Six days apart, life in the NFL was summed up perfectly in the Buffalo Bills’ coaching booth. We saw offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, a man who previously joked, “I’d like to think I’m not too much of a psychopath,” transform from one person to another completely different.
After overwhelming the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football with his play on September 19, Dorsey calmly organized his papers, took one last look at the scoreboard and couldn’t help but crack a thin, sly smile.
After the time is up in Miami? September 25? You’ve already seen his collapse. Dorsey tossed the headphones away, before digging into her hat, tablet, and treating all the papers in front of her like the skull of a rival mobster in one of the Godfathers. Everything in front of Dorsey was destroyed. It seemed that he, too, was prepared to leave permanent damage, before someone in the booth covered the lens of the CBS camera.
It was this kind of day for the Bills.
They outscored the Miami Dolphins 497-212. They had the ball more than twice as long as Miami. None of that mattered, though, because they couldn’t help but crash and burn when it mattered most and, yes, the clock struck three zeros before the Bills had a chance to attempt a game-winning field goal.
Dolphins 21, Bills 19.
This is where we could spend time rattling off excuses because it was a ridiculously dry afternoon in South Florida and Buffalo’s injuries added to comic proportions, but that kind of whining feels like an exercise reserved for old Bills teams. A quarterback team of Trent Edwards or EJ Manuel. He’s not a Super Bowl favorite. It’s not a team we’ve all justifiably been fawning over these first two weeks of the season. The heat and humidity were extreme, in fact. But this wasn’t the first time the heat index hovered around 100 degrees in Miami. Exactly one year ago, in conditions almost as bad in this very ballpark, the Bills beat the Dolphins, 35-0.
Breaking: Soccer is a sport played in the elements.
That has been the case for a century and that is one of the millions of reasons why this sport is better than any other. Chaos could be happening around you and you have to be mentally strong enough to handle it. If a climate-controlled sport is your thing, flip that dial.
Buffalo was down to all the reinforcements in high school, right. But high school wasn’t the problem. Those backups stood on their own. Bills killer Tyreek Hill finished with two receptions. Head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier deserve credit for preparing these young DBs to play.
The team’s second-best player, Stefon Diggs, was cramping on the sidelines at crucial moments, and he wasn’t alone. The players seemed to be melting all over the field. However, it’s not like this hot day was lost on the Bills. The property has put a ton of money into sports performance. Buffalo has been one of the best teams in the league when it comes to injury prevention.
There is no reason for the pessimism and doom of the masses. A former Bills catcher told me this week that he hoped the team lose — ASAP — to ease the pressure of an undefeated season. He thinks they have that talent and, from experience elsewhere, knows how the pressure to win every game can build. As long as Allen and Diggs are healthy, the Bills will compete.
More than anything, Sunday’s crazy loss showed us once again that the Bills are still a team looking…and looking…and looking for a finishing touch. They have proven to be more than capable of knocking opponents out of the building. When it comes to closing games, something always goes wrong. It’s a strange dichotomy. The Bills pour gas on teams and light a match or lose on freak mistakes late in the fourth quarter. Going back to the middle of the 2020 season, the Bills have now lost seven straight one-touchdown games. Only the Houston Texans have lost every one-touchdown game in the same span.
If the Bills intend to win the Super Bowl, they have to get to the bottom of this.