As I sat back late Sunday night and reflected on the Buffalo Bills’ wild 35-32 win over the Los Angeles Rams, I found myself thinking about the movie Gladiator.
There’s a very popular scene, and particularly one line from Russell Crowe, who plays the main character, Maximus Decimus Meridius. In the scene, Maximum emerges from the bowels of the gladiator pit and sees about six or seven combatants he has to fight to the death.
Swords, shields, blood. There’s plenty of it all.
Maximus defeats them all, and after he does, he looks up to the stunned crowd, bloodied with dead bodies strewn around him on the Colosseum floor. Maximus yells out, in an iconic moment: “Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”
That’s exactly how I feel about the 2020 Bills, and more specifically, where we were, what we asked for, and where we are now.
This is what we’ve all been asking for. Not just winning football games, but doing it by throwing the ball, scoring points, having a quarterback who gives you a chance every time he touches it. Being aggressive… and entertaining.
But for the last two weeks, that entertaining brand of offense has come at the expense of a bloodied body of a defense, especially in the second half.
The Bills have had a double-digit lead in every game they played this season. They’ve blown those leads in each of the past two weeks, including a whopping 25-point gap Sunday against the high-powered Los Angeles Rams.
When that happens, other teams need to grab their swords and fight back. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins did. Jared Goff and the Rams did. The result in both cases was Josh Allen, always the gladiator, battered and weary, fighting back and putting a dagger into the bad guys in a thrilling end.
For a long time, we’ve lived in Buffalo watching our football team having to try to win lower scoring games because they simply didn’t have the weapons (or even philosophy) to do it with more offense. For years, we asked for them to be different, but really the same as what we saw from the best teams in the league. Throw it, be aggressive, attack.
I don’t think we realized it would come at the expense of the defense taking knives to the legs and swords to the chest and fighting off other quarterbacks for as long as they can, just to give their offense and main character one last chance to save the day.
But now we are here. In the middle of the theater, watching it all around us, experiencing the ups and downs of the fight.
The Bills are winning, and we are entertained.
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