After a week away from starting with the arrows up, we’re back that way again after the Buffalo Bills' 14-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday that moved them to 4-1 on the season.
From the bars on Broadway to the stands at Nissan Stadium, Nashville surely became “Bills Country” this weekend.
It was pretty amazing how many Bills fans were in the city and then at the game. In fact, in my now six years as the team’s radio sideline reporter, it was the most fans I have ever seen at an away game. Bills fans should be proud of their presence and enthusiasm. They were actually loud enough to impact the game while the Titans were on offense - they had four false starts in their own stadium.
Bills fans should also be very proud of their team for how they performed in Tennessee. They had just played a very emotional game, and lost against the New England Patriots seven days prior and had to go on the road to face a very physical Titans team, with a bye week coming up. It would be easy to see where a let down could occur, but it didn’t.
Josh Allen was in concussion protocol all week, yet, he came out dialed in and on target.
Then, players started dropping during the game. Mitch Morse. Cody Ford. Matt Milano. Ed Oliver. Jordan Poyer. Trent Murphy. All either needed assistance on the field at some point, or left the game completely.
Then came the backups. Spencer Long. Ryan Bates. Maurice Alexander. Kurt Coleman. A couple of them were even already playing for others who were hurt.
So, essentially, the Bills were using several primarily special teams and third string players for critical moments of the game. But there was no panic. There was really no drop-off. They were all prepared and did their jobs well. That’s a credit to them, of course, but also to a coaching staff that’s preached preparation and accountability throughout the entire roster since they arrived.
That preparation and play has now got this team to 4-1 with a bye week ahead, then three home games in a row, including games against the winless Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles are sandwiched between them. To start the season, it would have been considered a nice first half to be 5-3. Now, it will probably be considered a disappointment if they don’t hit the halfway point at least 6-2.
The bye week comes at the right time, considering all the injuries from Sunday. Others like running back Devin Singletary and cornerback Taron Johnson, who both missed another game, now get an extra two weeks to heal. It may also come at the right time for fans who want to soak it all in and enjoy seeing their team in the driver’s seat of the AFC Wild Card picture after five weeks. The best part is - no matter what happens around the league next week, the Bills will still own that first wild card spot by themselves.