Hello, Bills Mafia … friends. And I do consider you friends. We’ve been through so much together, and when I see a lady or a guy in Bills gear, I give them a knowing nod, and they respond in kind like how motorcyclists do a little hand gesture to their fellow bikers. It is to say, “I get you.”
And what do we get? We get what it means to be part of this congregation, this church. We get what it is to endure disappointment and to encourage and be positive in the face of negativity. We get what it is to be bullied, to know that football is just a game, but being part of Bills Mafia is certainly not a game. We get what it is to joy and pain with each other and help each other to the next day, which is one of the best signs of a good friend.
Today, we joy. The Bills officially ended the Patriots dynasty last night. It wasn’t just the numbers or the final score or the dynamic schemes that worked so well. No, we finally stood up to the bully that’s been taking out lunch money for twenty years and said, “Enough.” It helps to have a 6’5″, 240 lb. friend by your side, and the Patriots withered in the cold Foxborough weather like a dick in a cold pool.
Their dynasty is over. Ours? We shall see. But for now, for this moment, the Buffalo Bills look like that thing, that capricious and temporal thing, we’ve been seeking for so many years, for many, our entire lives. And it feels good. Belichick raged on the sideline last night like a spoiled, petulant child, who, for the first time in his life, was told no. And Sean McDermott, like a stern, loving father, stood there, icy and stoic, as Belichick raged and threw a fit. Soon, the rage calmed, and there was acceptance, and by the end of the game, Belichick and the Patriots knew that things are different now, that there has been a change.
If somehow you were concussed before the game and somehow didn’t watch this epic Monday Night Football beatdown, here are some highlights:
Now that the game is over, here are 10 things I think I think about our Buffalo Bills.
1. We expected to win.
Perhaps the strangest feeling last night, that unfamiliar thing, was that I expected us to win. And all of Bills Mafia expected us to win. And the Buffalo Bills expected to win. That certainly felt strange, but it felt good. And I hope we get used to that feeling because if the players keep drinking that process juice loaded with protein-rich process powder, this team is going to be expected to win a lot of games going forward. The Patriots had a 20-year psychological edge on these Buffalo Bills. They bullied us more than any other team, and last night, the boys led by Josh Allen, had enough, and shouted, “Hey! 3 pm! The parking lot!” The Patriots, to their credit, did show up to the fight, but the Bills threw haymaker after haymaker and crumbled the once titanic villain into a whimpering heap. Our time is now. Tomorrow is not promised to us, and next season, everything could fall apart … we’ll see if we can take this opportunity.
2. Find a lover who looks at you like Stefon Diggs looks at Josh Allen.
Stefon Diggs went off last night against one of the best corners in the league in J.C. Jackson. After an early pass breakup, Diggs jawed with Jackson, as if to say, “I’ll get you back.” And he did. He finished the night with a stat line of nine catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished the night with the Bills record for receiving yards in a season (He already had the record for catches.), and he leads the league in both catches and yards. This guy is a stud, and he loves Josh Allen. You can see it in interviews, how they celebrate, and how they talk about each other like best buddies. There is no greater validation of Josh Allen this season than the stamp of approval by one of the most respected and talented players in the NFL. These boys could be a dangerous duo for years to come.
3. Matt Milano is back, and he is spectacular.
OK. So, we need to pay Matt Milano. Will that mean we can’t pay other people? Yeah. Too bad. We need Milano. The guy led the team in tackles last night, had a sack, and seemed to appear all over the field like a phantom. He is our Thomas Davis, and the key to that great Panthers defense was Thomas Davis, not Luke Kuechly. Let’s get that straight. He’s not healthy. He won’t, likely, be healthy the rest of the season, but it doesn’t matter, Milano comes out and just hits people. He makes plays. He can turn a game with his silent play because, as Kyle Williams once famously opined, he does know something about heart. Pay this, man, Mr. Baller Beane. He has earned it.
4. Tre’Davious White does not commit penalties … just ask him.
Tre White, after being called for a pass interference penalty, was heated and heard shouting things like, “That’s bullshit!” Let’s get this clear: that was a penalty, but Tre White’s valedictorian, captain of the debate team, defense of his play says something very important: he feels like he has to be perfect. He wants to be perfect. His technique is pristine, and he may be the best technician at the CB position in the league. He is certainly not the most physically gifted, and technique is work. He has the attitude the greats have, which is that drive to make every tackle, to make every play, and it shows week in and week out. Beane was smart to pay this guy. Tre White … with that mindset, I would not be surprised to see him in a gold jacket someday.
5. Bojo, Bass, and Roberts are locked in.
Isn’t it nice to not have to worry about the Special Teams unit on the team? We’ve all been there where we had returners that just made bonehead play after bonehead play. We remember the bad punters and the inaccurate kickers. Hell, Bojo last season was questionable at best, and Bass had a rocky start to the season, but right now, these three guys are playing as a trio as well as any special teams unit in the league. I’m confident watching them. Bojo is playing so well that his average yards per punt are getting close to the record set by Sammy Baugh so many years ago. When a record stands that long, it means something. Roberts is rock solid, and though he hasn’t brought one back tot the house, no coverage unit wants to deal with him. And Bass … well, son, I like your style.
6. Our Young D-Line is starting to pop.
AJ Epenesa, Darryl Johnson, Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, etc. Last night, we saw plays made by all of these young guns. They are playing with energy and confidence, and it’s great to see. Epenesa was slow coming out of the gates, but he’s the guy that is keeping Trent Murphy on the pine. Ed Oliver is making plays right now, and it’s good to see. He has so much potential, and I can’t wait to see where he might go. Harrison Phillips is playing better as well. It’s nice to see from our Walter Payton Man of the Year, and isn’t Darryl Johnson fun to watch? This guy is a special teams beast, and on defense, he uses his Stretch Armstrong arms to cause havoc for opposing offenses. This defenses hasn’t looked like we hoped for most of this season … but it’s starting to.
7. Moss and Singletary are good enough.
Look, I know we don’t have Barry Sanders in the backfield, but Barry wouldn’t fit in this offense. But Moss and Singletary are getting the job done. Short yardage? Moss has been banging it through. Need some pass pro? Singletary has got you! Need to quick stop to make a defender look silly? Singletary is your guy. Got to make some mashed potatoes? Moss can make ’em! I like these backs, and I think they are enough for this team and how they use the run game going forward. It’ll be interesting to see how they fare in the snowy atmosphere of Orchard Park in January.
8. The Bills offensive line has made the greatest improvement this season.
At the beginning of the year, I felt like the offensive line was playing like the worst unit on the team. They’re still not perfect, but damn, they are playing so much better down the stretch. Allen has so much more time, and the running game is gashing. Boettger has some weak moments still, but the rest of the line is looking solid, and Jon Feliciano brings some nasty while Dion brings the swag. Daryl brings his lunch pail, and Mitch is the leader. What an improvement for this group. Hopefully, they will keep this trajectory going forward. We are going to need them.
9. Daboll and Frazier are adjusting more than John Holmes in tight pants.
You’ve got to give it to our coordinators. They have learned something. At the beginning of the season, a major (and reasonable) criticism of these guys was the inability to adjust. Daboll has solved the third quarter and made it his bitch, and Frazier is dialing up this defense to attack instead of just respond. We are taking it to teams on both sides of the ball, and, honestly, both of these guys have earned head coach consideration. Well done, sirs.
10. Josh Allen isn’t just our guy. He may be the guy.
Josh Allen right now is playing like the best QB in the league, and, yes, I’m including Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes in that conversation. He has proven to be our guy (He was my guy the moment he vaulted Anthony Barr.), but he may be the NFL’s new guy. Is there still stuff to prove? Yes. A number of QBs have looked great in short spurts: Wentz, Culpepper, Bortles, and even that walking trash bag, Baker Mayfield. I’m not saying Allen is those guys, but it’s fair to wait and see. Still, in this moment of time, Josh Allen is playing like thee MVP, and his run down thee stretch this season should get him votes. I love this kid. Someone said last night that he looks like he’s playing Madden on rookie mode. That sounds about right. He seems unflusterable, unshakable, and unfoolable. This kid is playing great, and if he plays like this in the post-season …. well, I won’t jinx it, but it rhymes with Fluper Mole Sampions.
- Is there anything more fun to watch than Lee Smith celebrating a TD?
- That fake punt on their own side of the 50 was downright disrespectful.
- Man, I love Siran Neal. He may be one of my favorite Bills. The dude just plays.
- How about those WRs getting WR Coach, Chad Hall, a fancy new truck for Christmas? I’m not crying … YOU’RE CRYING!
- Whatever you’re doing right now, keep doing it! Have you started wearing new socks lately? Never take them off! Have you not showered since the Arizona game? Do the lord’s work and embrace the stink. Have you been watching the last four Bills games with a pretty lady named Candice, and the Bills have just dominated? Well, she may be good luck. Got to tell you … she’s intrigued and fascinated by this Bills Mafia thing, and, last night, I saw her talking smack on Facebook to Pats fans. I was so proud.
Thanks for reading! I can’t believe we have 12 wins with a game to go! I love that we are playing an important game against Miami in Week 17. The rivalry is back, baby, and I’ll be watching with my Dolphins fan buddy, Everett, to be sure! This rivalry is a fun one, and I’m glad it’s back.
Have questions, comments, or suggestions about growing amazing eyebrows? Hit me up on Twitter at @adamnannini
Have an amazing New Year, stay safe, and let me ask you an important question: Where else would you rather be than right here right now?