Standings and style points.
You guys remember the drought, right? Of course you do. The most frustrating days of the drought for me were the ones when the Bills would lose to a good team that was sloppy. Turnovers, penalties, not capitalizing on opportunities to put the game away. Yet, somehow, someway, the Bills couldn’t pull off the upset. These games used to make me nuts. I had a certain way of describing those opponents who escaped a game like that with the Bills.
They were begging to get beat.
That’s kind of what this game with the Chargers felt like to me. Only the roles are reversed. The Bills are that good team and the Chargers just couldn’t figure out how to make it work on Sunday. This is not necessarily a bad thing. On a day when the Bills were sloppy and begging to get beat they still managed to beat Los Angeles by 10 points.
This my friends, is progress. No, it’s not progress towards convincing us that they can take down the Chiefs in the playoffs should they get that chance. But that sort of belief is elusive and varies from fan to fan so what it even is worth is at least debatable, at worst, useless.
If Josh Allen is sloppy with the ball against the Chargers, it does not mean he will be sloppy in the playoffs. And conversely, if the Bills don’t turn it over three times in the fourth quarter and win this game 41-17, it wouldn’t mean they won’t be sloppy in the playoffs.
I apologize if all of this is plainly obvious to you. I’m not here to waste your time. It’s just that I’m dealing with a certain kind of problem following this latest Bills win.
That problem is that once you start picking apart 10-point wins you’re on the verge becoming the fan who calls us after a win complaining about the punter.
There’s not much grey area available and once I start hearing these points coming back to me I don’t like how it sounds. So what to do?
Maybe taking stock of the big picture is the move. The Bills are 8-3. They’re in good shape to be the No. 3 or No. 4-seed in the AFC. Should they hold off Miami and win the AFC East, they’ll host a playoff game, maybe even against the Dolphins.
Of course we would have signed up for that back in September and of course the Bills are having a good season. How good? Can they win a first round playoff game at home? Sure.
Are they going to win in Kansas City or Pittsburgh? That’s tough. It is as tough today as it was yesterday. Fumbles against the Chargers didn’t make it tougher. I’m all for bar raising and heightened expectations. But know this, it’s all just passing the time. Style points don’t matter. The standings do.
In the standings, the Bills are in a nice spot but still looking up at Kansas City and Pittsburgh. The Bills get a crack at the Steelers coming up here week after next and that’ll be another opportunity for us to measure these Bills against a heavyweight.
Here’s hoping that however that meeting between the Bills and Steelers goes, we get a rematch in the middle of January.