NFL Review: Flipping the Script (For Now)

So far through this season, we’ve seen a minor shift.  We’ve seen a shift to the rookie quarterbacks taking the helm (Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder surely soon to follow), we’ve seen the Colts fall to the back due to Manning’s injury, and we’ve seen the… Buffalo Bills rise to the top?  We’re talking about a team that went 4-12 last season!  We’re talking about a team that had the 25th ranked offense and 24thranked defense in the league last season!  But this year, we’re talking about a team that leads the league in points scored (37.7 ppg) and is 3rd in total yards (431.0 ypg).

The Bills started this season with a 41-7 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs that I definitely didn’t see coming, and then continued on to rally from behind to be the Oakland Raiders at home last week.  Yesterday came the ultimate test of the season (at least so far) for the Bills, defending their home turf against a team that had beaten them 15 times in a row, the New England Patriots.  The Pats jumped out to a 21-0 lead until Ryan Fitzpatrick hooked up with Stevie Johnson for the Bills first score and went into the half down 21-10.  The Bills put up a good fight in the second half, culminating with a tug of war in the 4th quarter when the Bills took the lead for the first time in the game 31-24 on a pick-6 from Tom Brady.  Brady then led his team down the field and scored to knot the game back up at 31 with 3:25 left in the game, and set the stage for a dramatic finish.

The last few moments of this game included a pass from Fitzpatrick to Fred Taylor that was initially ruled a touchdown, but after review the ball was placed at the 1 yard line.  After the call revision was made, Bellichick was arguing with an official on the sideline, an argument that ended with New England burning their second of three timeouts in the half with 1:43 left in the game.  With only one timeout left, the Bills were going to be able to run the clock down to about 40 seconds and kick a field goal to take a 34-31 lead before having to kick the ball back to the Patriots.  But, on the play after Bellichick used his last timeout Vince Wilfork got called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave the Bills a brand new set of downs, and the rest of the clock to work with.  They ran the clock down to :03 and Ryan Lindell kicked a field goal to not only break that 15 game losing streak, but to push the Bills season record to 3-0.

So what did I learn?  Orchard Park is no longer a place to go for an easy win, and Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.



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