Monday, September 8, 2008

Week 1 in Review part 2: the Tim Russert Memorial highway

Let's forget the ugliness from the previous column and instead focus on the wonderfulness that is the 2008 Buffalo Bills. The opener contained more highlights than last season in its entirety. Marshawn looked like he could break every run. We had a dazzling punt return touchdown by Roscoe which was started and ended by fantastic blocks from Orchard Park's own, Jon Corto. We had the punter throwing a touchdown pass to a backup defensive end in a play that rarely works in high school, nonetheless the pros. The very next play saw Corto blowup the kick returner and the kicker (the mother f---ing kicker!) dive headlong into the pile to rip away the loose ball. That was followed by Trent going straight for the jugular by threading a 30 yard strike to Royal for a TD. It was almost too much goodness to absorb all at once, akin to opening your Christmas presents whilst sitting on the john.

Apart from the highlights you'd see on ESPN there were many little things that should make Bills fans even more excited as we look forward to the rest of the season. First of all, this year our defense goes forward when the ball is snapped rather than being pushed 5 yards backwards. This is a meaningful improvement. Stroud, Kawika Mitchell and Spencer Johnson add both size and surprising speed which have been sorely lacking from this team's D for the last couple years. Also they have gone back to the "mulling around" D which worked so well against the Cowboys last year. This is where the guys on the line just sort of linger in a menacing and confusing fashion. Seattle's offensive line looked both confused and terrified whenever the Bills employed this strategy. The D-line and linebackers took on a bit of crazy, erratic appearance. The Seahawks didn't know what to make of them. I liked that. The offensive line gave Trent all kinds of time and opened a couple huge holes for Marshawn. Kirk Chambers put in the best performance by a Kirk since the 1988 World Series. The special teams units looked even more dominating than last year even with the departure of some key players in the off-season. Bills fans can now replace their Aiken, Wire and Haggan jerseys with those of Corto, Costanzo and Wendling. YouTube legend John Wendling attempted to block Mare's field goal by leaping over the line. He made it over and landed on his feet but just missed the ball. He may have got a fingernail on it though it could have just been such a feeble kick that it looked tipped. I will have the PVR on during every opposing field goal try in an attempt to capture Wendling's amazing feat. When it happens (and it will) the tape will be more valuable then the Big Foot and Zapruder film combined. On top of all that, they came out of the game completely healthy with Jason Peters joining the squad after passing his physical.

By the way what was with Seattle and their miserable effort? They might as well have started Niles and Frasier as their defensive end pairing. The great Patrick Kerney had his ass handed to him all day even without having to utilize a double-team. If he'd registered a meaningless coverage sack I would have dubbed him the West Coast Aaron Schobel. He couldn't even manage that. The decision making by the team was abysmal. It was as if the players and coaches were in a contest to see who could make the other look worse. The fact that the Bills got the ball back at the end of the first half with as much time as they did was simply unforgivable. Perhaps the 'Hawks wasn't able to get up for the game given the unfamiliar surroundings. Admittedly it is difficult finding a good Soy-latte caramel macchiato or an unoaked chardonnay with the proper grassy mouthfeel to make the team feel at home. Maybe next time they make the trip to the Ralph they'll at least bring their own baristas.

So let's take a look at the AFC. The pre-season consensus favorites were New England, San Diego, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. Those four teams combined to win one measly game in week 1, New England's 17-10 squeaker at home to the awful Chiefs who were down to their backup quarterback. If the Chiefs were anything short of pathetic they would have at least tied the game. As an indication of how less rosy the Patriots fortunes look they are now the underdog next week against the Jets. The Jets just snuck by the Dolphins yesterday. San Diego and Indy both lost at home to teams that spent last post-season watching from home...and they were in the NFC! That's inexcusable. The Bills hosted an NFC opponent that actually won a playoff game last year and guess what? They really suck.

That brings us to Jacksonville, the Bills opponent in week 2. The Jags put forth a middling effort in losing to the Titans. If they truly were the team to beat they would have found a way to beat Tennessee and their non existent offense. The Holt family will leave Friday morning for Actionville with considerably more optimism than would have been the case just a few days ago, not only for that game but for the season as a whole. Last week the league was mathematically wide open. Today, it's actually wide open.


Anonymous said...

It's only one game....might not want to get ahead of yourself.

Steve Holt said...

Did the Allies say its only one battle after Normandy? Did Marie Curie say its only one experiment when she isolated the first isotope?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Normandy at the end of the war?

Steve Holt said...

Weren't you at the end of the war?