory!). Iím not going to do that right now Ė considering the Bills have shown more than I expected this season Iím just going to chill out and try to enjoy the rest of the season, playoffs or 8 wins be damned. Just because youíre in no manís land doesnít mean you canít try to enjoy your stay.
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