Do you believe in miracles…finally winning a game against a historically bad road team? Yes!” — Al Michaels (somewhat paraphrased and taken out of context).
The winless Bills vs. the road dog Lions: the stoppable force vs. the moveable object. Something had to give. Naturally, it took virtually an entire 60 minutes for the Bills to finally take their first end-of-game knee of the season.
In retrospect, the Bills’ first victory in nearly a year was predictable: on Sunday morning, a renegade deer crashed through a Wegman’s window in my native Niagara Falls, leaving a trail of blood and a decent amount of damage in its path. As our more classically educated NYCBBBers no doubt already knew (unlike me – thanks, Wikipedia), deer represent a symbol of happiness and good fortune in Chinese mythology, and in other mythologies herald profound change.
True, in Western New York, deer more commonly represent hunting season or a holiday meal, but really, how much more of a sign did we need? Fortunately, on this particular Sunday, the positive harbinger of the deer outweighed the ferocity and savage preying generally associated with Lions; these Lions, in road games, at least, tend to resemble lambs, especially without their starting quarterback.
The Bills game was locally blacked out, minimizing the number of people who could revel in actually seeing the victory. Consider this: those of us at McFadden’s were among the relatively few people in the country who actually SAW it happen. Something to tell the grandkids about…most likely right before they commit you for good.
Sure, it wasn’t beautiful: the three-man jump ball for a would-be interception; a key drop by Steve Johnson, a missed field goal by Rian Lindell, CJ Spiller going down with a hammy, a pretty bad opponent. In some ways, it was one of the team’s lesser performances But, let’s focus on what WAS beautiful: Freddy Jackson’s performance, Brian Moorman’s clutch kicks, Johnson making a key catch right after the missed one, the generally spirited defensive effort, Shawne Merriman’s sparkling debut.
OK, forget that last one.
Above all, we should walk away with two lasting memories:
– The sheer delirium, we-won-a-playoff-game type of delirium, in McFadden’s.
– The fact that, while bad seasons come and go, this year’s Bills won’t go down as an 0-16 squad.
– For one week, at least, we sang to “We Are The Champions” instead of skulking out to “Don’t Stop Believin’”.
Thanks, deer. I don’t want to cause anyone any hardship, but here’s hoping a badger runs amok in a Mighty Taco before the Bengals game.
And, on a final note, congratulations to Michelle Girardi, former NYCBBB columnist and current leader of the Downtown Philadelphia Buffalo Bills Backers, who returns to her work at NFL Films following maternity leave.