First, I want to apologize to all of Bills Mafia for over analyzing the past losses to the Chiefs and going with my brain instead my heart to predict last night’s game. I want to say that maybe I was just using reverse psychology in my head and motivating the Bills to come out on top this week. Well, it worked! The Bills went out there and dominated, bucking all of the prior trends that had me concerned heading into that game.
The first thing that had me worried coming into this week was the Buffalo Bills coaching staff. The last two games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sean McDermott and his staff over analyzed certain things and played too conservative. They were not being aggressive enough to win these games in the past.
Brain Daboll had some questionable play calls on offense that I know we all were like, “really”? In the first game, Leslie Frazier tried to make the Chiefs run and they did… down our throats. The next game, they passed it all over us. It got me thinking this week and I was not sure if the Bills coaching staff could adjust and utilize what they had in player personnel and try to make the right calls. I even questioned them a few weeks ago against the Pittsburgh Steelers I had those same questions. Are we still in the process?
Wow, I was wrong. Leslie Frazier adjusted well this game. He used players like Siran Neal and Justin Zimmer for certain roles and succeeded. The two deep safeties look on defense that Frazier deployed had the Chiefs offense struggling all game. It was a marvelous gameplan from Frazier. It was similar to the gameplan the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
On the offensive front, Daboll mixed in the run and pass games flawlessly. The RPO runs by Josh Allen worked every time, which I am sure they saw when watching the Ravens-Chiefs game film. Overall, Daboll’s play-calling was simple and, sometimes, that’s the best strategy.
Finally, Sean McDermott just kept it simple. He didn’t try to be conservative, and he didn’t try to outsmart Andy Reid. He trusted his coordinators and let them call the gameplan. All week I stated that they needed to call a simple game and not over-complicate things. They did exactly that.
The next thing I was worried about was Josh Allen. Allen is a great quarterback, but sometimes I think he puts too much pressure on himself. He tries to put the entire team on his back, which I think sometimes leads to errors and struggles. Would he be able to stand the pressure and shadow of Patrick Mahomes? Would he be just Josh Allen MVP runner up or Hero Josh Allen when he tries too hard?
I am a big believer in Josh Allen. He was the quarterback I wanted from his draft year. His skillset fit perfectly for a place like Buffalo. My issue in his first two years (and sometimes last year) was that he tries too hard to be the hero, complicate things for himself. That was not the case last night.
Allen looked calm, poised, and determined. He kept things simple other than that intentional grounding play. You could tell he was playing the game with a purpose. He was out for blood, KC blood. This was revenge for him. When McDermott says they only play one game at a time, I knew sometimes that is just talk. Allen and all the other Bills that played in the AFC championship last year had this game circled. What warmed my heart is the offensive line in front of him knew how important this was. They were not going to let anyone ruin this moment for him. Allen wanted revenge and he got it. No longer was he in the shadow, he is the guy now!
Last year, I said all season that, to beat the Chiefs, you must disrupt Mahomes. In the two games last year, I don’t even think the defensive line touched Mahomes. If you give Mahomes any time, he will destroy you. We all know that and that is exactly what went through my mind. I knew if they wanted to compete with the Chiefs, the defensive line needed to change. You don’t have to sack Mahomes, but you must make him feel uncomfortable You have to be able to touch him, pressure him. Let him know you are there.
That was not happening last year. So, what did Brandon Beane do this summer? He listened to me. He went out and got Greg Rousseau in the first round and Boogie Basham in the second round of this year’s draft. Was that enough? With them on board and Star Lotulelei coming back I had hope, but I was still a little concerned.
Zach Vaughn, Editor in Chief of Buffalo Fanatics, mentioned in the pregame show that he was excited all the athletic Bills defensive linemen were activated this week. They were on a mission to make things difficult for the Chiefs offense. Rousseau, Basham, and Lotulelei changed the line more than I could imagine. You add those three along with Jerry Hughes, Ed Oliver, Mario Addison, A.J. Epenesa, and Justin Zimmer, and you have a leaner and quicker group to attack the quarterback.
This defensive line did not just make a difference, they wreaked havoc. They disrupted Mahomes all night, which resulted in 3 defensive turnovers. They only had two sacks all game, but it was the way they pressured Mahomes to make decisions before he wanted to that made the difference. This group, if healthy, is going to create more havoc in every game going forward.
Seeing is Billieving
Look, I have been a fan of the Buffalo Bills for 34 years. In 1985, I (then six years old) took a trip to my aunt’s house in Toronto. That was when I first saw a Bills game on TV. Ever since then, I have cheered for no team or organization in any sport like I do the Buffalo Bills. I cried when Andy Dalton helped end our playoff curse. I cried after each Bills Super Bowl loss. The drought years angered me. I have been through the whole roller coaster ride with the Bills.
When I struggled with Mental Health, the Buffalo Bills were a light for me. Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Edmonton. When I said I was grateful for my wife, kids, and the Buffalo Bills, the rest of my large family looked at me like “what about us?” I bleed Bills in my veins. Though out the years of heartache, you sometimes you get used to the letdown. It’s almost like we are waiting for it sometimes, but last night they proved they aren’t that team anymore. They are different. The process is over. Now, it’s about winning the big game. I don’t have to be too analytical. I can just celebrate my team without the letdown. My team is for real!
Overall, this was why my brain picked the Chiefs to win, but my heart always wanted the Bills. This team came out of the shadow, putting all of the things that I was worried about to rest. This game will forever change this franchise in my eyes. We will look back to this as when the tides turned. These players, coaches, and fans will have so much confidence, riding this wave all the way to the playoffs. The media respect is about to come. Get ready Bills Mafia!
On the Buffalo Fanatics pre-game show this week, Mr. Jeff Landers said it best: “winning programs win games, no matter what”. Anybody, anytime, anywhere… we will win. That question lingered for me since last January. Are we that team, are we just a good team? Well today, Mr. Jeff Landers, the Buffalo Bills showed the media (and me) that they are a winning program. They are better than a good team and they are about to eat all day for the rest of the season. Get ready Bills Mafia!