I know many readers and even my coworkers here at Water Cooler Sports are going to think that this is a pure spinzone piece. That I’m so pissed off from sitting through 3 hours of constant wind, rain, and cold only to see my beloved Bills get the doors blown off by a struggling Eagles team that I need to find an excuse for why this is a good thing. But all you h8rs are wrong. I firmly #billieve what you’re about to read.
This Bills team has been underperforming from the start and yet they are still managing to win games, which I’m happy about. However, most of these games are games they should be winning without a doubt and instead, they are just squeaking by. Jets, Dolphins, Bengals, Titans, Giants. With (I think) the exception of the Giants, they trailed to every one of those teams at some point in the game. They would either come out in the first half and look awesome, only to flounder in the 3rd quarter and be forced to ball out in the 4th or they would come out flat in the first half and have to pull some heroics in the 4th.
If that happens one or two times, that is fine — a win is a win after all. But when that becomes habit then it is a problem and here’s why: in the locker room after each of these wins, the message from the coaches is “good win, its not quite up to our standards but hey, we win ugly. There is no quit in this team and that’s what I love to see.” Again, it’s great that there is no quit in the team and they persevere, we definitely don’t want to lose that quality. But then if this is the message, what incentive is there to improve? We’re winning and we’re winning the “Buffalo way” — ugly, dirty, gritty — so why stop winning that way if it’s working?
The loss to the Eagles should be a wake up call to this team. Yeah you’ve been winning ugly in games against far inferior opponents but that ain’t gonna cut it anymore. You aren’t as good as you think and if you really want to be a contender in this league and live up to the playoff expectations that have been set for you, you need to step it up and take it to the next level. No more good halves or quarters — it’s time to put together full games of football where you come out and punch the other team in the mouth for a full four quarters, never get comfortable, and never let your foot off the gas.
That is the message I’m hoping McDermott and the rest of the coaching staff are relaying to this team. If it is another “that wasn’t up to our standard but there’s a lot of heart in this locker room and we’ll watch the tape” speech, then this team is going to stall out and finish middle of the road as usual. They need to get their minds straight, crush the Redskins at home next week, and set the pace for the remaining half of the season.
Maybe they’ll also do something at the trade deadline to help plug some holes, who knows.