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Are the Bills a Good Team or a Bad Team?
The Struggle Within
by Tony Bogyo
October 21, 2004

Color me happy – the Bills are off the schnide and have populated the win column.

Despite the opinions of some fans, I am entitled to revel in the Bills victory over the Dolphins on Sunday. I had a great time watching the Bills play inspired football at home against their archrivals from south Florida as I cheered with over a hundred fellow members of the Boston Bills Backers (if ever you find yourself in Beantown on a game day come join us at the Harp – no better place to be!).

Sunday’s game was both good and bad. The pessimist in me has been such a strong force thus far in the season having free reign over my personality. Sunday the optimist awoke from a long coma, wriggled out of his straightjacket and decided to make a play for my conscious personality.

Maybe it was the chowdah (I’ve got to stop eating that stuff), but as I reflected on the afternoon’s win I could actually hear the two components of my subconscious battle it out as if they were on a political debate show (then again, maybe it was the beer and the incessant election coverage on TV).

Hello, and welcome to Crossfire. Our subject tonight – the 20-13 Buffalo Bills win over the Miami Dolphins earlier today. With us tonight from the optimists is Mr. Happy Fan and from the pessimists is Mr. Miserable Sunofva. Gentlemen, welcome.

Jim Moderator: I’ll start with you, Mr. Fan.

Fan: Please, call me Happy.

Moderator: OK then, Happy. Tell me, what was your reaction to today’s exciting victory?

Happy: I’ll tell you – that was a heck of a game – I am so pumped! The Bills won! What a great victory! They played well in all facets of the game and deserved this win. Great performances by individual players and as a team. I’m proud of each and every one of those guys. A win is great, but when it comes at the expense of a division archrival like the Dolphins its almost too sweet for word.

Moderator: Mr. Sunofva, what’s your take on the game?

Sunofva: Call me Miserable – I can’t stand when people call me Mr. Sunofva. Today’s game was nothing to get exited about. The Bills are still a bad team with a bad record. They beat the worst team in football – a squad that’s lost every legitimate star they had to injury or a bong and whose current superstar is Jay Fiedler. Miami isn’t even a top 25 college program this year. I don’t think this win in going to catapult the Bills up the power rankings. Come next week the Bills will be back to their losing ways.

Moderator: What about the offense – you’ve got to be impressed with how the Bills moved the ball and their commitment to the run.

Happy: The offense was impressive. The offensive line seems to finally be gelling and created some holes in the running game. They gave Drew Bledsoe some time to throw and he took some shots downfield to keep the defense honest. Miami is still an elite defense and the Bills offensive productions shows that they can hang with anyone in the league. I know these guys will be able to score on Baltimore next week.

Miserable: Miami is a tale of two defenses. Statistically they were #2 coming into the game but that’s deceptive. They had the #1 ranked pass defense but only 5 teams were worse than them when it came to the stopping the run. With the swirling winds in Orchard Park the Bills had to rely heavily on the run that played right to Miami’s weaknesses. If the Bills could have thrown more they probably would have and it probably would have cost them the game.

Happy: How can you not be happy with the performance of Willis McGahee? The kid was great! He went over the century mark – 111 yards on 26 carries to be exact – and showed that he’s the Bills back of the future. He was quick to the hole and when there was no hole he made his own – the kid just dragged defenders wherever he went. This kid’s the real deal – he’s back from his injury and showing why the Bills made a great move by drafting him in the first round in 2003. The Bills didn’t miss Travis Henry at all and I can’t wait until they get a king’s ransom for him in a trade after this season.

Miserable: You’ve got to be kidding me. McGahee plays one game and you’re ready to call him the back of the future? A one game audition against one of the worst run defenses in the league seals the deal? Even if he can stay healthy (a big if – that surgically-repaired knee may always be a single hit away from disaster), there’s no guarantee he’ll put up good numbers consistently. Don’t make me remind you of the last Bills who was anointed the star of the future based on a single strong performance – where is Rob Johnson today, anyway?

Moderator: Well, you certainly have your differences when it comes to the offense. What about the defense?

Happy: The defense played a great game. They kept the pressure on the quarterback and finished with 5 sacks. Ron Edwards had a coming out party with two sacks and four tackles – I always knew this guy was a gem! Takeo Spikes was fantastic – he read Fiedler perfectly on the interception and then took it to the house – this guy’s a Pro Bowler!

Miserable: Wow – we beat an offense lead by a guy who played college ball at Dartmouth. Coming into the game the fish were ranked 28th in total offense – at the bottom of both the rush and the pass. The defense allowed Sammy Morris, the third string running back to rush for 91 yards on 18 carries – that’s over 5 yards per carry! They shut down the pass against a mediocre quarterback who was dealing with a gusty wind – hardly something to brag about. Edwards played well but only got a shot because Sam Adams played so poorly. The big beer man threw a tantrum and refused to come out of the game and has vowed to never play another down for Jerry Gray. Yes sir, the Bills know how to ensure every ray of sunshine has a dark shadow behind it.

Moderator: Now that the Bills have a win, what’s your outlook on the rest of the season?

Happy: This win was a turning point. The Bills lost some close games to some very good teams. The Pats and the Jets are undefeated – arguably some of the best in the NFL and we could have won each of those games. We can play with any team in the league and I expect the Bills to go on a winning streak. Mark my words – the Bills will go to the playoffs this year and all the pessimists will have no right to celebrate with the rest of us “true fans”.

Miserable: A playoff team? There is no way on earth the Bills make the playoffs this season. They aren’t going to beat the Pats or the Jets for the AFC East title and they’re going to have to win way too many games to get a wild card birth. This team beat a bad Miami team – it may be one of the few wins they get this season. They’ll be lucky to go 6-10 this year. Be realistic – this is a less than average team.

Moderator: Even if the Bills don’t make the playoffs this year, aren’t you excited about the future given the young talent they have on the roster?

Happy: This Bills squad has plenty of good years ahead of it. As I said before, Willis is the man – he’s going to be a top back in the NFL when he’s out on the field full time. Lee Evans is already showing he has the speed and the hands to open up the offense – he’s going to be a top receiver. JP Losman is going to be great – he has the arm and the mobility to succeed in the modern NFL. If Bledsoe can make this offense respectable in a game like Sunday’s, just imagine what Losman will be able to do. On the defense Edwards showed that the Bills might have a guy to compliment Aaron Schobel. We’ll get a first round pick back next year when we trade Henry and that’ll mean yet another young star will find a home with the Bills.

Miserable: The young guys on the Bills haven’t shown anything yet. McGahee has played in one game – will he stay healthy? Will he be a star or a bust? Losman hasn’t taken a single snap, and forgive me for being a bit suspect of a first round quarterback prospect – for every Peyton Manning there are plenty of Ryan Leafs. Evans has shown some good stuff but it remains to be seen if he can be a consistent factor. Edwards could be a one hit wonder. There is no way on earth the Bills will recoup a first round draft pick for Henry so any future young players will come from the second round or later.

Moderator: Well I thank each of you for being here with us tonight – you both have some valid points and definitely make you think about this Bills team. I guess only time will tell which one of you had a more accurate outlook on the team.

And as soon as started, the bizarre debate show in my head was over. I have to admit – it was a pretty weird Sybil kind of experience. It’s not easy having mixed feelings about the Bills – it’s much easier to just take a position and stick with it. I think I’m going to find that optimist and beat him back into a coma and make sure I don’t eat chowdah again.

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