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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Reactions from Bills/Pats

What a game today. The first half the Bills forced turnovers that covered a porous defense and inept defensive line. The hoodie must have found a gap we cover poorly. Ridley and and Brandon Boldin both went over 100 yards rushing and Boldin will shoot up the fantasy football transaction list for next week.

Some big problems- I watched Mario Williams give up on numerous plays. Kyle Williams chased Brady to where Williams would have been if he didn’t decide to stop for a blow. I have listened to and read a lot of criticism of Mario’s production. Honestly as long as he is eating up two blockers I consider it a job well done. Not playing to the whistle though is close to unforgivable. It was in the second quarter, when we had mo.

Speaking of Mo that Spiller fumble at the end of the half loomed large. We crumbled against New England, again. It is disappointing what ease two backs were able to go over 100 yards. It wasn’t two home run runs and a cloud of dust. It was six to ten yards. We didn’t adjust and they knew how to beat the defense. Barnett had 15 tackles, most in the Pozlusny zone (five to ten yards past the line of scrimmage. Brady abused Justin Rogers with Welker on the same pattern at least five times. How does that happen? We looked outclassed on the field against New England… again.

I was stunned at how poorly the defensive line played. They were average. There were two plays I noticed, including the touchdown to Woodhead, where they had a shot at Brady and missed him. They need to be better, much better. Our defensive success is linked to their ability to dominate. The Patriots were without Logan Mankins and they still took our line to school.

The bright spots on D? Byrd continues to look and play like a Pro Bowler, though he was injured in the game. If it is the same leg issue from the Chiefs game the Bills are without their best defensive back. Gilmore looked really good too. He had one play where he was a half second too slow for the pick, but he covered Lloyd well.

The Fitz. How does the guy who threw the pretty TD to Chandler in the corner of the end zone also throw so many ducks? He almost got Donald Jones decapitated in a short route deep in the fourth quarter.  I like the Fitz as a leader. Fitz the gunslinger is too erratic at times and the times they are a often. A sign he felt defeated in the game?  He slid in the fourth quarter on a scramble.

Both Spiller and Jackson fumbled. Freddy is usually solid. Losing Glenn and Urbik to injuries was crushing. This team folded. The glow these two running backs brought to start the game was muted by the limited usage of the running game. The injuries to the offensive line were devastating, but good teams overcome these obstacles.

Perhaps it is because I have witnessed at least three other Patriot beatings like this at the stadium in the past or that I am a naive optimist but while this game was disappointing, we are only at the quarter post of the season. The true test comes in the next few weeks. How/Do they adjust to this massive loss. We will find out what kind of team we have soon. Adversity is here and it is time to rise to the challenge. Let’s go Bills.

 
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Posted by on 09/30/2012 in Gamehenge

 

Week 4- Bills/Patriots

Last year the Bills played a near perfect game to beat the Patriots at home. It broke a 15 game losing streak to the Pats. I was witness at the stadium for more than a few beatings and was there when the Sam Adams/Lawyer Milloy led Bills beat the Patriots for the last time in a long time.  I was feeling great about the game until I woke up Friday morning with visions of pumps n go routes on Gilmore sowing doubt in my team.

I think he will be better though. He has to be as do the front four. How the Bills defense deals with Tom Brady will dictate much of the game.  The amount Freddy Jackson/C.J. Spiller can contribute is another factor. While having both would be a luxury I think Freddy is the key. If he can play 75 percent of the offensive plays at 90 percent the Bills have a chance to put up big numbers against a young Patriots defense that has been giving up yardage and points.

While the rain in the forecast already has my joints rattling I hope a steady rain falls tomorrow in Orchard Park.  This is a big game for the team. Discard the tough road haul following this game, the Bills have a chance to put the Patriots in an unfamiliar 1-3 hole.

I think Chan and has staff pull out all the stops.  It could be a sloppy game, but Buffalo prevails.
Buffalo 35 New England 27

 
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Posted by on 09/29/2012 in Gamehenge

 

Week 3- Bills/Browns

I am making a beef stew with homemade stock I brewed up yesterday.  It is a fall classic and I have high hopes the Bills will throw, er run their way to victory today.  The Browns are pitiful against the run. The Bills have excelled at running.  Chan likes to swerve sometimes in situations like this (They will never expect us to pass the first 10 plays against a porous low  ranked rushing defense!) and that is cause for concern.

The Bills have problems with games like this on the road. They have not won on the road since opening week last season versus the Chiefs. A smart road strategy is to run the ball, eat clock and keep your defense fresh while keeping the opposing fans from impacting the game. C.J. Spiller and Tashard Choice should be the main components to the offense today.

Cleveland is starting a rookie quarterback  and a rookie running back who shows flashes of being a top back in the league. They have a stud at linebacker in D’Qwell Jackson, but are very thin, beat up or suspended at most other positions.  Use the road grating offensive line to shorted and win the game.

If the Bills get up early Cleveland will have to try and pass their way back.  The defensive backfield could have a huge day.

If the Bills run the ball –  Bills 30 Browns 14

If the Bills lead with the pass- Bills 35 Browns 27

 
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Posted by on 09/23/2012 in Gamehenge

 

Ah, Fall.

That chill is back in the air. It is crisp, it is refreshing, it is calming.  I love Autumn, Fall, harvest season, whatever you want to call it.  It is combination of many things.

Football has always loomed large in the Fall, whether it was pick up games on the front lawn or park or attending Buffalo Bills games with my Dad and family.  During my high school years we started to get good. Scary good, as another Buffalo institution Rick Jeanneret has been known to say.  Thurman, Jim, Darryl, Kent, the Biscuit all being lead by Marv Levy, it was something to behold.  I was there for many of the big moments (granted the end of the season ones were in winter) and the energy of a crowd of 80,000 mostly like minded people is amazing.  It is one of the best feelings I have ever experienced.

My own families fall tradition is steeped in stews and soups.  Butternut squash, chilis, beef stews concocted with homemade stock.  They are the perfect foods to prepare for a frigid Buffalo winter. With no set schedule my wife and I alternate making them, as we both enjoy cooking.  I wield a sometimes heavy hand with the herbs, though have learned my lessons on salt, both too much and not enough.

Walks in the Fall are a favorite activity. The aforementioned crisp air is a major selling point. I love it almost right up until the freezing point.  I run warm to hot so I am often wearing a corduroy jacket that is my favorite article of clothing even when it dips to the 40s.  It is a fantastic jacket that I adore, but that is showing its age.  It is not aging with any manner of grace at all.

A fall day, a thing of beauty.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 09/21/2012 in Weekapaug Groove

 

Bills/Chiefs reaction

The afterglow of a victory is always sweet, especially when it appears there were no major injuries. Jairus Byrd is in a walking boot, but x-rays were negative. Ruvell Martin… who cares, it is Ruvell Martin. Seriously, the guy is a special teams player who is always one shove away from a 15 yard penalty. If there is a Bill in combat on special teams expect it to be Martin. Perhaps that is what is expected of him, but it drives me nuts every time.

The defense as a whole had a monster game.  Nick Barnett’s goal line strip is the type of hustle play that playoff teams make.  I can’t tell you the last time I felt confident with the Bills in a goal line situation on defense, but they played strong and took away points from the Chiefs. Five sacks was wonderful and it was nice to see the one time I noticed them sending 6 on a blitz that it was effective. Much like against the Jets they were stout against the run.

The defensive backs were better, but for some reason Aaron Williams was still giving 8-10 yards in a cushion. Stephone Gilmore had some rookie mistakes, the worst of which was tying his shoe in the end zone after an incompletion. It led to a penalty.  I am sure he will be a great one, but I am dying for some growing pains to abate.

Spiller was dynamic. He has been studying well behind Freddy and it showed- explosive through holes, cutting subtly to gain an extra yard or two- he looks like the real deal.  I can’t wait for Freddy’s return and some Pistol formation.

Fitz was Fitz.  He threw some horrible short arms. Brad Smith bailed him out with a fantastic catch. He also had the great read on Stevie Johnson’s TD (Arm chair quarterback that I am, I had the same play call from section 110 row 24) and the pass to Chandler was nice.  He had a number of solid runs too.  People expect too much from Fitz I think and while more is possible he is not consistent enough.
Cleveland on Sunday…

 
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Posted by on 09/17/2012 in Gamehenge

 

Week 2- Bills/Chiefs

Last weeks game was disappointing. The offense looked bad when the Jets had the oven cranked up, the defense looked bad pretty much all day. It was not what any Bills fan was hoping for.  You would have thought it was week 8 of an 0-8 campaign to witness the hysteria in town.

Howard Simon on WGR-550 (the only sports talk radio in town and the teams new flagship station) has started a college quarterback watch.  I get it Fitz was awful.  How often do people expect Fitz to be dominant? He is my favorite quarterback since Kelly, but he is no Kelly.  A balanced attack with solid defense is the recipe for consistent success.

The Buffalo News also sees falling clouds and stars in much of their coverage. Jerry Sullivan went from they will go 10-6 to this week being a must win.  When I listened to him on the radio this week (on WGR)  I could only imagine how successful he would be in a remake of any disaster movie as the raving lunatic.

If the Bills can fix or show signs of fixing issues in the secondary and the passing game (I do make the big assumption the pass rush will correct itself) while winning I will be content.

I am walking up to what is at least the 20th season opener live in the stands in Orchard Park.  I love the feeling in the air on game day, especially this early in the season.  I will be keeping an eye on-

  • Mario Williams- I am curious to see how he handles his early adversity in Buffalo.  I didn’t notice him in week 1, which is a problem.  I see a sack or two with pressure all day long out of Mario.  He will feed off the crowd.
  • Defensive back play-  Wow, was it bad last week. I hope they play more bump and run or at least halve the distance they give away at the line of scrimmage.  This is a Bills defensive back issue that transcends coaching staffs- we give a big cushion.  I hate it, especially when we have two corners that stand 6 feet 200 pounds.
  • The Fitz-  The Fitz needs to take two or three shots down field in the first 2 series.  The Bills have this 15 yard box that about 80 percent of our pass plays take place.  Defensive coordinators don’t have to respect the long ball.
  • Run the ball-  Keep the Chiefs honest.  Their defense is peppered with first rounders including Eric Berry who went down in the season opener against the Bills last year.  He is the safety style the Bills hoped for when they drafted Donte Whitner 8th overall in 2006. Use C.J. and Tashard early and often. Perhaps even sprinkle in Corey McIntyre at HB and put Dickerson in at FB. Just make sure you run the ball.

I don’t know who does the speech in the Chiefs locker room but I hope it is Head Coach Romeo Crennel. He makes Dick Jauron seem like an emotional mess.  I am sure Mr. Crennel is amazing with the X’s and O’s (especially when extra practice film is laid at his feet) but hearing his interview this week reminded of Ben Stein.

 

Both teams need the game.  Home opener, a defense seeking redemption and the 12th man brings me to Bills 24 Chiefs 17.

 
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Posted by on 09/16/2012 in Gamehenge

 

NHL 13

One of my hobbies has always been playing games. I have played every system generation from the Atari 2600 to the current generation (XBOX 360) from the time I was a young child until now.  I remember receiving PItfall for the 2600 with my twin brother for a birthday in grammar school.  We had an inter mural basketball game that day and all I could think about was jumping over a virtual pit of quick sand, not taking jump shots- my form sucked anyway.

While there were times in the last 30 years where gaming has taken a back seat, it has always had presence. I lament some of the marathon sessions of the past, while others (admittedly few) bring a smile to my face.   One facet of gaming that has been fairly absent over the last 20 years is sports gaming with my twin brother.

Time and monetary considerations made me pause when it came time to purchase NHL 13.  My 10 month old is already vying to steal the moniker “Hoover” from me.  In my early teens I inhaled food at a pace that would suggest competitive eating was a viable future. Boy is already showing tendencies of an eating champion.

Time is the big one.  Squandering time has gone from a shrug the shoulders reaction to stomach churning for me.  Earlier this week I figured out that I had breathing room to purchase the game. The remaining quandary was time management.  When the heck am I going to play?  I will figure that out and adjust accordingly.

At the end of the day it helps bridge the gap 156 miles between my brother and I. I am sure when I lace up my virtual skates and pixalatedly smash him in the mouth the time will feel well spent.

 
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Posted by on 09/14/2012 in Dirt, Gamehenge