I made my way off an airplane in Charlotte, North Carolina sporting my Fred Jackson jersey and Bills hat. As I step on the jet ramp, one of the ground crew members takes a quick look at me. He smiles and shakes his head. “Man, you’re just rubbing it in, aren’t you?” I grinned, kindly apologized, and continued on my way through the bustling airport while smiling from ear to ear.
Yes, it was only Carolina. Yes, I know they’re 2 and 14 under Ron Rivera when the score is within 7 points. However, there’s a lot to be said when a rookie quarterback leads his team 80 yards down the field for a game winning touchdown. They did what they couldn’t do last week. They found a way to win a close game. Here we are at week one, and although Super Bowl dreams may be far off, the win gives Bills fans a glimmer of hope in 2013.
C.J. Spiller returned to form with over 100 yards rushing. Mario Williams seemed to be worthy of his salary with 4.5 sacks. The Bills defense held their ground when back to back Manuel turnovers put the Panthers in the red zone. As mentioned, there were downsides to the win, but there was also plenty to like. A loss would have been deflating for both the team and their fan base, but as my grandfather always said: “Winners find ways to win, and losers find ways to lose.”
Next week’s game against the New York Jets brings the first road test for rookie head coach, Doug Marone, and rookie quarterback, E.J. Manuel. All signs point to a close game. Both teams fell short in close games with New England, along with late action heroics in each of their wins. This match up features two rookie quarterbacks in Manuel and 2nd round draft pick Geno Smith. This game also marks Bill’s defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine’s, return to the Meadowlands.
If the Bills can find away to come out with a win; Bills fans may be on cloud nine,or maybe reserved judgement will be the immediate reaction? It would make sense as a 5-2 start in 2008 ended in 7-9, along with their 5-2 start in 2011 ending in 6-10. Whatever happens let’s face it; Bills haven’t had many reasons to be happy. My advice: Let’s take it by a game by game basis. Let’s enjoy our wins, but not get completely cocky. It’s a long season, but for now I will take today’s win.