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KzooMike

2004 Bills still the best team of the 2000 era?

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You have your football purists, then your analytic types. Then some people hang out in the middle. As an example, I think most here look at the drought ending team as very limited, at the same time they look at last years team as much more deserving. I would certainly agree with that and the advanced stats from Pro Football Outsiders and Pro Football Reference do as well. With that being the case most people see last years team as the best squad we have had since the 2000's. The 1999 Bills could have another thread dedicated to a similar topic,  so lets just cut it at 2000/last 20 years.

 

The 2004 Bills get dismissed rather easily here based on the loss to the "2nd team" Steelers in the final game. It's generally a purist argument "if you can't win that game you aren't good enough to make the playoffs" case closed.  It's easily forgotten that while Tommy Maddox might have started that game, many of the Steelers starters played a full game and many of the back ups went onto have outstanding careers almost immediately after. That was a good Steelers team we lost to and we didn't play a clean game.

 

We started 2004 with an 0-4 record, we lost Week 1 on the final play of the game on a miracle catch by Ernest Wilford and Week 4 on a FG by the Jets in the final minute. Over the next 5 games we went 3-2, it was at that point we went on arguably the most dominant stretch of 6 games in Bills history going 6-0 and outscoring our opponents 228-89. Closest margin of victory was 10.

 

The 2004 Bills were the highest rated team by Pro Football Outsiders in the history of it's ranking system to not reach the playoffs, well ahead of any Bills team the last 20 years and rated only behind the 64 and 90 Bills using Pro Football Reference rating system. None of these systems care for the early 90's Bills as much as we do (maybe justifiably so). If you don't like those kind of stats what jumps out the most to me is who was on this team. It seemed to have sprinkles of all types of acquisitions and eras. Left overs from the not awful late 90's, like Pat WIlliams and Moulds, then a lot of our higher profile FA's/Trades that decade like Bledsoe, Spikes, Fletcher, Milloy, Adams. Some of the solid home grown players of the drought era in Evans, Reed, Schobel, Clements, Moorman, and McGee. Even some of the major trades we let go in McGahee and Peters started on that team. We led the league by a considerable margin in special teams that year. 

 

Bledsoe always had his limitations and would have stopped us eventually. He gave us 20 TD's and 16 INT's. Having said that about Bledsoe, you could make that same argument as it related to Josh and his 2019 season. As far as talent, I see more on the 2004 squad vs our 2019 group. It doesn't always come together. I will likely circle back and also review the 1999 team in the next few weeks. Another overshadowed squad based on Johnson/Flutie and MCM. In most analytics sites, one of the top 25 defenses of all time. 

          

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Kzoo, I appreciate another football topic as we’ve had enough distractions.  It was a huge disappointment in 04.  Most of us kne we wouldn’t get that far with a good defense and as always a mediocre offense. Takes, London, and soon we’re fun to watch.

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Yes, if not just for the 6 game streak in weeks 11 thru 16.

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Posted (edited)

Bledsoe was horrible in that game and yes, it was a coming out party for some of the Steelers "backups".

Edited by bmur66

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I think the 14’ team (once Orton took over) was right there with that 04’ team. I’m going to give last years team the benefit of the doubt and say they are the best of the 2000s. Let’s be real here, we had that game won in Houston and totally choked it away..last years team might have ended up being the best team since 93 had we advanced. This current team has a lot of really good players on it. I don’t think the 04’ team was better. 

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Bledsoe was really frustrating in 04. I would definitely say last year’s team was by far the best. The 14 team was next best, but they got jobbed really bad by the refs in at least a couple games (including Pats and Broncos). The 14 team could have made an interesting playoff run.

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huh.. my memory was that we lost to a bunch of mostly third stringers.

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Allen is already better than Bledsoe. Bledsoe sucked here. 

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Maybe for that 6-game stretch they were the best team, but outside of that, no.

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1 hour ago, Troll Toll said:

Bledsoe was really frustrating in 04. I would definitely say last year’s team was by far the best. The 14 team was next best, but they got jobbed really bad by the refs in at least a couple games (including Pats and Broncos). The 14 team could have made an interesting playoff run.

 

Agree with this. I was watching in 2004 but I still had a really primitive understanding of what I was watching. My instinct is I would have that team behind 2019 and 2014 but, ironically, ahead of 2017 but I might be way off. 

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1 hour ago, Troll Toll said:

Bledsoe was really frustrating in 04. I would definitely say last year’s team was by far the best. The 14 team was next best, but they got jobbed really bad by the refs in at least a couple games (including Pats and Broncos). The 14 team could have made an interesting playoff run.


Im not a Bills fan, but the 2004 team was loaded. 
 

McGahee, Moulds, Evans on offense 

 

Spikes, Fletcher, Sam Adams, Pat Williams, Aaron Schobel, Lawyer Milloy, good CBs

 

It seemed like they were set up very well with a bunch of these guys young/in their prime and a rookie first round QB in Losman being groomed to take over for Drew Bledsoe. 

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I would say that stretch from about week 9 through 16 was probably the best stretch of games the Bills have had in the 2000s.  On top of the dominance in those games the Bills beat some teams during that stretch who were pretty good that year:

 

Jets - made the divisional playoffs, a couple of missed field goals from the championship game.

Seahawks - NFC West champs

Rams - made divisional playoffs 

Bengals - in the playoff hunt most of the season and it was one year before their big breakthrough season.

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1 minute ago, JetsFan20 said:


Im not a Bills fan, but the 2004 team was loaded. 
 

McGahee, Moulds, Evans on offense 

 

Spikes, Fletcher, Sam Adams, Pat Williams, Aaron Schobel, Lawyer Milloy, good CBs

 

It seemed like they were set up very well with a bunch of these guys young/in their prime and a rookie first round QB in Losman being groomed to take over for Drew Bledsoe. 

Losman was awful and their defense fell off once they let Pat Williams go. Another bad mistake from Donahoe. 

 

Had they had any sort of decent QB in that 2004 season they would've been a real threat in the playoffs. 

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Posted (edited)

The 2004 team’s  play was below their talent level.  Not impressed with this Bills team.  

Edited by Bob in STL
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If I remember correctly, they had 10 (or maybe more) special teams or defensive touchdowns that year, which definitely helped fuel that late season run.  I've never seen a more devastating return unit, especially as they had Jason Peters and London Fletcher on those units, blocking for McGee.

 

Here's the TD's I remember:

 

Spikes INT against the Dolphins, then bowling the ball in the end zone (and getting flagged for it)

Peters blocked punt and return against the Bengals, still one of the more athletic big man plays I've ever seen

McGee had 2 kickoff returns that year, and had near misses on several more

Jonathan Smith had a punt return

Clements I think had one too

Clements INT return against the Steelers

 

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3 hours ago, Brianmoorman4jesus said:

I think the 14’ team (once Orton took over) was right there with that 04’ team. I’m going to give last years team the benefit of the doubt and say they are the best of the 2000s. Let’s be real here, we had that game won in Houston and totally choked it away..last years team might have ended up being the best team since 93 had we advanced. This current team has a lot of really good players on it. I don’t think the 04’ team was better. 

Last years offense was pretty lousy relative to the rest of the league.  At least playing well on a consistent basis.  The Flutie led Bills were a better overall team of 1998 and 1999 then last years Bills team.  And the Kelly led Bills of 1995 and 1996 were better also.  We went 10-6 against a pretty marginal schedule.  And collapsed against a Texan team that was far from dominant.  Yes we beat the Steelers and Cowboys on the road.  But the offense was lousy in too many games.  This year I expect to be a much better offensive team, with improved special teams, and hopefully a little more bite on defense w the new acquisitions.   We should win our division.  And win at least 1 if not more playoff games, and be a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl!!

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If we are drawing the line at 2000 I think that team is in the top 5 for sure. Last year’s team was the best, 2014, 2017 and 2004 are all sprinkled in there in some order. I actually believe both at this year will be the best Bills team since the 90’s even if the record is worse. I’ve said it a few times but I think it’s more likely that the Bills win the division than win 10 games. The schedule for the AFC East is brutal this year (ours is actually the easiest of the 4 teams). The Bills could be 9-7 and win the division but be dangerous in the playoffs. I think they’ll win 10 or 11 but even if they don’t this should be the best team since the forward lateral.

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1 hour ago, Doc said:

Maybe for that 6-game stretch they were the best team, but outside of that, no.


and to answer the question, what about as a whole? 
 

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I came , to this thread prepared to argue that 2019 was the best and I think I still will, but the OP makes some solid points.  

 

In particular, 2004 had an impressive roster, even if some past their prime (like Spikes and Bledsoe).  

 

I don't remember plays and games like some of you do, but I can remember how I felt about that team. I felt they were overachievers. I didn't believe they were a good team that deserved to be in the playoffs; I thought they were a flawed team that went on a run and was in position to make the playoffs.  I thought 2019 was a good team that wasn't yet complete but nevertheless deserved to be in the playoffs. 

 

It isn't the entire explanation, but my feeling in 2004 was that the Bills had a loser at quarterback who sometimes won, and I'm my feeling in 2019 was that they had a winner at quarterback who sometime lost.  

 

And I think part of the explanation was coaching.  In 2004, Mularkey was a rookie coach, and he didn't get his team to win the game it needed to make the playoffs.  He never got to the playoffs in five seasons as a head coach.  In 2017, McDermott was a rookie coach, and he did get his team to the playoffs, and he's been to the playoffs in two of his first three seasons. 

 

I think 2019 was the best of the era.

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