Bengals 23, Bills 20

Oh well.

What it feels like to be a Bills fan these days

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this game. The Bills weren’t able to generate consistent offense, which is the major reason they lost; they let the Bengals hang around and hang around and it eventually cost them. It happens…especially when you’re not quite as good a team as folks may have been supposing. The Bengals have a pretty good defense, and it gave the Bills fits for most of the day. Tight end Scott Chandler wasn’t much of a factor at all, Ryan Fitzpatrick faced heavier pass rush than he’s seen all year, and the running game had flashes but never got into rhythm. Couple that with the Bills’ typical misfiring in the first quarter and with the officials either making — or not making — a pretty interesting number of calls that either favored the Bengals or penalized the Bills, and you have…a loss.

I’m not one to blame the refs, but they really do play a role, and there were a couple of times when a correct call would have either sustained a Bills drive or ended a Cincinnati one. Does this mean they would have won, with the right calls? Of course not. Maybe if the Stevie Johnson catch is ruled a catch and the Bills get a first down, Fitz throws an interception on the very next play. We’ll never know…but the Bills didn’t get that chance, and that sucks. I’ve never totally bought into the notion that “Good teams make their own breaks”; no matter how good you are, there will be times when luck is just going to plain screw you.

On the flip side of that, I also disagree with the notion that good teams overcome bad things that happen, and that therefore the fact that the Bills didn’t indicates something. I’ve noticed a tendency among football folks, commentators and fans alike, to assume that whenever a team does something, it’s because they’re good enough to do it; and the reverse: that if a team doesn’t do something it needs to do, it’s because they’re not good enough to do it. The problem here is simple: it fails to account for the fact that the other team exists. Just because your team doesn’t get the first down, or score the points, or even win the game does not always mean that they’re not good enough to have done so. There seems to be way too much reading-of-the-tea-leaves in football these days.

But yeesh, the Bills’ defense needs some help. They’ve got a few good players — Kyle Williams, Bryan Scott, rookie Marcel Dareus — but somebody on the linebacking corps really needs to step up. And Leodis McKelvin is teetering on the brink of “bust” status.

What really stinks is that I was going to try to figure out how to make my pie-faced football fan’s shirt tiger-striped. Oh well! Next up: the Eagles, who won’t be easy. At all.

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