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Opinion: 5-1 should feel better than this

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Miami Dolphins v Buffalo BillsPhoto by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

It’s different when it’s you rather than another team

Whatever Buffalo Bills fans thought being 5-1 would feel like, it doesn’t feel exactly like that. It’s less savory than expected.

No one knew at the beginning of the 2019 season that the AFC would be such a top- and bottom-heavy conference. Only four AFC teams currently sit within one game in either direction of .500. That feels odd, although it may not be (I’m not digging through the record books to find previous years’ Week 7 standings). The point is it’s hard to know who you are in comparison of those around you if they’re all bad.


The Fitzpatrick Fish

The Miami Dolphins found some serious life with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. The previously dominant Bills defense was pushed around in the run game and Levi Wallace was taken advantage of in the passing game. An offense that was expected to be tepid at best was frustratingly effective and went into the fourth quarter with a 14-9 lead. It would have likely been even worse if Tre’Davious White didn’t come up with an exceptional interception to stop the Dolphins’ 10-minute opening drive of the second half.

Why did Miami move the ball so much better than we expected? Why was their run game so effective? Why did Ryan Fitzpatrick have a better day against this team than Tom Brady did three weeks ago?

These are the questions that stain the minds of Bills fans as they reflect on another fourth-quarter comeback where the Bills put up 22 unanswered points to walk away with a win on Sunday.

So what are the Bills?

5-1 is great; it’s literally damn-near perfect. No one wants to give any of the wins back. But the issue is that in previous years when Bills fans would look at another team with a record similar to 5-1, they’d almost certainly be thought of as a “good” team. But now when looking in the mirror to see that same record, it’s harder to feel like that title really sticks to this team.

The offense can move the ball but struggles to finish in the end zone. The defense was great until today when they suddenly seemed mortal (or worse) against the worst talent they’ve faced all year. Josh Allen has made progress, but there’s so much more needed.

So what are the Bills? Well, as Bill Parcells would say, “you are what your record says you are.” Somehow it doesn’t feel so simple for the Bills. Partially that’s because their opponents to date have been a combined 12-26. How good are you when you’ve beaten teams with a combined record of 6-26 and lost to a team that is 6-0? Perhaps even more importantly, how good are you when you win and lose the way the Bills have?

What will we learn next week?

Ultimately the Bills came out flat and uninspired from their bye but still got the win. Now they move on to prepare for a far more formidable challenge in the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

Each week, Bills fans find themselves saying “if we do _____ this week, then we’ll know if they’re good.” That week then comes and goes, the Bills accomplish some semblance of the requested thing from that game, and fans are still unable to commit to an opinion about the team.

There is no end in sight for this cycle. The Bills haven’t been here often and all this mental muscle memory is being built within the fan base for the first time in nearly two decades. It’s safe to say it’s going to be a slow go of it until either the Wild Card is virtually clinched or the offense shows up in a way they haven’t yet in 2019. The opportunity for the latter will be there again this Sunday at New Era Field. And the Sunday after that. And so on.


You can follow me on Twitter @NickBat and look for episodes of “The Nick & Nolan Show” podcast on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network.

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I feel great !

 

Do I have my doubts ? Yeah. There's certainly some stuff out there that needs to be worked on. But we are 5-1. I wonder how many of the board's members predicted that. Lets enjoy that instead of bitching like babies about "not blowing the fish out of the water" .... Fitz played good. Don't ever overlook a winless team. Desperation can work in positive ways. Believe me I would've loved to see a beatdown but it just hasn't been our thing. Not this year, not since the Kelly days. It was dumb to expect it. 

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I don't think we're ever going to blow games open. Once we get a couple score lead McDermott goes into "play not to lose" mode. It's infuriating and I fully expect it to bite us in the ass but so far we've been finding ways to win which is what good teams do.

This season reminds me of Oakland in 2016 where they were winning all their games by single digits, usually winning them late in the 4th quarter. They went 12-4 but lost Carr to a broken leg in Week 16 and were bounced in the WC round.

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its a team where the defense is complete but the offense isnt

the offense still is missing a real wr opposite brown and at least one side of the line being above average

they are built to win low scoring games. and they have a qb with a knack for the comeback

other than being a year away from finishing the rebuild, seems fine to me

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37 minutes ago, Meathead said:

its a team where the defense is complete but the offense isnt

the offense still is missing a real wr opposite brown and at least one side of the line being above average

they are built to win low scoring games. and they have a qb with a knack for the comeback

other than being a year away from finishing the rebuild, seems fine to me

The Bills 10 year rebuild lol

Other teams rebuild take 1/3rd of the time.

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They are who they thought we are. lol

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This year it's just hard to tell. Teams look solid one week and laughable the next. There are two winless teams in the league, and a number of 1 and 2 win teams. This seems like a hard year for any team to really gauge itself and find identity. The Bills are 5-1, which is awesome! And the argument that they haven't really played any good teams is valid. Or have they? Some of those teams have been "in" games against the very good teams (or the teams that seem very good). You could even look at the Pats at 6-0 and say they haven't played anyone good.... not sure that argument is entirely accurate this year. It's just hard to tell.

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34 minutes ago, LiterateStylish said:

The Bills 10 year rebuild lol

Other teams rebuild take 1/3rd of the time.

This team with this management and coaching staff is in its 3rd year.  Now FWIW, I had the Eagles as a loss when I first saw the schedule.  That said, I think this game is a toss up.  Will I be disappointed if they lose? Depends, they stay in it to the end and its less than 7 points than I have no complaints.  However, I won't go Sean and Lit until and unless a loss to Philly becomes a loss to Philly, Washington, Cleveland, Miami.  I will not judge this team on the merits of past regimes.   

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40 minutes ago, LiterateStylish said:

The Bills 10 year rebuild lol

Other teams rebuild take 1/3rd of the time.

you make it sound like ALL teams rebuilds take 1/3rd of the time when you say it.

 

There's still teams in limbo for 10+

 

We are in year 3 of our new administration, and are 5-1 and looking at a playoff spot, with one of the top cap spaces next year as well.  Sounds to me like McBeane are doing a damn good job of rebuilding.

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