Buffalo Bills Keep Tradition Of Watching Playoffs Together As A Team Alive

For the 12th straight year, members of the Buffalo Bills gathered at Ralph Wilson’s Williamsville home to watch the excitement of this weekend’s NFL Playoff games.

“It’s important to us to keep these kinds of traditions alive,” Bills RB Fred Jackson said during a particularly thrilling moment of Sunday’s Broncos/Steelers game. “Some of the newer players don’t get to experience the energy of watching other teams compete in the playoffs in Ralph’s basement very often. It’s a nice thing for them that we do this.”

The tradition began in January of 2000, the week after Buffalo lost to the Tennessee Titans in the fabled “Music City Miracle.”  The dejected team gathered at Wilson’s home to watch the rest of the playoffs unfold that year and ended up having a great time bonding, reveling and generally “hanging-out.”

Former Bills WR, Eric Moulds remembers that get-together fondly. “It was so much fun…just being with the guys on that team.  You know, eating nachos and shooting pool,” he recounted. “And there were some great football games, too.  It was just a special time.”

The team enjoyed the bonding and merriment so much that they made it a point to meet back at Wilson’s fully-finished basement a year later to watch the 2001 Playoffs when they failed to make the postseason.  The second gathering was just as effective and memorable as the first.  The players decided, then and there, that this would become an annual tradition.

“It’s really something I was looking forward to when I got here,” current OLB and recent addition to the roster, Shawne Merriman, gushed over a completely unironic plate of Buffalo-style chicken wings.  ”I’d heard the stories of the camaraderie that comes from these parties. It didn’t disappoint. I look forward to more of these events in future years.”

The team hopes to meet next week at Wilson’s to watch the second round games and continue the poker tournament – a relatively new tradition that began in 2004.

“The poker is always a hit, sure. We also usually do a mass Spades tourney with some of the Houston Texans players, but they weren’t able to make it this year,” Jackson sighed. “There’s always next year.”

NFL Week 5 Recap

Whether you loved him or hated him, he helped form the NFL into the product it is today

The Dream Team continued their skid by losing their 4th straight game. Both the Packers and Lions remained undefeated with the Lions defeating division rival Chicago. It looks like the early game on Thanksgiving might matter for the first time since Barry Sanders was playing. Dwayne Bowe, Victor Cruz, Steve Smith 1.0, and Brandon Lloyd all had circus catches.

Buffalo 31 – Philadelphia 24: Michael Vick threw 4 INT’s as the Eagles continued their losing streak. Fred Jackson had almost 200 total yards of offense for the Bills. Nick Barnett had a pick 6 for the Bills, the third game in a row that they have done so.

Kansas City 28 – Indianapolis 24: Matt Cassel threw 4 TD passes, with two each going to Breaston and Bowe (I linked one of Bowe’s at the top of this post). Jackie Battle had 119 yards on 19 carries for Chiefs. Curtis Painter had a good game throwing for 277 yards and 2 TD’s.

Minnesota 34 – Arizona 10: The Vikings got off to a great start thanks to three 1st quarter TD runs from Adrian Peterson. Arizona was never in this game as the Vikings were only outscored in the 2nd half 7-6. While the lack os 2nd half points is still a problem, at least the defense played 4 quarters. Kevin Kolb has been disappointing for the Cardinals and that continued Sunday as he was 21-42 for 232 yards and 2 INT’s.

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NFL Power Rankings

  1. Green Bay Packers: The defense is still giving up big plays in the passing game, but with the level Rodgers is playing at (1st in QB Rating), the offense can more than cover for it.

    Apparently the concept of a scoreboard is lost on this man

  2. Detroit Lions: The Lions showed a lot of resolve in their second consecutive 2nd half comeback. Calvin Johnson appears to be uncoverable this season.
  3. New England Patriots: Tom Brady has come back down to Earth since the first three games of the season, but Wes Welker has been terrific the past two weeks.
  4. New Orleans Saints: TE Jimmy Graham is emerging as a great threat in the Red Zone, as well as between the 20’s. I’m sure that’s just what the Saints’ opponents wanted to hear with Colston coming back.
  5. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens defense outscored their offense last week. They can’t rely on that every week, but the defense is good enough to carry this team as it has in the past.
  6. Tennessee Titans: Matt Hasselbeck is healthy and having a great season so far. It can only get better as Chris Johnson continues to improve. Continue reading

NFL Week 4 Recap

 

Pictured: Not a fumble...at least for this week

Sorry for missing last week. I was at a wedding for the weekend and was busy at work during the week.

The Giants and Cardinals game ended in a bizarre play. Ultimately, in my opinion, Victor Cruz made a dumb mistake that probably should have cost his team (more in the game’s recap). For a league that wants to take judgement calls out of the hands of its officials, it seems strange that they would leave language like “giving himself up” in the rulebook. I wonder if the NFL will look at that wording this offseason to redefine “giving yourself up” to “sliding feet first” just to remove any doubt.

Chicago 34 – Carolina 29: The Bears ran the ball very well with Matt Forte. He had 205 yards on 25 carries. Devin Hester returned another punt for a TD, which again made me wonder why any team kicks it near him. Cam Newton threw for 374 yards and TD while rushing for 2 more in a losing effort. I’m sure he’d take last week numbers for a different result this week, though.

Cincinnati 23 – Buffalo 20: One of the final 3 unbeaten teams lost on Sunday as the Bills gave up a 14 point 4th quarter lead. The Bengals rallied in the 4th quarter and kicked a game winning FG as time expired to pull to .500. Andy Dalton wasn’t very accurate, but hit a lot of big plays as he fell just short of a 300 yard passing game.

Tennessee 31 – Cleveland 13: Matt Hasselbeck threw for 3 TD’s, including an 80 yarder to Jared Cook. Chris Johnson broke 100 yards for the Titans, who are now 3-1. Jordan Babineaux had a 97 interception to cap the scoring for the Titans. Colt McCoy threw for 350 yards and a TD, but you would have to think that he shouldn’t be putting the ball in the air 61 times for the Browns to be successful.

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NFL Power Rankings

Tom Brady is on a record-setting pace so far this season

1. Green Bay Packers: Green Bay struggled early as the offense only ran 3 plays in the 1st quarter. But, the offense got going and scored enough points to win. Losing Pro Bowl Safety Nick Collins is going to hurt in the long run.

2. New England Patriots: Tom Brady continued his torrid start to the second half. The defense did it’s share this week, forcing some turnovers.

3. New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees looked great and the defense demolished the Bears offense. If they had pulled off the comeback in Week 1, they’d be at the top of this list.

4. Houston Texans: The Texans went on the road and continued their unbeaten streak against the Dolphins. Their defense contained Chad Henne, who threw for over 400 yards the game before.

5. New York Jets: The Jets defense embarrassed Luke McCown by creating multiple turnovers. The Jets running game has yet to get going, and they will need that going forward in the division to win games.

6. Detroit Lions: The Lions looked really good destroying the Chiefs. By going for it on 4th and goal already up by a couple scores, they showed a willingness to put opponents away that they didn’t in Week 1.

7. Philadelphia Eagles: They may have fallen apart late, but the loss of Mike Vick might have had something to do with that. Mike Kafka did look good in relief and might beat out Vince Young for the #2 spot. The linebacking core has to improve.

8. Washington Redskins: In a league where the final result is all that matters, the Redskins are perfect. Washington is 2-0 and Grossman seems to be making just enough plays to win.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I’m sure the Bucs would like to get off to faster starts, but they have shown that they are a second half team. They need to get the running game going earlier in the game to avoid having to comeback so often. Continue reading

NFL Week 2 Recap

It never ceases to amaze me that there are apparently 32 separate conspiracies in the NFL against each and every team. The main culprit this week were the Bear fans complaining about each and every call (or no call) that went against them. They also complained about how dirty the Saints apparently are. I found it humorous considering one of the guilty Bears fans tried to start a fight with a Falcons fan the week before for complaining about the same thing. I guess it’s just part of watching your team play. On to the games:

1 Starting NFL QB > 5 US Presidents in the eyes of Bills fans

Buffalo 38 – Oakland 35: Oakland looked like the East Coast team early as they sprinted out to an early lead. However, Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Pride of Harvard, led the Bills to 5 consecutive TD drives on each of their possessions in the 2nd half. The final score came with less than a minute left. I have to say that I was disappointed that the Raiders didn’t let Janikowski attempt the 74 yard FG for the tie.

Detroit 48 – Kansas City 3: It appears that it is going to be a long season in Kansas City this year. They were never in this game and Jamaal Charles went down early with what is a season ending knee injury. Matthew Stafford tossed four TD passes, and the Lions look like they can contend for a playoff spot.

Tennessee 26 – Baltimore 13: Baltimore seemed to be basking in the glow of their Week 1 win, and forgot that they had a game in Week 2. Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards, and the Titans upset the Ravens. Chris Johnson still didn’t do too much, but if Hasselbeck can continue to throw the ball well, the running lanes should open up eventually.

Cleveland 27 – Indianapolis 19: The Browns won their first game over the Colts since 1994. The Colts are a completely different team without Peyton, but the good news is that they seem to be the front-runners for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. If the Colts expect to win many games, then they can’t afford to turn the ball over.

Tampa Bay 24 – Minnesota 20: Minnesota’s defense keeps forgetting that there is a second half to games, and Josh Freeman continues to perform well late in games. Adrian Peterson is still running as angry as ever, and McNabb managed to eclipse 40 yards passing for the first time this season (he threw for 228). It wasn’t enough, as LeGarrette Blount ran up the middle for the winning score with :31 left.

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NFL Power Rankings

Sexy Rexy looked good on Sunday

1. Green Bay Packers: The defending champs picked up where they left off last season offensively, and one would have to believe that Week 1 will be the most points they give up all season.
2. New England Patriots: Tom Brady looked great (obviously) and their no-huddle offense with two TE’s that can split out wide will present problems for most defenses. The defense is a bit of a question mark after giving up 400+ passing yards to Chad Henne.
3. Baltimore Ravens: The defense dismantled the defending AFC champs. Joe Flacco looked very good, as did Ray Rice.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick did enough, but he will have to improve his accuracy against tougher opponents.
5. Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler looked much better in Year 2 of Mike Martz’s scheme, and Matt Forte is a perfect fit. The defense seems as strong as ever. (Side note: Thoughts, prayers and condolences to the Urlacher family after the passing of Brian’s mother on Monday.)
6. New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees and the Saints did enough to win against just about any other opponent. The passing defense needs some work, but they also played against one of the top 5 passing teams in the league.
7. Houston Texans: There certainly appeared to be a changing of the guard in the AFC South on Sunday. It would be nice if the trendy pick for the playoffs of the last 5 years sustained it for an entire season. Continue reading