It’s tough to be a Bills fan. We’ve suffered through some awful, heartbreaking losses. Each week, we’ll take a look at one awful game from years past in a feature called Bills Failure Chronicles.
Background: 2010 was yet another “fresh start” for the Bills, as new coach Chan Gailey began his tenure. The Gailey era got off to a rough start. The Bills dropped five ugly games to start the season, along the way cutting opening day starting quarterback Trent Edwards. Fortunately, after a week 6 bye the Bills began playing better football. A large part of this improvement was due to the inspired play of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and receiver Stevie Johnson. This included an incredible 49-31 win in week 11 over the Bengals that saw the duo hook up for 137 yards and three touchdowns. After the Bengals game, the Bills had some momentum headed into a Week 12 home matchup with the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Terrible Result: This game will live in infamy for one play:
The Bills had managed to shake off a horrible first half to somehow put this game into overtime late. Then this happened. Ugh. The Steelers eventually kicked the game-winning field goal to escape Buffalo with a 19-16 win.
Hope Spot: Ryan Lindell’s game-tying 49-yard field goal with just seconds to play in regulation , or Fred Jackson’s crazy 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the third quarter that came out of nowhere.
“Bills Moment”: (One of those ridiculous, awful moments that only seem to happen to the Bills) Johnson’s drop is one of the all-time best example of a “Bills moment.” The second Fitz released the ball, I really thought the game was over. The Bills were going to win! The Bills were on a roll!
And then with one play, poof! Just like that, all the momentum the Bills had gained over the past weeks just stopped dead in its tracks. Even though the Bills managed to eek out a couple more victories afterwards, the offense really never recovered from this play.
There were actually a few other awful moments in this game, including Fitzpatrick getting picked off by Troy Polamalu in the Steelers’ endzone late in the fourth quarter and Leodis McKelvin fumbling a punt in overtime, costing the Bills valuable field position. Seriously, every time McKelvin is back to receive a kick late in a game I simply assume he’s going to fumble.
Ridiculous Stat(s) of the Game: This is one of my least-favorite kinds of Bills’ losses: the false hope game. This is the kind where the Bills play terribly early, but somehow keep the game close enough that you have to watch. Naturally, they find a way to lose in horrifically painful fashion at the end.
This game fit this description to a T, as the first half was GHASTLY for Buffalo:
1) In the first half, the Steelers outgained Buffalo 225-51.
2) The Steelers had 18 first downs in the first half to Buffalo’s four.
3) Pittsburgh led the time of possession battle by an incredible tally of 23:55 to 6:05 in the first two quarters.
Seriously, how was this game even close at halftime?
Other awful stats:
1) The Bills were inside the Steelers’ 45-yard-line twice in overtime, but failed to score.
2) This was the Bills’ third overtime loss in just six weeks.
Personal Memory: Sitting slack-jawed, staring at the screen for minutes after Johnson’s drop. I just so sure he was going to catch that ball.
Best Postgame Quote: Afterwards, Stevie Johnson knew exactly who deserved the blame for his drop. GOD.
Aftermath: Buffalo fell to 2-9 and never seemed to really recover from the loss, especially on offense. The Bills picked up a few ugly wins over bad Cleveland and Miami teams, but otherwise played very poorly down the stretch to finish with a 4-12 record.
Labatt’s Losing Level: (1 – I’ll be okay; 10 – Only getting blackout drunk will dull the pain)
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