Bills Loss to Ravens – Is It Just A Blip?

13 Sep

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When you’re talking Buffalo Bills football, it’s not really a matter of the classic half-empty vs. half-full argument. Rather, the cup is riding on the Rex Ryan Express with the bridge out which happens to span a chasm over the fiery abyss of Hell and Bill Belichick.

In other words, a 13-7 loss to Baltimore to open the season has everyone in a ripe good mood in Western New York. Gifs of people expressing various methods of abandoning ship before it’s even exited the harbor.  Even I myself had my own share of snarky moments on social media in response to the desolate affair by the Chesapeake. It has become a coping mechanism for us all, trying to use clever self-deprecation to fend off the inferiority complex that 16+ years of mediocrity has brought.

But this offseason, the Bills have turned the oven up to high on this Hot-Take Casserole. A rather slimy slab of Rex Ryan proclaiming offseason victory was sandwiched between two stale pieces of long-term injuries to draft picks Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland. Add a layer of rancid drug suspension mayonnaise, and you’re left with a plate of disgust (and maybe a case of the munchies).

Take that mess and couple it with a Week 1 sleepwalk against the Ravens, you had better start bracing yourself for the backlash, Bills. The fans aren’t happy. The owners shouldn’t be, either.

Sure, Terry and Kim Pegula have their Thursday night sellout, where they will retire Bruce Smith’s number 78. But you turn a sellout crowd against you, and it’s not going to be pretty. Especially troublesome is the opponent, Ryan’s former employer, the New York Jets. They had a collapse last week against a good Cincinnati Bengal team, a team that most people would rate higher than the Ravens. No one wants to head back to the locker room sitting at 0-2 Thursday night.

So will the Ravens game be only a blip in an otherwise successful season? For that to be the case, they almost certainly have to down the Jets at this point. With the Cardinals and the 1-0 Patriots to follow, a loss to New York leaves a chance at 0-4, which would be a disastrous opening.

And earlier I said the owners shouldn’t be happy. This is their second venture into trying to toss big bucks at a sports team lacking the key piece. The Pegulas tried to splash into free agency with the Sabres at their first chance, when that team was clearly on the road down. That didn’t outright fail, but it was mediocre.

That’s what Week 1 of the 2016 Buffalo Bills season looked like to the success-starved Buffalo sports fan. Mediocre. Tyrod Taylor unveiled his homage to Trent Edwards, checking down incessantly. This has been a hallmark of Bills mediocrity, quarterbacks that either lack the mental capacity or wherewithal to analyze the pass coverage and hang in there long enough for the play to develop.

Nobody said that the QB position is easy in the NFL. It’s extremely rare for a late-round draft pick to succeed at QB in the NFL, and the fact the Bills have gone this far down the path shows you their desperation. It’s one thing to be an underdog punching above their weight like Taylor did last year. It’s another for a guy to step up to starting QB salary and then be expected to deliver. Some guys just can’t handle that kind of pressure.

For the Ravens game to not be a blip, the Bills must revert back to 2015 form on offense. That won’t be easy against a Jets defense looking for blood. The Bills killed off the Jets’ playoff chances in 2015, and they will certainly remember that. They’ll also remember Rex, their one-time leader, who made a spectacle of himself after the Bills won their first primetime meeting last year. He celebrated with such passion and glee that you’d thought he had won his own personal Super Bowl. I suppose he had.

But this one might be more important for him. Because as stated before, and 0-2 start could quickly spiral into an 0-4 start, and that would begin the real clamor for major front office, coaching, and on-field personnel changes at One Bills Drive.

It might be premature, but in the current climate among Bills fans, this era of mediocrity must end soon. And if the Bills aren’t able to notch a win Thursday night, the Rex Ryan Express might begin its descent into the depths of NFL infamy.

 

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