Moffitt, McQuistan and Giacomini
The Seattle Seahawks stormed out of the gate last
Sunday, and put the first fourteen points on the board. The Buffalo Bills found themselves trying to
catch up yet again, with little success. Final score? Seahawks 50 Bills 17.
The Seahawks were led
by their remarkable young rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson. He scampered for
three touchdowns in the first half, establishing a team record in the process.
He ran nine times for 92 yards, and completed 14 passes on 23 attempts. Drafted
in the third round out of Wisconsin, Wilson is now ranked
seventh in the NFL with a 94.9 passer rating.
Marshawn Lynch also
aided the Seahawk cause by adding 113 yards on 13 carries. Lynch entered the
game with a career-high 1 266 yards on 261 carries, ranked sixth in the NFL.
Wilson nor Lynch stands six feet tall. In the game today, most quarterbacks and
backup throwers are well over six feet. After all, they need to hit receivers
with accurate passes, picking out their targets downfield. All the while, they
must be able to see over the outstretched arms of thundering defensive linemen
who often stand 6’ 6” and taller.
The Bills’ Kraig
Urbik is one of those typical giants. An offensive guard, he stands at five
inches over six feet and tips the scale at 325. He spends his weekend
afternoons making holes for running backs, and protecting his QB.
C. J. Spiller had
another good game for the Bills, picking up 103 yards on 17 carries. His
quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 21 passes for more than 200 yards. The
statistics are similar to those stacked up by the Hawks. The Bills had an edge
in the time that they possessed the ball. One look at the scoreboard tells you
that something was amiss for the Bills.
They turned the ball
over far too many times. They could not find the end zone when opportunity
knocked. They shot themselves in the foot with untimely penalties. These are
the same criticisms made about all teams that do not make the playoffs. It has
been thirteen years for the Bills. They will regroup in the spring following
their final two games.
Naturally the game
began with plenty of hoopla. Fireworks and guns roaring while the players took
the field. Plenty to entertain the near capacity crowd. Many were there to
catch a glimpse of the high-priced half time act: PSY.
I threw a photo I
took of the remarkable South Korean rapper yesterday on Face Book. Without a
lie, someone wrote back; “Who is that?” PSY has appeared on every American talk
show that exists. There is a clip on You Tube of PSY teaching Brittany Spears how to dance on the Ellen
Degeneres Show. Does it get any better?
PSY was flanked by
his entourage as he took centre stage. The playing field was lined with the Buffalo cheerleaders, and
the Junior Jills, as well as hundreds of fans who had won a contest to dance
with the international phenom. Four minutes later, following the “Gangnam
Style” performance, PSY disappeared into the netherworld of the Rogers Centre, leaving
the crowd buzzing. I think I saw several hundred dollar bills sticking out of
his pockets as he left the field.
PSY-After the Concert (Check the Pockets!)
The Bills have now
lost four regular season games in Toronto,
with one win to their credit. Only die-hard fans make the trip from Buffalo. They know that
they have to brave the traffic on the QEW. There is always a weather factor to
contend with, and the possibility of a hassle at the border.
I had the good
fortune to sit with Mike McCarthy, now scouting for the Montreal Alouettes. Following his playing
days at Southwestern College in Kansas,
McCarthy had a free agent tryout with the Cowboys. He then began an extensive
career on the sidelines, coaching and managing in the CFL, the NFL, and the
USFL. He joined the Hamilton Tiger Cats in 1985,
and has worked for the Argos, and the Ottawa Rough Riders. That
should mean he knows the good restaurants in the CFL East!
He has gained a
wealth of knowledge from his days in the game, working with the likes of Barry
Switzer and George Allen. I truly appreciated his insights from the game.
I know that you would
agree with me that it is now the time to drop the puck. The winters are far too
long in this country without the NHL.
There has been a
whole truckload of weeping and gnashing of teeth in Buffalo since last Sunday. The Bills
collapsed again, and are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
The main Buffalo sports radio
station, WGR 550 on your AM dial spends days following the weekend games
dissecting the Bills. None of the dialogue is very pretty.
“Mike and Mike” in
the morning is a popular show. The hosts are well versed in the game, and they
are not afraid to share their opinions.
In the afternoon, as
is the case with many of these sports stations, fans are encouraged to call,
email, and text, communicate somehow with the hosts. In this case, the comments
are mostly venomous. And the hosts, “Shopp and The Bulldog”, are not shy with
The hosts had this to
say about the team: “They are just incompetent. There was poor clock management
and dubious decisions were made. There were serious blunders made by the
players, and the coaching staff. December football is again meaningless in Buffalo. From October 14th
on to the present, that has been the case.”
“The Bulldog” went so
far as to say that Bills coach Chad
Gailey was scared. At one point in the game, the team sent place kicker Ryan
Lindell onto the field to attempt a 52 yard field goal, with reasonable
expectations. Gailey then called time out, re-evaluated the situation, and
chose to punt. The fans climbed all over him. The coaching staff has taken the
After the game, Coach
Gailey, in his southern drawl, was asked what his plans were now that the team
has been eliminated from post season play yet again, barring a miracle. “We
have to try to get better every time we walk out on the field,” he told the
phalanx of reporters after the game. He is a proud individual, and you could
sense that all of this bashing hurts.
In his defense, the
team has been decimated by injuries the entire season. He has lost key interior
linemen, and other players at key positions. If you haven’t got the troopers,
it is difficult to win the battles.
Arguably, the players
on the field should be held responsible for some of the damage. The St. Louis Rams, now a
.500 team for the season, moved the ball down the field on 14 plays to score
with 48 seconds remaining to win the game. They covered 84 yards on that
particular drive. Granted, the fourth quarter is the easiest time to move the
ball in the NFL, as defensive players feel the exhaustion more that the boys on
the other side of the ball. And the Bills have allowed that to happen far too
many times this season.
C. J. Spiller,
arguably the Bills’ best player, only got the ball 8 times in the game. The
other running back, Fred Jackson, carried the ball 9 times, managing to move it
just 14 yards! Not exactly getting the job done.
C. J. Spiller
Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills’
oft maligned quarterback, completed 25 passes on 33 attempts. That result is
superb, although many of those completions were for short yardage. The team
picked up only 247 yards in the air.
The Seahawks are in Toronto to face the Bills
this Sunday. They are coming off a 58-0 shellacking of the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Marshawn Lynch can't wait to face his former teammates! Yikes! Time
to circle the wagons!
I apologize. I am
starting to sound like a whiney radio guy. Upstate New Yorkers and die hard
fans just want the best for the Bills. They have been to four Super Bowls, but
have no rings. A lot of frustration.
It is time for
change. And not just for the sake of change.