Nothing like a 7-6 loss to stop the excitement train in its tracks. Granted, it’s preseason. Heck, it’s the first preseason game. However, the showing by the Bills on Thursday was pitiful, to say the least, and the excitement that’s been building in the offseason was promptly shattered by their lackluster play.
One of the biggest problems were penalties. A sign of an undisciplined team is the amount of penalties against them. Well, 14 penalties giving up a total of 134 yards was not only undisciplined, but ridiculous. The team absolutely cannot be that sloppy during regular season games. Coach Gailey admitted his team is undisciplined when he spoke to BuffaloNews.com reporter, Tim Graham: ”That [false start] penalty is my fault,” Gailey said. “I’ve got to get them disciplined. That’s just lack of discipline. That’s my responsibility, the discipline on this football team.”
Okay, so besides the penalty problem, we need to talk about the offense. Well, that’s what they’re called, anyway. A title, if not a description. Chan let Fitzpatrick call his own offense. Guess what he called? Pass plays. For ALL 14 PLAYS. I bet Fred Jackson loved that. Fitz was an unimpressive 6 for 14 in completed passes, for a total of 61 yards. Yikes. I hope Fitz can work out the kinks and have a more impressive showing next game, otherwise we are in trouble. It makes me wonder if Coach Gailey will call all rushing plays in the next game against the Vikings on Friday.
Stevie Johnson somewhat called out his team after the game. He told reporters on Saturday, “Mentally, we’ve got to prepare like champions, really. We’ve got to be past the whole ‘Let’s win this many games in a row.’ We’ve got to be thinking like champions right now, aggressive and dominant. That’s it.”
He added, “[i]t’s only so long where you can just be the old Bills, just getting beat around in this conference … It’s time to turn it around and take over, and I think we’ve got the team that can do it this year. So why not go out there and go hard and try to take this division?”
I personally love Stevie Johnson’s attitude, and I hope it’s shared by the team. They have to have the mindset of winners, because, for so long, they haven’t and it shows when they lose low-scoring games, or get on a winning streak only to unravel from there. Talk is cheap, and I know that until they go out there and actually prove that they’re winners, none of the sound bites matter. But I like that Stevie seems to be maturing into a leader on this team and that he’s not satisfied with just winning some games, or getting into the playoffs. He wants to try to get this division. Now, I don’t know if that’s possible given the talent of the Patriots and Jets this year, but if they’re not trying for it, what’s the point?
Now’s not the time to panic. It’s only one preseason game, and the preseason is not indicative of the season’s play. But they better show something else on Friday against the Vikings, because these fans can’t take another disappointing season after building our hopes up, looking at the roster sheet and dreaming of the playoffs. A good showing in Minnesota will definitely help get the excitement built back up again.
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