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JohnnyGold

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  1. Stats tell part of the story. The titans had the lead for the entire game, aside from the seconds when Dyson was running down the sideline to score the ball. The Bills ripped off some chunks of yards on 1 drive in particular to start the second half that "skew" the stats--overall, the Titans controlled the field position better all day. They came out, moved the ball, executed their offense and put 12 on the board going into the half. Yes, it was a slug fest, but they were able to hold Buffalo out of the end zone for the entire first half, and most of the second half after giving up the points coming out of halftime. Even if the Bills defense was elite, the Titans were better, just like last weekends Bills/Pats game. The Titans were a 13-3 Super Bowl team at the start of a half decade of great football. The Bills were an 11-5 wildcard team, at the tail end of a runner up dynasty, that was dismantled that winter and spent the next 2 decades wandering the desert of sub-.500 ineptitude. Viewed holistically, the Titans were the team on the rise, the Bills the team on the decline. They met in Nashville that afternoon, and the Titans did more to win, and won. I no longer feel like that was a season that "got away".
  2. Awesome write up, seems like you and I view this game through the same lens. Agreed with the following 17 years of football being worse--I think that game holds a special place in a dark part of a lot of Bills fans hearts, specifically those younger than 40 right now. Guys that were maybe a little too young to appreciate the Super Bowl years, but old enough to live through the drought. The fact of the matter is, 2 decades on the outside of the playoffs looking in is 2 decades of missed opportunity for heartbreak. Every fanbase has their "what if" moments--having lived in New England I can tell you that those guys view 18-1 as a worse heartbreak than what the Sox put them through. The difference with the Bills historic run of ineptitude is that we simply didn't have a bigger stage to lay an egg on. If Buffalo had made the playoffs 10 times during those 2 decades, there would have likely been 10 other heart breaking moments of defeat: some blowouts, some last second losses. In any playoff game, one team wins, one team loses. The Bills just play so few of them that as fan base, our last "good" team has taken on an almost mythical quality of being THE best team in the NFL that year, when the reality is they were the 5th best team in the conference and simply lost a wild card game on the road due to poor special teams coverage. Here's hoping that today we get a win and keep marching towards this years tournament. It would be nice to start making some new scars, and giving ourselves some new scenarios to have friendly disagreements about.
  3. After 20 years, I can honestly say I have no idea if it was forward or not. As a Bills fan, I can see it moving forward based on where the body positions of the players were when it was thrown and caught. As an objective observer, I can see it moving laterally based on where the ball was released and caught. I think the simplest way to phrase it is, let's say you meet the creator himself and ask him if it was a forward pass: he would say "yes, the ball moved forward an inch, but I would have made Dyson catch a 90 yard hail marry on the next play anyways and I had a famine to mitigate at 4pm that day so I had to move on, make yourself at home, Ralph's at the bar."
  4. Watching the condensed replay of the contest, as the NFL network showed it, yes it seemed to me like the Titans played that much better. Ironically, the closest game I can relate it to is the game last weekend against the Patriots. In that case, the Bills were playing a much better team, both Ds showed up, and the Pats won with a flukey special teams play. The Bills showed some life on some long runs, and the QB never really got it going. The difference between those games is, the Titans had the "momentum" all day long--they drove the ball on several occassions, but ultimately turned it over. Also, in the Pats game last weekend, Allen killed any chances of winning with mistakes, whereas Rob Johnson killed any chances of winning just by lining up behind center. He never aggressively attempted to get the ball downfield, and the offense was simply stifled. Throw in the obscene amount of penalties and the Bills really got their butts kicked. Statistics have never interested me. Antoine had a high ypc, sure, but he also had one long run and a bunch of other pedestrian carries that did nothing. Maybe the Bills would have gotten that call at home, but the only way that would have been a home game would be if they had been a 13-3 team, or even 14-2. Lots of woulda/coulda/shouldas from this one, and I really don't want to sit here on a soap box and say that people are wrong for feeling whatever way about it, because 12 hours ago I was in the same boat, ha!
  5. They definitely earned the win, which is again, what I realized last night. As a kid, I viewed them as a "new" franchise, and it was a fluke for them to even be in the playoffs. What I realized last night is: that was a good, legitimate football team, that went on to have great success, that beat an aging, dysfunctional Bills team that played very poorly that day. I held on to the anger of being "ripped off" on that call, and "robbed of a Super Bowl" for 20 years, and never really watched or had any interest in re-living that moment, as it was pretty much my most painful sports memory of all time. It helped to see it with fresh eyes, and an extra 20 years of football knowledge that I've accumulated. If the pass was a forward pass, you're talking mere inches of ball movement across 30 yards in the air--tbh, I don't know if it would even be overturned today. 100 officiating crews wouldn't throw a flag in the moment, and 100 wouldn't overturn it based on that video evidence. I think it's easy to say they won on a fluke, but go back and watch the Bills comeback win over the Oilers: how many noncalls did Buffalo benefit from that day? Our historic (and in some ways, maybe franchise high water mark) could just as easily be discredited by Titans fans saying we only got back into it because the refs didn't want to make calls against the home team that was rolling. Really, that's the essence of my post: watching the game as a whole--not just analyzing inches of ball movement, no *****, on a lateral pass--puts that play into context. The Bills got worked that day by more than the refs. The entire Titans organization beat them, from start to finish.
  6. Ehhh, IDK if it was a bad call, tbh. It has always appeared to me that the ball is thrown further ahead of the thrower, and caught further behind the receiver, making it perfectly lateral. Using the 20 yard marker as a gauge, the ball is thrown directly on that line, regardless of body position. It's a matter of inches, with 1 camera angel and standard definition replay. Maybe it was slightly forward, but nothing that could be overturned in the moment. I'm saying that it was an appropriate culmination of events from that day, in that the Titans outplayed Buffalo on special teams, offense and defense. And just like when we beat them 7 years earlier in a ridiculous comeback that maybe never should have happened, they got one over on us. I know not every fan will see it that way, but the entire point of this thread was that after watching the entirety of the game last night, I changed my perspective on it, seeing how thoroughly they were outclassed that day. Like it or not: the Titans deserved to win and even though for a few minutes it looked like Buffalo had stolen victory, it wasn't meant to be.
  7. Bro, I respect that opinion because I held it for 20 years. In fact, when the replay started last night, I thought to myself "IDK why I'm doing this, when the announcers tomorrow will bring up this game 20 times." All I can really say is, the part I bolded in your response matters a little bit more to me now. The Titans were simply a better football team, and it became obvious as I rewatched it. I don't feel as if Buffalo was robbed of a Super Bowl that year. I'll concede that maybe (maybe) they were robbed of that game. But if the Titans could dominate them in all three phases of football like that, all day, from start to finish.. I can no longer take it as a given that the Colts wouldn't have been able to do the same. Or the Jaguars. Or the Rams. The Bills just weren't the elite defensive juggernaut that year that I've built them up to be in my mind over the past 2 decades. And considering the Rams, Colts and Titans all went on to have great success over the coming seasons, and the Bills went into the toilet bowl, lends credence to the fact that the Bills weren't in that elite echelon of teams that could have won the Super Bowl that year. They were good, yes, but not historically great.
  8. I think the biggest change in the game has been the advent of specialized coaching from a young age. Want to be a kicker? There's a camp for that, for toddlers no doubt. Want to be a QB? There's a camp for that, and you better be willing to move around the country to find the right middle school. The game 20 years ago just had such a "team" feel to it--like the players knew where each other would be on the field at all times, because they practiced together so much more, rotated through positions as a kid, and had a better feel for the game playing out on the field. Your LB may have been a DE and a TE at one point. Now, LBs are LBs from age 6 on. On one Eddie George fumble, Kurt Schulz puts his helmet on the ball and a LB scooped it up seemlessly. On a McNair pick, Schulz batted it and a CB picked it so fluidly it looked like a basketball move. Another element (as a fan) is the lack of HD replays--if a ref made a call, it couldn't be analyzed for 20 minutes from 10 different angles, it just stood. Some calls were bad, some were good. But it seems like the refs were, for lack of a better word, more confident. They just make the call and the game moves on. I hate... hate hate hate... how in today's NFL everything is scrutinized until it's perfect. That "perfect" feel is at odds with such a brutal sport. We'd be better off letting it be rough around the edges and accepting some bad calls from time to time if it brings back that wild west feel, in my opinion.
  9. You should watch it again if you get the chance. I had raw emotions about it too, like you, until last night. The Bills played absolutely terrible. Their D kept them in it, but they lost to a better team that day. I have no hot take on Flutie vs Johnson. I have no new opinion on that from watching the game last night. I think Flutie could have played better than Johnson, because it's hard to imagine anyone playing worse, but he also might have thrown a pick 6 that put the game out of reach early. Either way, Flutie couldn't QB the team to a higher seed, a division title, or a playoff win the season before, so it's hard to imagine he would have beaten the Titans that afternoon. TBH Joe, the entire point of that wall of text was to say that I am over it now.
  10. Like most Bills fans my age, I've spent the last 2 decades convinced that Buffalo had a Lombardi trophy ripped from their hands that day, with a terrible call on what was clearly a forward lateral. I vividly remember watching that game and being absolutely devastated when they lost--I was 15 at the time, and it was right up there with Jim Kelly's retirement following the Jacksonville loss as my most disappointing sports moment. Re-watching the game in it's entirety last night didn't necessarily change my view on the throwback, but it put the entire contest in a better context. Here are my thoughts from it (in no particular order ) 1) The Tennessee Titans were a VERY GOOD football team. Somehow, 15 year old me didn't understand this at the time. (In fact, it makes me wonder how many posters on here may be 15 years old and also missing this point about last week's Patriots game, but I digress) The Titans went into that game 13-3, which as they stated during the broadcast was the best record for a wildcard team in history. This was also a point in NFL history when the conferences only had 3 divisions, so the division winner ahead of the Titans, the Jaguars, were even better at 14-2. Buffalo has had only two 13 win seasons in their history, and both times made the Super Bowl--the Titans obviously made the Super Bowl that season. The Titans had young talent all over the field: Air McNair at QB, Eddie George at RB, "the Freak" Jeavon Kearse on D. They had stars, they had a great regular season, and they were a yard away from winning the Super Bowl. What's more, this season marked their arrival as a franchise, and they entered a period of dominance for the next 5 years where they would have campaigns of 11, 12, and 13 wins again, making it as far as the conference championship game. Buffalo, on the other hand, went from this loss to one of the longest runs of futility in NFL history, missing the playoffs for 18 straight seasons. 2) The Buffalo Bills were a team in complete disarray. This was the death of their "dynasty", or at least their years of being a contender, and the self destruction was on complete display. Maybe because those guys were my heroes I was oblivious to it at the time. Maybe the lack of social media/24 hour news cycles didn't catastrophize their collapse as it surely would today. Whatever the case, that Bills team had issues, from top to bottom. As we learned years later, it was Ralph who insisted Johnson get the start over Flutie. Knowing that, it was interesting to hear the response of Wade Phillips when asked by Solomon Wilcox at halftime if he would bench Johnson for Flutie: quote "he said something to me that I can't repeat on TV, but it wasn't very nice." That's not a response you hear from McDermott very often, right? Then there was Andre Reed, who had apparently posted on his website a few days earlier that he felt disrespected and wanted to go to a team that appreciated him. Playing with that hanging over his head would be one thing, but he also wasn't on speaking terms with Flutie, who he said had changed as a man over the course of the previous year. Hmmm... I had never heard that--but it puts the benching into a new context. 3) Bruce Smith was the best player on the field, he's the all time sack leader, and the best Bill of all time I wish I was old enough to appreciate that man's career. Seeing highlights of the greats doesn't do them justice, you need to see them on every play dominate a game. And boy, that's what Bruce did. A pure physical freak. At one point spun around the O lineman and got pressure on McNair with a move that would be replayed 10 times today, but was just a typical play for him in that game. Maybe younger me took it for granted that he was a Bill, or didn't realize how good he was compared to the rest of the league, or hadn't watched enough football yet to appreciate it, or all of the above, but wow. If the rest of his career looked like that (and I'd be willing to bet it was better), you could make a case that he's one of the 10 best players to ever play professional football. Am I crazy for saying that? 4) The Buffalo Bills were sloppy that day, the Titans were disciplined. The Titans didn't commit their first penalty until well into the second half, the Bills were jumping off sides with reckless abandon from the opening gun. This isn't a conspiracy theory either, in that the refs weren't calling it both ways. No, the Bills had 2, 3, maybe 4 defensive linemen literally jumping off sides anticipating snap counts. At one point Bruce ran across the LOS, made no attempt to get back and negated an Eddie George fumble. There was an egregious holding call ON THE DEFENSE of a field goal attempt that the Titans missed going into the half--they then made the retry. Obviously, every defender was out of position on the Homerun Throwback. Hey, I can say with confidence from posting here: If a McDermott team showed up to a playoff game like this---it would be a long offseason on here. 5) The Titans were a better team, and played a much (much) better game. First: Rob Johnson was terrible. Absolutely, unequivocally awful. I don't know what his final stats were and it doesn't matter. He didn't throw a single pass with zip, with touch, or with accuracy. He didn't move the ball all day. Both touchdowns were the results of the ground game and field position. Were people open? I have no idea. But it was, maybe, the worst performance from a Bills QB that I have ever seen. Second: McNair didn't do much better, but their ground game was significantly better than ours. They were picking up big chunks with ease. Yes, their drives stalled (often), but they had bursts and "the momentum" for almost the entire game. They didn't protect the football well, and turned it over a bunch (some negated by Bills penalties), but they moved the chains and scored the ball all day. Many here hang on to the notion that that Bills defense was elite--Super Bowl worthy, even, but the Titans D outclassed us that day. 6) The Universe righted itself with that Homerun Throwback--it was almost cosmically right. Not a pox on our house, but fair just dues for the Titans. There's no other way to put it. I don't mean to sound like I believe in Atlantis, but that Homerun Throwback almost had to happen. When the greatest comeback ever took place, Buffalo was the better team than the Oilers, and how would we have felt if they nailed a field goal in overtime to beat us? Terrible right? The same could be said if Christies "game winner" bounced the Titans from the playoffs that year. They were the better team. They played better all day. They dominated us. They deserved to win for all of the above reasons, and that was their season to make the Super Bowl. We can dissect the rest of the conference for the rest of our lives: would the Bills have beaten the Colts the next weekend? The Jaguars? Even the Rams in the Super Bowl? What I finally came to the realization of last night is: it doesn't matter, because they DIDN'T beat the Titans, and didn't deserve to! The Titans were the better team, and beat the Bills all day long up and down the field. Somehow, someway, the Bills took the lead, for about 6 seconds of game time, and then lost it in historic fashion again--but they never should have had the lead to begin with, really. So there it is. Sorry if I need to hand in my fan card after this, but I have to admit, it's nice to make peace with that loss. Watching it again, after 20 years of accumulated football knowledge, makes me see it the way the rest of the NFL has seen it. A great play for the Titans in the context of their Super Bowl run. As a Bills fan, I've always viewed it as emblematic of the curse on our franchise, and a day when we were robbed of what may have been a championship season. But it's not that. We were simply a dysfunctional wild card team that got outcoached and outplayed on the road, and lost to a better team in heartbreaking fashion. Oh well. Life goes on.
  11. The term "must-win"is a completely subjective term, invented by fans to make themselves feel as if their rooting interest controls the action on the field. Must win for what? They must win it to clinch the division? Make the playoffs? Secure home field advantage? None of that is true. Josh Allen has not even quarterbacked a full seasons worth of games yet. He is going to lay eggs at some point in time. Possibly this weekend, as the team historically struggles with Cincinnati, for whatever reason. The only "must" I'd associate with this game is that it's a "must approach with perspective" game for fans, as if they win, they beat what will be a banged up 0-3 team, and all of Bufs wins thus far could potentially be against teams with a combined 0-9 record. And if they lose, they're losing to a veteran quarterback who has had success playing in Orchard Park and it doesn't mean Josh Allen's career is over, or it's time to start Barkley. Yes, even if he throws 5 picks in a blowout loss. It happens. The AFC looks pretty gosh darn weak this season. Pats and Chiefs look like division winners, and potential first round byes. The other divisions are up for grabs, and the teams that come in second in those divisions likely won't be very good. Any of Buffalo, Cleveland, Baltimore, Houston, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Oakland, San Diego, and even Pittsburgh could be in the mix for those 4 spots, and so far Buffalo has looked as good or better than all of them. If you can just come to terms with the fact that Buffalo has a good (maybe great) young team with a good (maybe great) young quarterback led by a good (maybe great) head coach, built by a good (maybe great) GM, then you can maybe stop stressing about week 3 games. Pats fans go to bed at halftime of prime time games. They're jaded to winning. Not saying Buffalo is at that point, but I am saying that I believe they are past the era of worrying about the wheels coming off every week of the season. They'll win some, they'll lose some, but I think when it's all said and done, for the next decade they're going to win more than they lose every year, and it's time as fans to maybe start enjoying this hobby, instead of fretting about it. There will be plenty of playoff games to stress about in the years to come. Save what's left of your hair for those. Enjoy these early season games for what they are--they're not the end of the world, I promise.
  12. I'd rather see some of those girls take a shower than the Bills win a Super Bowl, my god. I'll be reading someone post about, ya know, "boo hoo, trade zay" and then on the right side of the screen there's that blonde in the black evening dress just staring at me. You know what? I've clicked. I wanted to see where it goes. And it's magical. There's fewer bras on that site than there are Buffalo playoff appearances this millennium. And they take, maybe, 6 pictures per dress? It's incredible. Absolutely incredible. I doubt it's a targeted ad, because I get it on both my lap top and phone, which are signed on to different google accounts. I'll update this thread the next time the ad (and me, by extension) pops up.
  13. The most anticipated opening day for me in the last 20 years was 2012. Against the Jets in the Meadowlands, after signing Mario and hiring Wanstedt as D coordinator. That was the year after Buf started 5-3 and finished 6-10. Seemed like everything was in place for a solid playoff run, but got blown out by the Jets week 1. I think Fitzy even threw a pick 6 on the opening drive. What a total disaster.
  14. Agreed. We were getting the same press when Rex came to town. "Is this thing on? Cause it's gonna be." Destroyed the Colts in the opener--it felt like the hype was justified. It obviously came crashing down shortly thereafter. I expect similar results in Cleveland. I would be very surprised if they finished above .500. My gut feeling on that is a lesson I have learned (well, I have to relearn it every year) with the Patriots, as I am in the New England area myself: just because I know the name of a football player, it does not mean that they are good. And conversely, just because a unit can be made up of guys who look like they have been working at Target for the past year (and they very well may have been), does not mean that with good coaching and a good system, they can't be stars. It is not just New England that operates this way--Pit does as well, they just happen to be little brothers to the juggernaut that is New England. But just look at James Conner: last season the talk was all about LeVeon Bell, no one was paying Conner any mind, he was an afterthought, someone who could never replace Bell's production. Now, he's one of the studs of the league at RB, and the media talks about him like it's a given that he's a star. I'm obviously not making any earth shattering points here, and like my father, I'm taking 1000 words to say what could be said in 100, but my only belabored point is this: I wouldn't be surprised if Miami finishes with more wins than Cleveland this year. But the addendum to that is, my surprise and 5 nickels will get you a quarter, so I also wouldn't be surprised if Cleveland won the Super Bowl this year. Happy Labor Day all.
  15. The entire sporting world thinks Miami is tanking because they're running out a first year NFL coach and giving him a team led by Ryan Fitzpatrick and very limited talent at the skill positions. In Buffalo, that was our situation for 3 straight seasons, in which we finished 4-12, 6-10, and 6-10. Then, we splurged on a .500 college coach from Syracuse, and drafted EJ Manuel as the savior. Oh, and this was all taking place after a decade+ of failing to qualify for the playoffs. And the best part is, fans had the nerve to get mad at people like Jerry Sullivan for not writing positive articles about the team, and being optimistic. I'm thankful for the situation we have now, but you're going to have to excuse the national media if they're slow to warm to Buffalo. We have a very proven track record of being a joke of an organization.
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