“Tell your statistics to shut up!” – Charlie Brown
Good grief. Charlie Brown actually had it right for once.
Statistics can be fascinating (at least to me), but they never tell the whole story in any sport. Sometimes, they even tell a conflicting story.
Consider the Bills’ week two match up with the Fish. If, before the game, the Football Overlords said, “You have a choice: Your QB can go 11 for 18, for 83 yards, or 23 for 32, for 250 yards,” which would you have chosen? No doubt, lacking context, I would have chosen Dante Culpepper’s “feet-in-cement-boots” performance over JP Losman’s “not bad, young man” performance.
If the same Football Overlords gave you a choice between 282 or 171 total yards…well, this time the answer would have been even more obvious. You would have taken the Fish’s eventual total. I mean, come on: It’s an entire football field length of a difference.
But, as former Jets/current Chiefs Head Coach Herm Edwards famously said, “You play to win the game.” Not that you can necessarily tell from his teams’ performances, but that’s another matter for another day. The fact is, this week the Bills made the right decisions and the right plays at the right time. The Fish did not. And that’s how you wind up Bills 16, Fish 6 (missed a shutout by thismuch).
Of course, in any game, some stats do matter. Ryan Denney’s three early sacks? Huge. Brian Moorman’s barrage of punts inside the 10? Incredible. Dan Dierdorf’s annoyance quotient? Indisputable.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t watch the game at Calico Jack’s this week because of an obligation to watch over a young child (my own kid, sickos). But, that gave me a chance to watch the game on TV accompanied by my new Sirius satellite radio, which enabled me to hear the game Dierdorf-free in favor of the Bills’ crew of John Murphy, Mark Kelso and some other guys whose names didn’t register. Now, I hadn’t heard a local Bills broadcast for years, and had never heard a home broadcast without Van Miller. Some observations:
- It didn’t nearly make up for not being at Calico Jack’s or McFadden’s, but it was lots more fun than actually listening to Dierdorf, I’m sure.
- There were two ads featuring Marv as spokesperson; one for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the other for a local hospital. Poor guy. What’s next, Viagra? Depends?
- Van Miller did some commercial, and sounded like he forgot to put his teeth in. I guess it has been a long time since I’d heard him.
- I’d swear I heard radio-station promotion centered on a chance to meet Alice Cooper. I would have thought I’d tapped into a strange 1970s time warp until I realized the Bills were actually beating the Fish. Nope, it wasn’t the 1970s. I guess that same gig will be Marilyn Manson’s in around 2025.
- I could have lived without the announcers – John Murphy, anyway – basically declaring the game over with way too much time left on the clock.
Then again, the Fish’s own fans clearly thought the game was over after the third quarter, as much of the paltry number that actually showed up for their home opener headed for the exits. Unbelievable. Look, I don’t expect every place to be as football-crazy as Western New York, but I’ve had many Floridians tell me the place is football crazy. Just plain crazy is more like it. I guess they simply had more important things to do; ask not for whom the early bird special tolls, it tolls for thee.
Finally, let’s all thank Coach Mularkey for doing more for the Bills this week than he had the previous two seasons. A big game ball to you, Coach! We’ll make sure Denney doesn’t knock it out of your hands.
I hope everyone who made it to the bars had a great time. And, if by some miracle anyone ever wants to contact me – highly unlikely, since I know deep down no one reads this – I believe my NYCBBB e-mail address is inactive. Try firstname.lastname@example.org.