Some people are fans of the Buffalo Bills. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Buffalo Bills. This 2022 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Thirteen seconds. Two passes. One kick.
Your 2021 record: 11-6. You might be surprised to remember that the Bills lost that many games a season ago, given that their fans currently expect them to go 17-0 every season for the next decade. But the Buffalo Bills—yes, the Bills!—are not always quite as good as they seem. Sit down before you feel faint.
Last season, the Bills blew a 10-0 lead to Pittsburgh in Week 1 and lost. They lost to the Titans in the waning moments when Josh Allen slipped and fell on a QB sneak on fourth down. The only way one can stop a Josh Allen sneak, really. They couldn’t muster a single touchdown against Urban Meyer. They got Belichicked at home by the Patriots in a game where Mac Jones was only allowed to throw the ball if he got a permission slip from his mommy. And they got absolutely dusted by Jonathan Taylor and the Colts.
So there was plenty of reason to doubt this team’s championship mettle a year ago. But after the Bills emphatically walloped the Pats in the Wild Card game, the bandwagon once more burst at the seams with drunken hicks secreting dildos into their fanny packs. This Bills team was different. They were special. They would go to Kansas City for the Divisional Round, avenge their AFC title game loss from the season prior, and finally claim what Marv Levy, Jim Kelly, and Bruce Smith had staked out as rightfully theirs all those decades ago.
And frankly, they weren’t wrong to believe. I watched that game in Kansas City. If it wasn’t the single greatest playoff game in NFL history, it was certainly one of them. I watched as that game burst open with three touchdowns in the final two minutes. I watched the Bills retake the lead for the first time since the first quarter after Allen engineered a 17-play touchdown drive and then nailed the two-point conversion attempt after for good measure. I watched the Chiefs answer instantaneously with a signature catch-and-run-a-million-yards touchdown from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill. I watched Allen answer right back with his own 75-yard touchdown drive (all three touchdowns at the end of regulation came off 75-yard drives), culminating in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis with just 13 seconds left on the clock.
Thirteen seconds. “They left [X quarterback] too much time on the clock!” has been used so often that it’s more of a meme than an insight anymore. But it didn’t seem apt to say in it either fashion on this night. It was 13 piddly shit seconds. You could burn half of that just squibbing the ball on the kickoff. The game was over.
Instead, the Bills kicked it away. Two passes later, they were fucked.
After Harrison Butker nailed the tying field goal, the Bills never had the football again. That ending alone was enough to make the NFL change its playoff OT rules this offseason so that both teams get a chance to possess the ball, regardless of what happens on the opening drive. You know what I think of that rule change? I think that you people are all fucking soft, that’s what I think. That’s not performative hot takeage for the sake of this post, either. I say this with all earnestness: Take your fucking losses like grownups. You had 13 seconds to punch your ticket to the AFC title game, and you blew it. You had all the time in the world in overtime to stop Mahomes and company from scoring that decisive touchdown. And you wanna blame a rule for everything that happened? Grow up. You lost fair and square. Of course you lost. You’re the Bills. If you expected anything different, you were a fucking fool.
Your coach: Meathead Sean McDermott, who was a bad half-season away from getting shitcanned a few years ago, until Josh Allen showed up and bailed his sorry ass out. Now McDermott gets to enjoy an undeservedly long career despite the fact that it was HIS defense that blew that game. It was McDermott who called the timeouts that allowed Kansas City, not his defense, to call the exact right play they needed. It was McDermott who elected to kick the ball into the end zone after Allen appeared to have locked the game up. It was McDermott and his DC, Leslie Frazier, who set up their defense as if the Chiefs had no timeouts left when they still had all of them. And it was McDermott who threw his own fucking players under the bus when the press asked him how they could blow that game so badly:
“It comes down to execution. We didn’t execute.”
No, kid. YOU didn’t execute. You made all the wrong decisions at the end of that game and then skipped out on taking any responsibility for it. You know what I see when I look at Sean McDermott? I see the defensive coordinator that Andy Reid fired after two seasons on the job. The guy who left the late Jim Johnson’s defense a shambles. That’s who Sean McDermott was, and that’s who he is now. His current postseason record as head coach is 3-4, and I promise you that it won’t get any better than that.
Ken Dorsey is your new offensive coordinator. And hey, look who’s back in town as your new offensive line coach! Why it’s Aaron Kromer! Say, why do I remember that name?
Kromer’s arrest just before 2 a.m. Sunday is detailed as stemming from an argument over beach chairs near his home on Inlet Beach in Florida… Kromer was taken into custody, jailed and ultimately released early Sunday morning after he was accused of throwing a boy into the ground and punching him in the face.
See now, that’s the way to go. Instead of beating Kansas City to advance in the playoffs, why not beat a stranger’s child instead? So much easier.
Your quarterback: Josh Allen, whose completion percentage, yards, yards per attempt, and TD/INT ratio were all worse last year than they were in 2020. And if that criticism feels like a reach to you, it won’t when Allen runs into a red wall for the third postseason in a row.
What’s new that sucks: I had a real “oh boy the rich got richer” moment when the Bills, of all teams, snagged San Diego State punting legend Matt Araiza in the sixth round of the draft. Thirteen seconds later …
And the Bills knew it. Not when they drafted Araiza, but when they made him the unquestioned starter two weeks ago. I can’t believe there’s a bigger dickhead punter out there than Todd Sauerbrun, but here we are. After the public learned that Araiza stood accused of crimes that make even Deshaun Watson gag, Sean McDermott was like, We’re monitoring this very closely and in fact I have just learned CRUCIAL intel in the past 24 hours. That intel, of course, was that Araiza had a Jim Morrison poster in his college dorm room. The final straw. Araiza was cut shortly thereafter, and yet somehow I doubt that decision was made as part of McDermott’s organizational strategy of catching feelings. The Bills are as mercenary as any other shitbag club out there, only too clumsy and stupid to win any championship hardware to distract you. Watch them honor the Tops grocery store shooter at halftime this season before the Patriots beat them with an offensive game plan that’s 100-percent fake punts.
Elsewhere on the field, the Bills pulled a Rams and signed Von Miller to a fat deal just as Miller is ready to stop trying. They traded up in the draft to get Kaiir Elam at corner to replace the departed Levi Wallace. Then they flushed a second-rounder on running back James Cook when they hate running the ball anyway. Tre’Davious White is already out for the first month. The Bills are a shade weaker everywhere than they were a season ago. I’m not gonna tell you that 2020 was the best you’ll ever get with this core, because I don’t have to. That’ll all become self-evident soon enough.
In other news, it took Bills ownership one fucking year of being good before they demanded $850 million from the state. But you gotta hand it to the Pegulas for coming up with we need to publicly fund a new stadium so that senior citizens can shop in emptier supermarkets on gameday as their justification for the handout. They are the most Buffalo possible rich people.
What has always sucked: You guys still can’t beat Tom Brady. You’ll never get past Mahomes, or Burrow, or even Herbert once his team gets its shit together. Bills fans are sympathetic right up until the second you meet them. And the dildo on the field thing is played out. It’s like someone showing you an “i can haz cheezburger?” meme from 2007 and expecting you to laugh.
This fanbase is a cultural blend of racist hill people and mentally ill Italians. Like if you combined Yankees fans and Alabama fans in a lab, and then stripped all of their combined titles away. Bills fans’ asscracks are wet 24 hours a day. The only time I support their team is when the Bills defeat the Patriots, and even then it’s barely worth the effort. So don’t expect me to root for the Bills to vanquish all of their playoff demons. Not when their fans are D-list Stoolies and their owners are the stupid kind of greedy. You guys had 13 second to win America over. You now have the rest of your lives to wonder how it all went so wrong.
Ratto says: Terry and Kim Pegula got the state of New York to fund a new stadium for them on the theory that might move the franchise if they didn’t get what they wanted. To where? Rochester? Schenectady? Toronto? A second team in Las Vegas? The Raiders got their bluff called in Oakland and mayor Libby Schaaf’s approval rating went up when they left. There’s a lesson in this for us all.
What might not suck: If this team goes to the Super Bowl, they’re not losing it.
Aw, that’s a genuinely nice thought, Drew. Hey wait a second … you’re a Vikings fan. That means that if you think something good will happen—
HEAR IT FROM BILLS FANS!
They fucked away the ballsiest fourth quarter performance I’ve ever seen.
The Bills blew the game and ripped my heart out in less time than it took to write this sentence (I think, I don’t care anymore).
That was their best chance.
Cole (not Beasley):
As soon as the Chiefs tied the game, I turned the TV off.
Do you know what things take longer than 13 seconds to complete? Writing my first and last name with my left hand, flipping from Netflix to HBO Max on my Roku, and plugging my charger into a USB port (two flips minimum).
I was happier when we were 6-10 every year.
Wide Right, Home Run Throwback, No Goal… let’s add another one.
I think I hate the Chiefs more than the Patriots now. It’s at least a discussion, and a deeply unpleasant one at that.
I didn’t fathom an outcome worse than the Music City Miracle. Fuck me. This one is worse.
Special teams coordinator and antivax freak Heath Farwell spends the whole season behind the scenes bitching about McDermott’s COVID policy. With 13 Seconds to go in the biggest Bills game in 30 years, McDermott calls a squib kick and Farwell either fails or refuses to relay the call to the only person in the entire fucking stadium who needs to know about it. This throws Leslie Frazier into such shock that he forgets to call basic defense for three plays in a row. After causing this nuclear disaster, Farwell can’t wait to haul his ass to Jacksonville. McDermott will admit none of this publicly, because it’s all on him and his bullshit, Culture-Building CEO Brain that can’t manage actual games.
We’re Super Bowl favorites which means we will lose in the Wild Card. Everything about this team still sucks. The owners are still fracking-mogul sociopaths, the players are still morons, and you can’t get anywhere in Greater Buffalo without sitting in traffic behind a Ford F-150 with a Blue Lives Matter bumper sticker.
Everyone gave each other COVID at the zero-degree Patriots playoff game.
Every fat guy in Western New York looks like he’s on the way to a Brian Daboll impersonation contest.
Wearing a Bills hat outside of Western New York is a lot like driving a car with Hawaiian license plates. People look at you with a sense of confusion that says “Huh, never seen one of those before.”
Vibes are at an all time high, yet the president of the team is maybe in the ICU and no one in the Buffalo media wants to report on it, for fear of bothering them while the billionaire owners are milking the current governor for a handout. I miss the dead owner.
When I was eight, I lost my first-ever bet to a kid in the third grade. I bet him Buffalo would beat Dallas in the Super Bowl. Surely we couldn’t lose THREE in a row!
You’d think I’d have enough scars from a lifetime as a Bills fan, and yet I sang “The Bills Make Me Wanna Shout” to both of my children immediately after they were born so that it would be the first song they heard in this world.
I was at the infamous 2004-05 game where the Bills lost to the Steelers’ backups at home, when a win would’ve put them in the playoffs. Brian St. Pierre and so forth. Walking out of the game, there was a man in a Steelers jacket talking shit, as was his right at that time. A college-aged Bills fan promptly shoved him into a metal barrel with burning wood in it. Luckily, the ground was wet from recent melted snow and flurries during the game, as he quickly rolled around to put himself out.
Nobody walking by did shit.
I want them to win a Super Bowl. But if they actually pull it off, the Mafia will become even more insufferable and narcissistic.
I wonder how times footage of the morons who tailgate Bills games has been used in divorce court in order to show how one parent doesn’t deserve visitation rights.
My best friend is a forest ranger who only drinks on Sunday Mornings. And heavily. He gave up his season tickets, out of principle, just as they were getting good.
For 20+ years, everyone in Buffalo screamed “WHY DON’T YOU JUST SUCK HIS DICK, YOU FUCKING CLOWNS!?” to all Tom Brady fans. Now, without hesitation, they’d eat the corn out of Josh Allen’s shit if they could.
Multiple neighbors in South Cheektowaga still have a “Beasley for Governor” sign on their lawns. I hope they get Long Covid.
I just came across multiple tweets from #BillsMafia crying because Josh Allen wasn’t given enough camera time during a celebrity golf tournament he was playing in.
The blue collar workingman cosplay from Bills Mafia will never stop being funny. You work in a debt collection call center, champ. Being behind on the payments for your Silverado doesn’t make you a steelworker like grandpa.
I was at the game in Buffalo where Kaepernick made his return in the midst of his protest, and I think my dad and I were the only two in a sea of 60,000 of my favorite mouthbreathers who didn’t boo the man. I saw six hanging effigies wearing 49ers jerseys, and I’m pretty sure I saw a guy in a Zubaz-patterned Klan hood. Even if I didn’t, I may as well have. The Bills kicked the shit out of the 49ers that day, and it was awesome (minus the racism).
Pinto Ron’s ketchup and mustard schtick is embarrassing.
If we manage to win a Super Bowl, we’ll become even more insufferable than we already are, but at least we might stop trying to beg everyone to like us.
I’m actively making my young children fans. I should be in The Hague.
My parents came to visit me in DC over the holidays last year. The day after Christmas was the week 16 game against the patriots, and since we didn’t have anything planned for that day, it meant that Dad and I were free to watch the game together. The game was pretty good, fairly high scoring and the Bills led pretty much wire-to-wire. I remember the pats scoring late in the 4th to pull within a TD but we held on for the win.
A little while after the game ended, Mom came downstairs and said, “Well I take it we must have lost pretty badly.” “Actually we won”, I replied. Mom was shocked. “Well then how come I didn’t hear any hooting and hollering? I was able to take a nice long nap.”
After a moment I responded, “I guess we both figured that we were going to end up losing.”
Dad nodded wistfully.
Fifty years ago, the Bills built their stadium in the middle of goddamn nowhere. In those five decades, the only “economic development” that has spun off from this awful decision has been two neighborhood bars and a 7-11 that is now out of business. Rather than building the new stadium in the city, near the baseball field and hockey arena, where all the public transit comes together and where there is a dilapidated and empty public housing development that needs to be demolished, they’re building it in the middle of goddamn nowhere again. Why? Because the six-fingered chuds of Bills Mafia can’t imagine a gameday experience that doesn’t involve acres of asphalt upon which to concuss one another while shotgunning antifreeze daiquiris and then driving home drunk to Springville, or Barker, or some other Trumpy wasteland.
There’s a scene in the novel Nobody’s Fool where a developer pulls out of building an amusement park in Upstate New York because all of the people there who would be working at the park are “funny-lookin’.” I remember that scene every time the camera pans over the crowd at a Bills
Thirteen seconds… Thirteen fucking seconds… Thirteen. Goddamn. Seconds.
The Bills are going to blow it in the playoffs. You know it and I know it. Will I be surpised? No. Will I be filled with dread? Yes.
Nietzsche said that, “Hope is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”
That will be the title of our 2022 NFL Films Video Yearbook.
I have purchased many Bills MaFiA shirts and wear them proudly, but haven’t been to a game in three years. I’ve seen my heart rate spike higher than any normal human’s should during a shitty 1pm game against Washington. My wife is legitimately concerned about my well being during a game. This team will drive me to an early death and I will have gotten nothing in return.
I grew up in Buffalo in the ‘80s when the city’s industrial base was collapsing and the Bills sucked. At the time, Buffalo television featured the omnipresent Talking Proud campaign that tried to raise the city’s spirits. Not sure that worked. But I appreciated the lead singer, whose civic enthusiasm and walking style were both impressive.
Submissions for the Defector NFL previews are closed. Next up: Tennessee Titans.