The Bills were 4-0, averaging over 27 points a game and allowing only 17.5.
QB Trent Edwards was being mentioned in the early-season MVP conversation.
Then the team went to Arizona. And Adrian Wilson went all James Harrison on Edwards’ head. It all went terribly wrong for the Bills after that. They lost that game (41-17) and eight of their next eleven to finish the season 7-9.
And since that game, counting this season, the Bills have gone 21-43.
Not that the previous eight seasons were any better for the Bills, but that season felt like things were finally turning around for the franchise’s long playoff drought. Then that day happened. And it didn’t turn around. It only got worse. And we’re still here. Waiting. Maybe for an exorcism? To go back to the scene of the crime? Maybe that’s exactly what’s needed. To go back to where this all fell apart when it finally started to feel so promising.
Look at the similarities of the situations.
The Cards were 2-2 entering that game in ’08. The Bills are 2-3 now.
The Cards are 4-1 now. The Bills were 4-0 then.
The Cards were in a nine-year playoff drought at that time. The Bills drought is now at twelve.
Of course the Cards went to the Super Bowl that seas….. Ok, that's going far enough. I’ll stop there.
I know, I know, I’m reaching here. But I’m searching for something….anything. More searching after you read all this……
3 Other Must-See NFL Games For Week 6:
Patriots at Seahawks: The Pats offense is #1 in the NFL in both scoring points and yards per game. But they'll be facing the top-ranked defense in the league this week, and in a very tough place to play. One of these teams is dropping to 3-3 overall. Seattle can run the ball, too. They have the NFC's leading rusher in former Bill Marshawn Lynch (508 yards). But it may have to be rookie QB Russell Wilson who has to win this one for the Seahawks, because New England is 8th in the NFL against the run, but only 30th against the pass. Tom Brady has a TD pass in 37 consecutive games. That's the third longest streak in NFL history.
Giants at 49ers: A rematch of last year's NFC title game in which the Giants won in overtime. Bills fans know too well what San Fran can do on offense with last week's game still fresh in their minds. But the Giants have one of the most potent attacks in the league, too. They're averaging over 30 points per game. Eli Manning has 200 or more yards passing in 24 consecutive games, the 2nd longest streak in NFL history.
Giants/49ers NFC Championship. 1990......
Packers at Texans: Green Bay is in a lot of trouble. They're already 2-3, two games behind both the Vikings and Bears in the NFC North, and have resembled nothing like we've come to expect from them on offense so far this season. The Texans look like the best team in the NFL, certainly the AFC, right now. They're an extremely balanced team and have maybe the best defensive player in the league right now in JJ Watt. However, losing Brian Cushing will hurt that third-ranked defense. Cushing leads the team in tackles (22), has an interception, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will try somehow to take advantage of his absence.
NFL Fact Hopefully Not Only I Find Interesting:
Since the current playoff format (12 teams) was instituted in 1990, 13 teams have rebounded from being at least three games under .500 after the season’s first five weeks or later to qualify for the postseason. Most recently, Denver was 1-4 and then 2-5 last season and came back to make the playoffs (winning their division) at 8-8.
Not As Good of a Week, But Still Rolling Along:
After two straight 3-0 weeks, I fell back to earth at 1-2 with my "3 Dog Saturday" selections on WGR. I'm upset at Willis McGahee for fumbling. If he holds on to the ball in New England as the Broncos were near the goal line, I most likely cover the 6 1/2 point spread. But he didn't and the Broncos lost by 10 to the Patriots. But that's the way it goes. Close doesn't count when picking games against the spread. As it stands, I'm still a very nice 11-4 on the season and looking to improve even more on that mark this weekend. You can hear the picks every Saturday during the 1pm hour of the show.
3 College Games Worth Your Time:
Texas vs. Oklahoma (at Dallas): The annual Red River Rivalry. And I've always actually wondered, is the River really Red? Either way, it is one of the better rivalries in college football over the past few decades has lost a bit of its luster the last few years because one team or the other (or both) just haven't been as good as the nation had been accustomed. This isn't actually a Big 12 elimination game, but the loser will already have two conference losses and certainly have a tough time to figure into the championship picture at the end of the season. The teams have split the last four against each other and it's a 4-3 Texas edge since 2005.
Where's the football game?!?!
South Carolina at LSU: The Gamecocks want the nation to know who the better USC is this season. And they're probably right. Steve Spurrier's team is 6-0, 4-0 in the SEC, and is doing it by - get this - running the ball and playing defense! Unlike the Ol' Ball Coach's aerial assault teams of the past, this one will challenge you physically and can win in different ways. But a night game at LSU is easily their toughest test so far. The Tigers record in home night games under Les Miles is 34-1. Read that again. 34-1. And although we saw the Tigers were human last week, Miles is 17-1 in games following a loss, and 6-0 when that game is at home. This should be a terrific contest. And it will be played on a field that actually numbers their 5-yard lines, not just every ten yards:
I never knew where the 45 yard line was! Go figure!
Stanford at Notre Dame: The Catholics took care of business against the Convicts last week, but now have to face the nerds from Stanford. But those nerds can play! They're 4-1, ranked 7th in the nation stopping the run, and already beat USC. What a terrific job Brian Kelly has done at Notre Dame. The Irish are 5-0 for the first time since 2002 and Kelly's team is doing it with great defense. They've allowed less than 184 yards passing and 107 yards rushing a game.
Notre Dame has Touchdown Jesus. Stanford has a tree!
NFL Fact Hopefully Not Only I Find Interesting Part II:
Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has thrown for 300 yards (313 and 362) in each of this team's past two games. With a 300-yard game Sunday against the Jets, Luck will become the first rookie QB to pass for 300 or more yards in three consecutive games in NFL history.
Jim Kelly. Houston Gamblers.
Jim Kelly had nine 300-yard games as a rookie in 1984. But that was with the Houston Gamblers, of course. So, that doesn’t count. But it does bring me back to……
Bills at Cardinals:
The Cards have allowed 17 sacks the past two weeks. SEVENTEEN! They have now lost their top two running backs from a rushing attack that is already only 31st in the league. It feels like they’re just waiting for their quarterback, Kevin Kolb, to give them an excuse to pull him and start John Skelton. If this isn’t the week the Bills defense gets a lot better and quickly, there may not be some guys coming home on the plane with them Sunday night. Even with Mark Anderson’s injury and all the records for futility they set last week, this just has to be exactly what the doctor ordered for them. That doctor could also be Kevorkian, of course.
So how the heck is Arizona 4-1? Because they play pretty darn good defense. They’ve already taken the ball away eleven times and have allowed only 15.6 points per game. The Bills, already missing two starting offensive linemen and a backup, and already giving the ball away thirteen times, may be just the prey the Cardinals need to get over their 17-3 loss last Thursday night in St. Louis.
A lot’s been made of the Bills staying out west this week after their game in San Francisco. Questions about whether or not it will make any difference at all. For better or worse. I actually believe it will benefit them. Not because of the body, rest, time adjustment, and all those things (although they may help, too), but because of how much time they’ll be able to spend together, as a team, trying to recover and rally together. This offseason was a much different one for this organization. They spent far more money than they ever have before. They brought high-priced talent into a locker room filled with undrafted free agents, 6th and 7th round selections, and other guys who normally feel like underdogs and wear those labels proudly together and feel a kinship towards one another because of that.
Those strong bonds, for the first time, had other layers added to them. And they haven’t meshed well so far. At least not on the field.
The Bills are hoping the players’ experiences with each other off the field will translate to better play on the field. Getting to know each other better. Understanding each others’ personalities better. Learning about one another and wanting to fight for each other more.
And given the opponent they’re playing and the situation the Cardinals are in themselves, one week in the desert may somehow become the perfect storm. Bills 23-16.
--Sal CapaccioFollow me on twitter: @SalSports