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 absolutely love sports movies. I don’t have an official ranking or anything, but sports movies would probably take up seven of the top ten spots on my “all time favorite movies” list.
Yeah, yeah – they’re cliched and extremely predictable: the underdogs will beat the unbeatable-seeming bullies in the final game. But maybe that’s why I like movies so much – unlike the scrappy bands of misfits I root for in real life (the Bills & the Washington Nationals), movie underdogs actually win once in a while and I get to feel good about myself.
That’s why the game we’re talking about today is so frustrating. If the Bills had won this game, they would have made a movie about it someday. And it would have been awesome. But in this case, the bad guys won. And the villians didn’t just win…they out-and-out HUMILIATED the underdogs. It wasn’t pretty.
Background: I’m not sure if an NFL team has ever gotten off to worse start than the 2007 Buffalo Bills. Not only did the team get off to a bad start on the field (1-4 after five games, including a horrendously painful Monday Night Football loss to Dallas), but the team suffered through the fallout of a horrific spinal cord injury to tight end Kevin Everett.
Somehow, after a bye week in week 6, the Bills pulled it together, running off four straight wins to improve to 5-4. Suddenly the scrappy Bills had dragged themselves into the playoff race, and were looking very much like sports movie protagonists.
Unfortunately, standing in between Buffalo and five straight wins were the ultimate sports villians: the big, bad, undefeated New England Patriots. The Patriots had destroyed nearly everyone they’d played up to that point, only playing one close game up to that point – a 24-20 win in Indianapolis. This stretch included a 38-7 demolition of the Bills in Foxborough earlier in the season.
On paper, this was a total mismatch, but the Bills had an ace up their sleeve: In a touching Kevin Everett appeared on the stadium video screen right before kickoff to thank his teammates and fans for their support during his recovery…and to encourage the Bills to beat New England.
Wow. Kevin Everett appearing on a video screen right before the game? The typically insane crowd for a night game in Buffalo? The fact the Bills were on a roll? All of the elements seemed to be there for a historic upset (and a future movie, in which the final scene features Kevin Everett celebrating in his hospital bed as the Bills score a last-second touchdown for the win).
But this is the Bills, so we all know how it turned out.
The Terrible Result: On the first play from scrimmage, Bills QB J.P. Losman hit Lee Evans for a 16-yard gain. And that was almost literally the last positive play the Bills had the entire night. The Patriots sacked Losman on the next play and then picked him off two plays later. And the ass-kicking was on.
Holy crap, what an ass-kicking it was. The Pats scored on their first possession and never freaking stopped scoring on their way to a 56-10 win that seriously wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. The Pats could have won this 106-10 if they’d wanted to.
I won’t spend too much time rehashing the details of this one. Really, one thing says it all: the Patriots scored touchdowns on their FIRST SEVEN POSSESSIONS. That’s the kind of thing you see in high school games with terribly mismatched schools. Arena League defensive coordinators would be upset with that, for Pete’s sake.
Hope Spot: Roscoe Parrish did catch a 49-yard TD late in the first quarter to make it 14-7. There was brief hope that would spark the Buffalo defense…but no.
Norwood Moment: The whole game, really. But Losman getting sacked on the second play was pretty deflating. And then him getting picked off two plays later was extremely deflating. I really don’t miss J.P.
Ridiculous Stat(s) of the Game: Oh boy. A whole bunch here.
1) I mentioned it already, but the Patriots scored touchdowns on their first SEVEN possessions. How does that even happen in the NFL?
2) Tom Brady: 31-39 passing, 379 yards, 5 TD. Not too shabby, Tom.
3) Randy Moss: 10 rec, 128 yards, 4 TD. Watching Moss eat up the Buffalo secondary was like watching some kid who got left back in school 3 times so he gets to play middle school football as a 17-year-old.
4) The Patriots averaged 9.3 yards per pass attempt. That’s insane.
5) The immortal Patriots fullback duo of Kyle Eckel and Heath Evans combined for 20 carries, 96 yards, and a touchdown. Just…wow.
6) Bills coach Dick Jauron elected to kick a field goal down 42-7. Oh good Dick, now we’re only down by 32.
7) New England went 8-for-11 on third downs and 2-for-2 on fourth downs. The only “stop” the Buffalo defense got all game was when the Patriots decided not to go for a 4th-and-inches up 46 points late in the fourth quarter.
Personal Memory: I have never hated anything more in sports than I hated the 2007 Patriots. They were everything I’ve hated about the Patriots over the past 10 years, but like multiplied by 20.
So I was definitely upset as I was watched this game, especially in the first half. But I got over it pretty quick. Why? The Pats were so freaking good. What an incredible football team. Despite the amazing (and hilarious) way they lost in the Super Bowl, I still say this was the greatest team ever assembled. The talent gap between the teams was so vast it almost was like a sports movie. (Little Giants, for instance.) If these two teams had played 1,000 times, I’m not sure the Bills would have ever won. Tough to get too upset about that.
Best Postgame Quote: Pats coach Bill Belichick described Brady and Moss after the game as “pretty good players.” You think, Bill?
Aftermath: Buffalo got blown the next week as well, but then pulled off two more wins to stay alive in the playoff chase heading into a game at Cleveland. That game was played in a complete blizzard, and will be the subject of a future Bills Failure Chronicles. Buffalo finished the season 7-9, and we’ll never see that great sports movie.
We all know what happened to the Patriots. 18-1! 18-1! 18-1!
If you’re curious as to how Kevin Everett is doing these days, here’s the most recent update I could find. Seems to be he’s still doing well.
Labatt’s Losing Level: (1 – I’ll be okay; 10 – Only getting blackout drunk will dull the pain)
A six…but I drank them all during the first half.
Previous Editions of Bills Failure Chronicles:
If you’re a Patriots fan, nobody likes you. Also, check out Musket Fire, Fansided’s Patriots blog.