Here we are once again, another playoff defeat, four straight years now. I mean, someone has to lose and only one team will actually make it through the postseason undefeated but it’s the way the Buffalo Bills have lost each of those seasons that stands out.
In the 2019 season, the Bills lost to the Houston Texans after going into the fourth quarter up 16 – 0, only to give it away, 22- 19.
The 2020 season introduced Josh Allen to the NFL and people took notice, he was the league’s MVP runner-up and proved everyone wrong that doubted him. The team would advance to the AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs and would promptly get blown out, 38 – 24, after jumping out to a 9 – 0 lead, as the second quarter began.
We all know what happened in the 2021 season, with the loss to the Chiefs in what has become known as the 13-second game.
Now here we are concluding the 2022 NFL season with one of the worst playoff defeats in Bills history, falling to the Cincinnati Bengals in embarrassing fashion, 27 – 10.
The 2022 season started with a bang for the Buffalo Bills taking down defending Super Bowl Champs, Los Angeles Rams, 31 – 10. This was followed by another dominant win over the Tennessee Titans, 41 – 7. By this point, the Preseason Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills were flying high. The offense was clicking, and the defense was humming.
The first six weeks of the season saw Josh Allen throw for over 300 yards in four of those six games and twice 400 or more yards. After the bye week though, Allen would have only two games of more than 300 yards, for the rest of the regular season.
Injuries certainly played a role in the decline, including the injury to Allen’s throwing arm. The run game never really got rolling with any consistency and the late-season loss of Von Miller was huge! My opinion is if Miller hadn’t gotten hurt, the playoff game against the Bengals might have been very different. The Bills simply could not generate any sort of pass rush at all, and Miller could have greatly changed that fact.
I’ve been watching football, both college and NFL since 1988, and I have never seen a team go through so much adversity as the Bills did during the 2022 season. Starting with the passing of Dawson Knox’s brother, Luke Knox. From there, the injuries hit with Micah Hyde out for the season and even Jordan Poyer’s injuries, though he played the majority of the season, it’s not easy getting ready for an NFL game week after week, while battling through an injury.
The team went through not one, but two historic blizzards. One caused the relocation of a home game, and the other resulted in the loss of multiple lives. More injuries piled up as the season went along, then the Monday Night game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the unimaginable happened! Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the football in front of millions of viewers and teammates, requiring CPR to revive him. I cannot imagine the feeling the players that day or even the days after were feeling.
The stress, pressure, and adversity this team faced all season cannot be understated. While I do believe the team has some work to do and holes to fill this off-season, when it comes to the end of this season, I think this team simply ran out of gas. Steve Young talked about it during an interview shortly after the Hamlin tragedy, you cannot begin to imagine the importance of the mental aspect of this game, the game of football. Hamlin seems to have made a miraculous recovery and still has a road of recovery in front of him, we will never fully understand how this season and that moment in Cincinnati affected this team, from the front office to the coaching staff and the players.
I know a lot of Bills Mafia is frustrated and even angry right now but at the end of the day, I could not be prouder of this team, seeing the way they battled through all the adversity. It may not have ended the way we all hoped but this team is a Super Bowl-contending team and will remain so, as long as JA17 is under center for the Buffalo Bills.