For a team that moved on from moral victories two seasons ago, there seems to be a lot of rationalizing among the fanbase since the Bills’ heartbreaking overtime loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday evening. While half of the fans are commending the team for showing a tremendous amount of heart and the other half are blaming the result on blown calls by the referees, a common theme is evolving: that in the loss on Sunday the Bills have finally found their true identity.
Have the 2020 Buffalo Bills finally returned? If so, it has taken them long enough. 13 games into a 17 game season the Bills offense finally clicked, scoring at will against one of the best defenses in the league. What we saw in the second half of the football game was not the same as beating up against the Washington Football Team, Houston Texans, and the New Orleans Saints. It was a complete shutdown of the greatest quarterback of all time and a shredding of the defending champs’ defense. Even if it was for only 30 minutes, the Buffalo Bills that we have waited 11 months to see finally returned. The only question is, did they find themselves too late for it to matter?
The Bills are 7-6 on the season and clinging to the 7th and final playoff spot in the AFC. One week ago the Bills walked into the Patriots game with a chance to move to 2nd in the conference and challenge for the 1 seed. Just one week later, the 1 seed is out of the question and the Bills need help to win the AFC East. If the Bills did in fact “find themselves” it is not too late. The Bills still control their own destiny for the playoffs. If they win out and do not receive any help in the division, they will still make the playoffs as a wild card team. And as is the case in any major sport, once you get into the playoffs anything can happen. Of course, nobody can argue that the path would be easier as a 1 seed and starting the playoffs on a bye week, or winning the division and getting at least one home game. But as long as you make it into the playoffs, anything can happen. Last year Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team.
The Bills’ seed will not matter if they play like they did in the final 30 minutes yesterday. They could play at Highmark Stadium, Arrowhead, Gillette Stadium, or on Neptune. Yesterday Josh Allen played like the best quarterback in the league and if the Bills can bottle that they can beat anyone. The problem this year for the Bills has always been consistency. Some analytics have shown that the Bills are the most inconsistent team in analytics history.
This is also not the first time we have heard the Bills talk about turning their season around after a loss. The opening day defeat to Pittsburgh, the last second loss to Tennessee, the disgrace down in Jacksonville, and the blowout against the Colts were all supposed to be “wake up calls” for a team that on paper is one of the most talented in the league. There is reason to believe that this latest game is the actual wake up call fans have been waiting for. Never before in a defeat have we seen the Bills execute like they did on Sunday. Now that the Bills have proved to themselves they can play like the 2020 versions of the Buffalo Bills, will we see that team from here on out? Let’s hope we do because a spot in the playoffs, which not too long ago seemed like a given, depends on it.