Like 2011 Season, Buffalo Bills Start Fast, End With A Thud
The Buffalo Bills started the season 5-2.
They started Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, up 21-0 after one quarter.
Unfortunately, for the Bills the NFL season, or a game for that matter, doesn't end after one quarter.
The Bills ended the season 1-8 and they saw the Patriots score 49 unanswered points to hand them one of the most lopsided defeats of the year, 49-21, in Foxboro, Mass.
In the end, this game was a microcosm of how this series has gone for the past decade.
The Patriots are headed to the playoffs -- the AFC's No. 1 seed and finished with 13-3 record.
The Bills are headed home (yet again) and posted their seventh straight losing season, finishing 6-10.
The feeling most Buffalo fans are experiencing now, is the one that New England fans must have had in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Bills were dominant and the Patriots struggled.
The Bills outperformed many people's expectations of the team coming into the season, but the seven-game losing streak ruined any chance of the team making the playoffs.
Unfortunately, Buffalo had injuries to a lot of key players (Fred Jackson most notably), which turned a team that was one of the pleasant surprises into one of the league's biggest collapses.
As the Bills head into the offseason, they still have a lot of unanswered questions. They locked up Ryan Fitzpatrick, who seems to be a serviceable quarterback, but still have plenty of problems with protecting him. Jackson had a terrific year (Pro Bowl caliber if he remained healthy), but was that the tip of the iceberg or the best he could ever be. Their wide receivers are a group that fails to strike fear into the opposition. Scott Chandler was a nice find at tight end, but he's also dealt with injury issues.
On the defensive end, the team has question marks as well. Marcell Dareus had a solid rookie season, but the team was near the bottom of the league against the run, something that has to change. They have some nice players on defense, but no one who is a superstar.
The Bills didn't a single Pro Bowler and while having great players doesn't equate to a great season (see Philadelphia Eagles), it does help.
If an NFL game was one-quarter of its actual length, the Bills would have won on Sunday and if the season was similarly as short, Buffalo would have made it to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.