Image Credit: © Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Indifference can be either a really good or bad thing. I've had football Sundays where I didn't realize I was watching a Bills game until well into the 2nd quarter. Obviously, I'm watching the game, but it just feels like I'm watching any other program. Typically, I wake up on a football Sunday, and I'm already mentally planning my morning around pregame shows, food, and whatever else I have to do that day. But some days, like Saturday, I was alarmingly non-nonchalant and didn't have a single worry about the game. I knew we could beat them but also knew a season-ending game to the Pats would stick with me all off-season. Regardless, I was cool as a cucumber going into what would become a perfect game and arguably the best Bills game of the past 25 years.
1 - Seven - There's been a lot of stats being thrown out about this game to represent just how historic it was. For me, the stat that really defines this game is that we only had seven third down plays. Not only that, but I don't believe any of them were longer than 4 yards. I mean, seriously? There are blowout wins, there's imposing your will, then there's just doing whatever you want and basically running a practice against another team. Seven total third downs, including the kneel down? It makes no sense how any team should be able to do that to another professional NFL team. But man, if it was going to happen, aren't you glad it was against the Pats?
2 - Star - There were a lot of moments that made me yell out and wake my daughter up, but none more so than the sack by Star. Holy ***** did he destroy Mac Jones. Star absolutely destroyed his blocker, thought he was running the 40 and launched himself at Jones. I almost felt bad for the rookie and wouldn't have been surprised if the play hurt him. That sack was probably my favorite defensive play of the season, and yes, I saw the Micah Hyde interception. Honestly, I have no idea how Hyde caught that ball. I saw his closing speed and tracking on that pass live and still thought it was a Pats touchdown. These guys were just playing out of their mind.
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
3 - Knox - I don't know if GMFB did angry runs this week, but Knox deserved the scepter this week. I don't know who the play was against, but Knox stiff-armed this poor man into the New Era basement. Knox was a monster in this game and almost had three touchdowns. He was the definition of a red-zone threat, but even if he had all seven touchdowns, that stiff arm was just disrespectful on so many levels, and he owes that player's neighbors an apology.
4 - Once divided, nothing left to subtract
Some words, when spoken can't be taken back
Walks on his own with thoughts he can't help thinking
Future's above, but in the past he's slow and sinking
5 - Gilly - One of the biggest unsung heroes of this game was Reggie Gilliam. In previous games, I felt like Daboll was being a little too transparent with his play-calling based on where Gilly was lined up. Gilly was pulling, motioning, and even caught a pass in this game. Gilly made some fantastic next-level blocks and was instrumental in some of Josh and Motor's run. Bates and Morse also had some great pull blocks, but Gilly was a big factor in this game that won't show up on the stat sheet.
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
6 - Josh - Was anyone else surprised at how fast Josh looked in this game? We all know he can run, but I almost wonder if he took that Viagra recommendation a little bit too much to heart. Inspired by Barry Sanders, Josh absolutely demoralized Pats defenders with stiff arms, juke moves, and pure speed. He made Judon look like he was stuck in quicksand and absolutely broke the ankles of another defender. Josh wasn't in sugar high mode. He was in raid the villages and hide the women and children mode. I think most of the fans wanted our next QB to be able to do two things, destroy the Pats and the Hoodie, and win a Super Bowl. He's absolutely proven the first one as he plays like someone shoved a game genie up his ass and put him in God Mode.
7 - Motor - In previous games, Motor was utilized as a nice offset to the passing game to keep the defense honest. In this game, there were drives where he was the offense. I think it was the second or third touchdown drive, but Motor was the entire last 40 yards of the drive and capped it with a touchdown. He was running tosses, counters, draws, and even helped as a check down. On the big pass to Beasley, Motor picked up a crucial blitzer that allowed that pass to even get delivered. This might have been the most complete rushing game plan and execution we've seen all season. The Chiefs will not be able to dismiss Motor again, which will only help the passing game that much more.
8 - Gabe - It's tough to call out any specific receivers, considering how well Josh distributed the ball to everyone. However, Gabe showed off great hands and body control on his limited catches. His touchdown catch shows his potential as he caught a bullet pass at his knees with a defender draped on his back. If I were to watch that play ten times, I would expect and respect a drop on 9 of them. Gabe just continues to impress, and I hope to continue to see him take snap share away from Beasley and Sanders.
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
9 - Special Teams - At this point, I think Hyde should be the only player returning kicks or punts. Hell, he almost returned a punt for a touchdown, if not for a last-minute trip. You could see how much this team loves Hyde as Josh was giddy like a school kid thinking Hyde was going to take it to the house. McKenzie almost had another whoopsie on a punt, and we just can't risk it going forward. I don't know what's going on with our returners, but I think we are starting to understand why Roberts had his roster spot.
10 - McD - I mean, any time you can make the Hoodie want to take his toys and go home is always a beautiful site for Bills fans. The legends showed up, Kyle from GMFB was there, and the stadium was rocking in the 0-degree weather. McD had his team ready, amped, and delivered a spectacle of a beating. There was never a moment where you felt like this team wasn't prepared or outcoached. Every button he pushed delivered a result. Regardless of how we got here, the path now remains the same. Yes, we would have liked the next two games to go through Buffalo, but a rematch with the Chiefs was inevitable, and the Titans/Bengals after was also likely. We are where we need to be and playing at the highest possible level.
It's hard not to have high expectations of this team going forward. I think we are all seeing the Bills play at a level we expected of them when the season started. I mean, we beat the over/under in this game by ourselves! We have a tough match-up this week with another team that recently found their defense and rushing attack in arguably one of the toughest stadiums in the league. McD is winless on the road in the playoffs, and there's work to do, but it's hard not to feel confident after this past week's game.
BillsFans - Virgil