Thank goodness this laptop has a battery, or I might be writing this piece in my own handwriting in ink – not a pretty sight considering virtually all the written communication I do is via keyboard.
It’s 3:30am on Saturday morning, and I am awakened by the small, short squelch of one of my smoke detectors – the hard wired unit I have, to be precise. The power has gone out – my clock radio has gone dark. When the power does not re-emerge a short time later I stumble out of bed and call the power company to report a power outage. I go back to bed and wake up several hours later to a house with restored electrical service.
It is now 8pm on Saturday night and I am tuned into TBS, waiting for the start of ALCS game 6 – the Boston Red Sox at the Tampa Bay Rays. I see no baseball – I see only a rerun of the Steve Harvey show. Tivo tells me this should be baseball, but it is clearly a sitcom featuring one of the Original Kings of Comedy. I search in vain for the game while my wife checks the Internet to verify which channel should be watching (akin to reading directions, I reject this course of action). My wife returns with the news that the baseball game isn’t on because TBS is having technical difficulties – I sit and stew and scan the horizon for signs that violent mobs have started to burn the city of Boston to the ground using burning effigies of Steve Harvey to spread the flames. TBS has had a power outage in Atlanta – I miss the first 8 batters.
It is now 1pm on Sunday and I am tuned into the CBS broadcast of the Bills game. I see a few minutes of the 1st quarter before the broadcast suddenly drops and I find myself watching the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game (terrible game). I learn from Bills Daily personnel in Ralph Wilson Stadium that there is a power outage and the game has been suspended but should be back in about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the NFL stops for no man, not even if that man works for Niagara Mohawk. The game continues and I sit in Bills game-free cocoon, surrounded by every other NFL except the one I care about. I begin to understand what a meth addict must feel like when they go into withdrawal.
The game returns and I witness a spectacular touchdown catch by Lee Evans – life is good once again. But happiness is fleeting – at the two minute warning the game goes out again, not to return until midway through the third quarter. I want to do bodily harm to myself and others. God, at least the God who controls the flow of electricity, is toying with me this weekend. As this is the Chargers game, writers and editors across the nation will now use every power-related cliché to pump out a bevy of cheesy story headlines, further mocking my weekend riddled with power problems.
And so I am forced to write a commentary on a game which I only partly saw – half the game I saw in great High Definition, the other half was witnessed as an Amish farmer (waiting for printed news to arrive some days later).
I did see some things very clearly. I clearly saw Trent Edwards turn in a very impressive performance at quarterback – poised, exceptionally accurate and making good decisions on where to throw the ball. Trent is likely to have some rough games as young quarterbacks are apt to do, but he is solid and has shown more than any other Bills signal caller since Jim Kelly – he looks like the real deal.
I saw an offensive line that might adopt the name Jekyll and Hyde – doing a great job in pass blocking but failing terribly to open holes for the running game. If the Bills have a weakness that could cost them dearly in future games it’s the inability to run block.
I saw a defense that played a solid game and made the big plays needed to win – Kawika Mitchell proved why the Bills went after him immediately at the onset of free agency. The Bills did a good job of preventing Phillip Rivers from having a good game, yet they still seem very susceptible to the quick slant pass. Leodis McKelvin clearly needs to develop before he is ready to step in at the corner – he was burned badly on two touchdowns – the Bills need Terrance McGee back from injury as they approach a challenging slate of games against divisional rivals. The Bills were without Aaron Schobel but their pass rush needs to step it up and get to the quarterback – if you blitz, you have to get there and a few times on Sunday the Bills paid for not doing it.
In all, I remain very excited about the Bills and I believe most Bills fans are with me. But as I warned earlier, this team is not without its flaws and they will be tested. I urge fans to enjoy the 5-1 start but to understand that 10+ wins and/or a playoff berth are not guaranteed at this point – we’ve all had our share of heartbreak as Bills fans and the higher you are when you fall, the harder you hit. I don’t expect the Bills’ coaching staff to allow the players to get overconfident and this is something fans should take to heart as well – failing to heed this warning could result in being hit by a bolt of lightning – the power from all of those power outages has to go somewhere.