Buffalo Bills: R-E-S-P-E-C-T has been earned

This isn’t the same Buffalo Bills team that choked in big moments, so it’s time to start showing them the respect they deserve

For the better part of this century when the Buffalo Bills played the rare prime time game in the national spotlight, many hoped and prayed that the Bills made a good showing. That’s it. Do not get blown out. Don’t embarrass the city with a miserable performance. Lose while gaining some respect.

Gaining praise such as “The Bills never quit” or “The Bills gave it everything they had.” Praise in losing?”They Play the other team tough.” They never quit.  They are better than a three-win team.

I know I was so tired of getting politely charitable compliments while continuing to lose game after game.

At times the hopes backfired as the Bills would get blown out and embarrassed. Buffalo lost their last seven Monday night games and their last seven on Sunday nights.

Other times it was a close contest with Buffalo leading the game and then would pull a “McKelvin” and run a kickoff out of the end-zone instead of taking a knee and fumbling the ball giving the Patriots possession in the red zone where they calmly make it look easy scoring to win the game after running the clock down.

Going into Dallas in their stadium on the holiday, the way they traditionally played could have been smothering.  Anxiety or simply choking on the big stage was something Bills fans have become accustomed to throughout the playoff drought.

The drought finally ended under this current ownership, coaching staff and front office. None of these players or the McBean suits were here for any of those forgetful years.

We as fans struggle to buy in to “The Process”.  We have gone through so many bad times as fans we unintentionally wrap it all in together classifying it as a poor organization. Many of the younger fans never experienced the Bills when they were an organization that others envied.

Beginning with the 12-4 season ending in a loss to Cincinnati in the AFC championship game following the 1988 season up to the Music City Miracle after the 1999 season was a heck of a ride full of Hall of Famers and an awful lot of winning.

The criterion certainly was high post “Almost-A-Dynasty”. Wade Phillips’ employment was terminated with two playoff appearances following 10-6 and 11-5 seasons when the Bills regressed to 8-8. Two winning seasons and a .500 mediocre performance.

The standards were still high after Marv Levy’s incredible run. Had Wade Phillips had that success that he had in the late ’90s sometime after GM Tom Donahoe was fired up to when Rex Ryan/Dog Whaley was notified their services were no longer required, Phillip’s probably would have received a contract extension with his record.

Expectations descended this century. That is and will continue changing. When the Bills ended the playoff drought everyone was so excited. Many fans including myself were not really even phased by the results of the wildcard game against Doug Marone and his Jags.

The end of the drought was such a relief. The embarrassment throughout the sports world was now a reference of the past and not a current drought. A drought that transpired over a time that a family member had their infant child baptized, walk, ride a bike, get a driver’s license, gain employment, experience relationships, vote and get dropped off at college. All of these life events while the Bills found more and more ways to not play postseason football.

Buffalo gained respect as a real competitor winning with authority in Dallas. Their raw inexperienced quarterback that many said was a great athlete, but not an NFL caliber quarterback has continued improving and impressing. Josh Allen is showing the world that he certainly is coach-able.

He can adjust his game. He belongs in the NFL. He started out as a wild gunslinger who ran when he felt a breeze and had his leash shortened while he worked on his attention to detail. He’s slowly being given a longer leash, but the coaches are giving him that room only as he overcomes obstacles.

Too many interceptions? OK, scale it back. Reading defenses? Baby steps until the game slows down for him.

He certainly is not done with making mistakes. But he also is not done learning and improving as a quarterback. Josh Allen simply looks like he loves playing the game.

He has the huddle believing in him. He shows that he will lead the team to wins when that opportunity is there or needed. He also has been able to go through his struggles allowing the defense to keep games close early in the season until he can put things together in the 4th quarter. The no-huddle offense has been used often after the Cleveland loss and seems to be working quite well.

I will take a no-huddle win. They can huddle up marching in place singing Urban Chipmunk. They can use multiple tight ends, or spread things out. They can use a fullback. They can pull out the old run and shoot. West coast?  Sure. Wild Cat? Run heavy?  Pass heavy?

Run opening up the pass. Pass setting up the run. Quarterback touchdown passes. Quarterback touchdown throws. 175 yards passing. 350 yards passing. I will continue to trust the process no matter what the formations look like as long as they continue to improve.

As long as they rebound when they have a game of regression. Playoffs are looking very probable. Don’t expect this team to choke and lose out. This is an entirely different front office, ownership and coaching staff. These are all different players. They don’t deserve to be wrapped up and referenced with those other Bills teams.

Next: Bills 7-round mock draft

Trust the process. Have some Flutie Flakes. Oh yeah. Win. It simply makes everything better.

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