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The Buffalo Bills finally slay the dragon, the Patriots: 10 Things I Think I Think

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The monstrous drake, even with mortal wounds and dying breath, made a final and furious lunge at the noble knights of Buffalo and nearly routed them with its noxious breath and confusing hairstyles when suddenly, a brave squire, fair and true, didst punch the dragon, unburdening it of its gold and will to fight, and lo, the people did feast on tasty dragon meat that winter. And it tasted like Cam … err, I mean, ham.

Look. Yes, maybe we should have win this game by a billion, and yes, the Patriots were down players like Gilmore and Edelman. And yes, the Bills offense struggled to pass the ball, and yes, the Bills defense, again could not stop the run.

But I don’t give a damn. This game is more than stats. It’s more than encouraging signs. This is about getting a monkey off our back. This is about finally standing up against the dragon that has terrorized this town for the better part of two decades! Hell, the Bills hadn’t beaten the Patriots in Orchard Park since September 25, 2011. This is a psychological win. This is about beating a team that owned us, and, while our boys weren’t world-beaters today, they finally beat up the pimple-faced bully that takes our lunch money!

So, Bills Mafia, rejoice! This is a big-ass win, and I don’t want to hear the bitching. We beat the Pats when it mattered, which we have never done, and we may have given them a dirtnap with that loss. So, congratulations, Buffalo Bills. This is not your same ol’ Bills.

Now, here are 10 things I think I think:

1. Justin Zimmer has the clutch gene. Believe me, I had him tested.

Young Justin Zimmer, in his limited experience as a Buffalo Bills has almost turned the tide in a key moment in one game and did make the game-saving play in another. His clutch Peanut Punch of Cam Newton was perfectly executed, and he did it at the exact time we needed him. I see a lot of grit and tenacity in this kid, and that was not luck. That was skill. I don’t know what his future holds, but if he keeps delivering in big moments as he has been, he could be an excellent story in Buffalo for years to come!

2. A.J. Klein … I … see, what had happened was …

A.J. Klein. Man, I liked you. I liked you in Carolina. I wanted you to be a Buffalo Bill. You were not as promising in New Orleans, but I still believed. And now you’re here. Woof. You should know this defense. You’ve played in it before, yet I don’t know what you’re doing out there half the time. You’re like that girl you admire from afar, but when you get close, when you know the person, it’s-a not so good. Honestly, I want to see pretty much any other linebacker in the game than you. I’d rather see Tyler Matakevich out there or Siran Neal.

3. The Bills running game is back, baby!

Devin “Motor” Singletary and Zach “Business Decision” Moss came alive this week against the Patriots. Moss had 81 yards on 14 carries (5.8 YPC) with two rushing touchdowns, while Motor finished with 86 yards on 14 carries at a clip of 6.1 YPC. This is the formula the Bills need to work with. I was disappointed that with all of that running success, Daboll was not able to scheme up great play-action passes, but you have to be excited about the juice our young RB squad brought to the game.

4. Jon Feliciano is the engine, Moss and Singletary are along for the ride

Man. Wasn’t it amazing to see Mongo, Jon Feliciano, out there burying people? After Morse went out, he moved inside to center, but the play of the offensive line felt so much different with him on the field. He is the juicemaster for that group, and it’s no coincidence that we had our best game running this season with him out there. I love having him back, and if we can get the line healthy this season, it’s going to make a world of difference against this tough upcoming schedule.

5. Gabriel Davis. Son, we need to talk.

Gabriel … Gabe. Look, man. I love your game. I am a huge fan. You’ve got great hands, but the last couple of weeks, you’ve disappeared on me a little. Is something going on at home? That pass from Allen on the run to the endzone was not the most accurate throw, but Gabe, you’ve got to reel that pass in. I know you’re beating yourself up over it. I know. But I also know what you can be. We got to get that confidence up, my man. You can’t go 0 catches on two targets in big games, son. Now, let’s bury that game ball and hit the jugs machine.

6. Taron Johnson, my man. Could you step into my office?

I’ve long defended Taron Johnson. I like the way he plays. I do. He’s tough, feisty, and is willing to stick his face in the fan. But he is riding the struggle bus all the way to Benchville. The Bills need to try something else out. I don’t know if he’s just not a slot corner or what. Maybe he’d be a better safety with how he tackles. But right now, he is such a liability on defense, I think the Bills have to try Lewis (when healthy) or Neal or anybody else at that position to see if there can be an improvement. I still like Taron. It’s possible his confidence is shot, and he just needs a perspective adjustment.

7. Harrison Phillips is … alive?

Who knew? Horrible Harry suddenly appeared in the Pats Bills game like a specter revealing itself on Scooby Doo! Phillips had a fair amount of playing time in the second half of the game, it seemed, and I’m not sure how well he played, as the Bills D was getting gashed. It is telling that he was out there, though. It would seem he will not be traded away this season. I saw a play or two from him that impressed me, but, as they say, “I’m going to have to look at the tape.”

8. Dean Marlowe is more important than we think.

Dean Marlowe seems like he knows this defense as well as anyone on the team. With Micah Hyde out, the safety play didn’t seem to miss a beat. Marlowe directs people on defense, is a good communicator, and finished the game second in tackles with a tackle for loss and he was the guy who recovered Cam’s fumble at the end of the game. Talk about security blanket, it’s nice to know that we have a guy like Marlowe ready to go. Kudos, sir.

9. Ed “Captain Insano” Oliver is starting to get a little insano.

I saw a little craziness in Ed Oliver’s eyes this game. I saw him taunting Cam. I saw him getting fierce. Yes, his stat line is not amazing, finishing with only two tackles, but Ed played very well in the first half of Sunday’s game. He was regularly getting push, and he was instrumental on the Bills getting pressure on Cam early. In the second half, he whole defense struggled against an anemic Pats offense, so that’s a bummer. One has to wonder: should Buffalo change how they rotate D-Line players and keep him out there 70+% of the time? I’m beginning to think so.

10. Josh Allen: game manager?

The man who looks good in shorts looked … fine. Allen finished the day 11 for 18 for 154 passing yards and an interception. He also added 23 yards on 10 rushes and a rushing TD. I don’t know. Those feel like Tyrod Taylor numbers. I’m not sure the interception was his fault, as Diggs seemed to be saying “my fault” on the sideline, but either way, we’re not seeing explosive Josh. I know this coaching staff is conservative, and it does feel sometimes that he’s thinking, “Don’t screw up! Don’t screw up! Don’t screw up!” But this mindset is not ideal. Allen needs to let ’em loose! I know the drops by wide receivers have not been helpful this season, and sometimes, I think he keys in on Diggs too much. Hell, John Brown and Cole Beasley only had three receptions between them. But, to his credit, Allen did enough to win. It’s strange to think that Allen could be effective as a game manager, but the past few games, that’s what he’s been. Who knows what the future holds for this young man? But if you’re asking me? … Let Josh Cook.

Quick Hits:

  • Mitch Morse left the game with a head injury. He has suffered at least five documented concussions in his career, and if this is another one, he may need to consider hanging them up. We all love Mitch, and he’s playing great, but at some point, this is getting dangerous.
  • Jordan Poyer finished the game with 11 tackles. It’s never a good thing when safeties are your #1 and #2 tacklers in the game, but Poyer is flying all around the ball and under the radar this season.
  • Jerry Hughes had another solid day. He finished with three tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss. It’s good to see him playing well.
  • Corey Bojorquez did not have a great game. It seems he remembers the Pats blocking him, and he was not his usual self. Also, why cut the mustache?
  • I’m not sure I understood making A.J. Epenesa a healthy scratch this game. He’s shown flashes … I don’t know. I’m keen to see how he develops.

Thanks, y’all for reading! Be sure to check out all of our great contributors and content. If you’d like to follow me on Twitter or complain about my thoughts, you can find me at @adamnannini

You can also find me weekly on The NFL Basement podcast where I and a Lions a fan make NFL game picks and predictions! Subscribe!

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