In all 52 years since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger created the league we know and love today, only two teams have ever exited the regular season with a perfect, undefeated record. Of those two teams, only one was able to win the Super Bowl. Credit where it’s due, the 1972 Miami Dolphins were the best of the best. Now, after aspirations of our own are cast into doubt by some sloppy (and costly) football, the Buffalo Bills have problems that need to be addressed. Still, the sky is not falling. The road to the top was never easy.
A History of Overcoming Adversity
That’s right. Out of 56 Super Bowls, 55 Super Bowl Champions lost at least one game. Not only that, but they usually lost three or more games ahead of their championship runs. Even in recent history, there’s a boatload of examples of teams overcoming their midseason slumps to manufacture a trip to the trophy case.
The 2021 L.A. Rams lost three consecutive games in the regular season, going from 7-1 to 7-4 in the blink of an eye. The 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost three in four weeks, dropping from 6-2 to 7-5. Those three Tampa losses were all to playoff contending teams, and they were blown out 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints in that span. Even the Kansas City Chiefs, during their powerhouse 2019 season, suffered a tough stretch. They dropped four of six games near the middle of the season, going from 4-0 to 6-4.
The point of this exercise it to show that every great team goes through these stretches. To be the best, you have to execute at a high rate, but perfection is nigh unattainable. We know that we have a top defense and top offense, but to expect them to win every down, every play, every drive, and every game was always foolish.
The Buffalo Bills Are Fine
The Bills loss to the Viking is their second consecutive loss, a tragic accomplishment they haven’t done since… late in 2021. The Bills lost a freaky game against the New England Patriots before falling short in a second-half comeback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the next week. Immediately after, the Bills went on one of the most dominant six-game stretches we’ve ever seen, culminating in the most remarkable playoff game in NFL history. Josh Allen went nuclear, and we didn’t look back.
He took that hot streak into 2022 and, coupled with the media hype, the offseason acquisitions, and the dominant start to the year, everyone bought into the idea that we were invincible; somehow infallible. That’s not true, and it never was. The Buffalo Bills are still indisputably one of the NFL scariest teams, and a two-game sample size of close-fought games against a team tied for the NFL’s best record and a 6-3 division rival is not enough to disprove the two-and-a-half season’s wealth of evidence at our fingertips.
Trouble, Not Tragedy
Not to say we don’t have problems. We do. Real ones, which will require effort and patience to overcome. They have cost us games, they’ve cost us the top spot in the AFC, and they’re currently costing us our stranglehold on the AFC East. Our issues in the run game, trouble with health, and getting our secondary back to form are all critical.
Josh Allen’s decision-making has been subpar as well, and we haven’t been able to put it all on his shoulders to carry us to victory like we’ve become so accustomed to doing. The offense has sputtered out in the second half lately, and the defense hasn’t helped close the gap. We’ve gone from the deadliest second-half team in the league to the opposite, and it’s inexplicable.
But that’s the game. “Any Given Sunday” is a phrase for a reason, and all we can do is put our best foot forward each week and try our best to win. It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t always pretty, but we can expect this team to get back on track. They’ve done it every time we’ve asked it of them, and they’ll do it again. It’s not just about having faith that the Buffalo Bills will get it right, it’s about understanding these things happen and, with our flaws presented, we need to adjust. This era of the Buffalo Bills always adjusts.
Like this piece? Check out the previous Buffalo Bulletin on the lack of a consistent safety net for Josh Allen in the absence of Cole Beasley, and how it’s affecting his game.
The Buffalo Bulletin on Buffalo Fanatics is a weekly editorial by Iestyn Harris. Check back regularly for hot topics, riveting discussion, and, occasionally, some actual insight.
Featured Image: Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images