Bills 34 Seahawks 10 (!!!)
Last season I became accustomed to the Bills putting up 10, maybe 17 points a game, if things went well. (In fact, those figures are inaccurate: the ratio of field goals to touchdowns scored would typically be about 4-1 and the touchdowns were rarely scored on offense.) There were a lot of 3-and-out drives. I got used to being able to take beer and bathroom breaks on the regular because a lot of nothing happened. Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards seemed like a match made in heaven--the two timid-est motherfuckers in the league, never more comfortable than when giving way to the punting unit (go Moorman!)
All this is by way of saying that I was UNPREPARED for what happened on Sunday. During the Seahawks game, there was a moment during the remarkable faked field goal (FAKED FIELD GOAL!)-kickoff fumble recovery--Edwards to Royal touchdown pass sequence where I think I lost consciousness. Forced to confront the fact that my Bills had put up 14 points in the space of about 60 seconds, I felt my reflexive Buffalo fan pessimism buckle for the first time this century. Apparently what exists just under this hardened defensive stance is pure insane unrealistic conviction that the Bills will clearly win the Super Bowl at last, finally bringing a championship to Buffalo before Canada steals the team. You heard it here first.
I get the feeling the national sports media has no idea what to make of this game, having not paid any attention to Buffalo since 1997. As a confirmed masochist who's seen all the games, let me put this into perspective: no, the Bills are probably not Super Bowl contenders (that chastening is addressed solely to other Buffalo homers: I feel you guys!) But Cris Collinsworth was right on Sunday when he was the only sportscaster to have the balls to assert Buffalo's status as a division contender. This is a dubious honor, obviously; aside from New England the AFC East was an embarrassment last year. But I'm telling y'all, fuck a bunch of Brett Favre. The Jets barely beat the MIAMI DOLPHINS. Buffalo had a decent defense last year, against ridiculous injury-related odds, and it's had a badass special teams unit (and coach!) for years. Finally, finally, it seems like the offense is clicking a little, and that was without Jason Peters who thankgodfully is back. (In passing, Buffalo Bills management, give this dude more money! Seriously, the Bills have been mismanaging their offensive line since they were actually good in the '90s. Let's stop fucking this up, guys!)
Watching the Colts-Bears game Sunday night, I saw at the bottom of my screen that NBC had chosen to recap the Bills game thus: "Bills dominate Seattle 34-10." And it struck me that this was true and that it hasn't happened in years. Sometimes the Bills have improbably kept it close against a good team, as in last season's crazy Monday night game against the Cowboys, but I had forgotten how much fun it is to watch a not-at-all-close game when it's your team that's kicking ass. I've been burned before, of course, but I am officially excited about the NFL in a way that I haven't been since the Bills got me into this goddamn mess by repeatedly stealing, then breaking my heart as a kid.