Monday, December 23, 2002

Just a few notes on yesterday's football action:

:: As expected, the Bills fell to the Packers. Going into Lambeau field on a sub-freezing day in December, when the Pack is having a good year, is an almost impossible task for anyone. Of course, that doesn't mean that the Bills needed to help them out by giving up six turnovers. And I'm a bit chagrined that after I set up camp in Sean's comment section defending Drew Bledsoe, the Bills' QB goes out and has his worst games of the year, by far. Ugh. And a double ugh, considering that the Bills' defense, which I have been maligning all year, had its best game yesterday.

The game did point out the one thing I think the Bills need to add to their offense for next year. (Well, maybe two things.) They already have the outstanding receiver duo (and maybe trio, when promising rookie Josh Reed blossoms); they've got the franchise quarterback; they've got the franchise running back; they've got the young and quickly improving offensive line (not that you could tell by yesterday's abominable pass-blocking, but anyway....). They still need a good tight end, something the Bills have lacked since Pete Metzelaars retired years ago. Jay Riemersma simply isn't it, and the big contract that John Butler gave him was simply unwarranted then and insane now. The other thing the Bills really need, especially for games like yesterdays -- cold-climate games with wind conditions that hobble the passing game -- is a good, blocking fullback. Larry Centers is a good pass-catcher out of the backfield (he has more receptions than any RB in NFL history), but he's not a great blocker. I remember how in the early 90s, when the Cowboys were so good, Emmitt Smith would run behind the blocking of not only a great offensive line but the superior blocking of fullback Moose Johnston. A good lead blocker yesterday would made a big difference in Travis Henry's output in a game where he only had 2.3 yards per carry. The Bills were unable to establish their running game yesterday, despite a JCPenney shopping bag full of opportunities to do so.

So the Bills are officially out of the playoff hunt, and I am now just a football fan. Could be worse, eh?

:: It's official: I now dislike the Patriots more than I dislike the Dolphins. That said, it looks like the Dolphins are about to complete another of their patented December swoons (which they incidentally seem to have licensed out to the Saints and Chargers this year) by losing to the Pats this coming week. The Dolphins can win the division by winning at New England, but they are 2-5 on the road, and history doesn't particularly favor teams from South Florida going to snowy, northern stadiums in December. However, the Jets' defeat of the Pats last night means that the Jets, who are home for the Packers, can win the division if the Pats do, in fact, defeat Miami. So next week I'm rooting for Miami and the Jets.

:: I didn't see last night's Jets-Patriots game, but judging by his linescore, Tom Brady was not particularly impressive. (19-37, 133 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception.)

:: Super Bowl prediction update: The Eagles are in position to clinch home-field advantage next week, and a win in either of their next two games clinches the AFC North for the Steelers.

:: The Titans and the Giants may be the most dangerous teams right now.

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