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.
I love football, and I love the Buffalo Bills.
Through the good times, and the much more common bad times, I’ve been an absolute diehard since age 5. I’ve never missed a game unless I’ve absolutely had to. I’m always excited for the upcoming game, even when the Bills are 4-10 or some other piss-poor record and are about to get slaughtered on the road by a good team. Doesn’t matter. Even through lost Super Bowls and entire decades of losing, I’m always ready for more Bills action.
There’s only been ONCE in my entire lifetime of Bills fandom that I’ve ever felt like turning off the game and finding a less depressing hobby..and this week I’ll be talking about that game: Browns 6, Bills 3. Dear lord, what a shitty game.
Background: Coach Dick Jauron was on very thin ice heading into the 2009 season. Desperate to keep his job, Jauron decided to roll the dice by trying a no-huddle attack. The complete failure of the no-huddle led to the offensive coordinator getting fired right after the preseason. Despite that, the Bills somehow rallied in the season opener, dominating the mighty Patriots on the road for 58 minutes….only to blow an 11-point lead in the last two minutes and lose in agonizing fashion. (This game was covered in a previous edition of Bills Failure Chronicles.)
After a win over the terrible Buccaneers at home, the Bills were blown out twice after that to fall to 1-3. Fortunately, the perfect remedy to the Bills’ woes was coming to Buffalo: the hapless Cleveland Browns. The Browns were 0-4 on the season and seriously looked even worse than their record indicated. They freaking sucked in 2009. So the Bills should have been able to beat them at home, right? Right?
The Terrible Result: In what seriously might have been the worst NFL game ever played, the Browns “prevailed” 6-3, with an 18-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff sealing the win in the final seconds.
Neither offense did jack in the first half, with Cleveland taking a 3-0 lead going into halftime. That might have been the most boring half of football in the history of the game. NOTHING happened. Lots of punts and penalties.
After the Bills tied the score at 3 early in the third, the teams fittingly traded interceptions. Then the game became the a personal horror show for Roscoe Parrish.
Every Bills offensive player was terrible, but Parrish had an especially bad day. On the last play of the third quarter, he fielded a punt near midfield and somehow decided to run the wrong way and lose 15 yards. Then, after both teams punted about 30 times in the fourth quarter, Parrish muffed a punt late in the fourth quarter deep in Bills’ territory. Even Cleveland’s bumbling offense couldn’t screw that golden opportunity. A few rushes later, Cundiff kicked his game-winner.
Norwood Moment: This whole freaking game was a Norwood moment. I’d rather play tag with a pack a rabid wolverines than watch this embarrassment again. If I had to pick the worst moment, it’s Parrish’s fumble.
Hope Spot: This game sucked all of the hope out of me. And not just my Bills-related hope. I didn’t smile for about a week after this.
Ridiculous Stat(s) of the Game: Oh, we got plenty for this one.
1) The winning quarterback in this game was none other than Derek “Horse Balls” Anderson. And wow, was he ever shitty. His line: 2-17 passing, 23 yards, 1 INT. 2 for fucking 17. And he won. In fact, that was the lowest percentage passing (11%) of any winning quarterback in NFL history.
2) The Bills had 13 penalties. That’s good discipline, Jauron.
3) The Browns entered this game on a ten-game losing streak…with their most recent win also coming in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Really?
4) Buffalo middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell went down to a season-ending injury in the second quarter. His replacement, Marcus Buggs, then went down to a season-ending injury in the third quarter.
5) Jamal Lewis – or more accurately, the mummified corpse of Jamal Lewis – rushed for 117 yards on 31 carries. Holy crap. That should not have happened in 2009. Lewis could hardly freaking walk at that point. He only rushed for 383 yards the rest of the season combined.
6) The MVP of the game was without a doubt Browns punter Dave Zastudil, who landed seven of his nine punts inside the Bills’ 20. Wow. He actually played well. He was literally the only one.
Personal Memory:My friends Dan (a Bills fan) and George (a Browns fan) attended this game in person. They called me at halftime, pissed because they’d blown their hard-earned money on the worst half of football ever. I was still in a somewhat decent mood at this point, and I made a joke about how the Bills would lose 6-3 (or 5-3, or 3-2…I don’t remember which crappy score I guessed). I really wasn’t hoping that I’d be right.
After the Parrish fumble, I get another call from the duo…Dan is simply dumbstruck, and George is hysterically laughing in the background. George wasn’t rubbing it in or anything. It was simply the laughter of someone who had witnessed something so awful he had to laugh so he wouldn’t cry. He rooted for the team that scored more points, but no one “won” that day.
After the game, I was so depressed I actually began wondering if I still liked sports or not. I turned off the TV and didn’t watch any more football that weekend. I didn’t watch ESPN that entire week. I coached my youth soccer team so lifelessly I probably should have gotten fired.
It took actual determination, but I turned on the TV to watch the Bills the following Sunday. They won. And all the bad feelings disappeared instantly. That’s life as a Bills fan.
Best Postgame Quote:
Take it away, random guy on Youtube!
Aftermath: The Bills actually responded with two straight wins following this loss, as Mark Sanchez tossed about a hundred interceptions to hand the Bills a win over the Jets in the Meadowlands the next Sunday. Buffalo then won in Carolina the week after that. But the wheels came off shortly afterwards, leading to Jauron’s firing and the ushering in of the Chan Gailey-Buddy Nix era the following season.
Labatt’s Losing Level: (1 – I’ll be okay; 10 – Only getting blackout drunk will dull the pain)
Nine. And really, this probably should be ten.