NFL Week 3 recap: It’s time for everyone to stop doubting the Bills

1228755018.jpg.0 - NFL Week 3 recap: It’s time for everyone to stop doubting the BillsPhoto by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Apologize to Bills fans if you’ve made fun of this team, because they’re for real.

The Buffalo Bills were, largely, a meme team. They were the flaming table divers. The sex toy throwers. The league’s goofy kid brother who you wanted to turn his life around, but kinda always felt he was going to be a screw up. For years everyone outside of Buffalo laughed off the Bills, and now we all need to apologize. Last year was not a fluke. This team was for real, and I’m a believer now.

On paper what the Bills did in building this team shouldn’t have worked. They took Brandon Beane, an executive from the Carolina Panthers — and he essentially rebuilt what he knew in Buffalo. Five starters came directly from Carolina, the coaching staff is full of ex-Panthers coaches. Constructing a team like this was hilarious for one key reason: The Panthers were never particularly amazing without Cam Newton. It was almost like the Bills were trying to make spaghetti — but didn’t have any pasta.

Then you cap all this off with Josh Allen, a player nobody believed in during the draft process except the Bills (and their fans) and it felt like we were destined for the league’s goofy kid brother to remain a perpetual disappointment. Now, when it came to 2019 we were all a little unfair. The Bills were proving they were a seriously, legitimately good team — and the collective response was “this is a fluke,” or “Josh Allen is still really terrible — wait for it.” I was guilty of it, everyone was. Now, three weeks in to 2020 if you’re sticking to this line of thinking you’re just being stubborn. The Bills are real. Allen is a top-tier QB, and it’s okay to accept being wrong and start paying attention.

On Sunday the Bills beat the Rams, which is an accomplishment on its own — but especially so considering Buffalo are dealing with numerous injury issues this season. So, when they show up and hang 35 points on the Rams, moving to 3-0 in the process, that matters. We should be noticing it. It may have been easy to say “it was just the Jets and Dolphins” up to this point, but not anymore.

Josh Allen’s season has been beyond phenomenal so far. He’s posted a passer rating of 122.8 so far, and his extrapolated stats are mind numbing.

5,536 yards, 71% completion, 53 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 9.1 YPA.

Obviously extrapolating out a full season from three game is risky, but I’m pointing this out to say that you should be paying attention to the Bills. It’s easy to overlook, because we’ve been conditioned to overlooking them — but God, they’re so frigging good.

The Falcons aren’t sad, they’re inspirational.

Atlanta blowing back-to-back leads is obviously devastating for fans, especially when it means spectacularly blowing it against the Chicago Bears — but I believe it’s important to see the beauty in everything.

In this instance I love how committed Atlanta are to repping their team nickname. So few teams act like the animals or things they represent. For instance, I haven’t seen the Giants tower over anyone this season, or Tampa Bay wear eye patches and steal any jewels.

But the Falcons, they’ve got it down. They soar majestically over teams for three quarters, gracefully and beautifully — then at the last second they plummet from the sky, but instead of nabbing prey they just crash into the earth like Wile E. Coyote when he falls off a cliff.

Cam Newton was a B- on the field, A+ on the bench.

Newton was fine on Sunday. Not awful, not excellent — definitely weak by his standards, but on the plus side he became a meme.

I’m going to be using this so much for the rest of the season and beyond.

The ending to Bengals vs. Eagles was the saddest, and perhaps greatest thing I’ve seen in football.

Any time there’s a tie in football it’s a special occasion. These beautiful, unique unicorns only appear once in a great while, and need to be appreciated for how they defy our expectations and leave us with something beautiful.

Each tie is special, but the Bengals and Eagles united on Sunday. They wanted a tie to happen, they willed it into being. It was a truly a case down the stretch where neither team wanted to win. Or, perhaps more accurately, both were so terrified of losing that they froze, and did this.

Screen Shot 2020 09 27 at 1.53.25 PM - NFL Week 3 recap: It’s time for everyone to stop doubting the Bills

Hell yeah that’s a punt, followed by running out the clock. These are not the actions of teams that want to win football games. The punt happened because the Eagles false started on a 59-yard field goal attempt, then the Bengals looked at the situation and were like “a tie sounds pretty good, actually.”

You have to imagine that the logic behind this was that Cincinnati didn’t want Joe Burrow to get another loss and hurt his confidence, while the Eagles just wanted to ensure they didn’t lost to Cincinnati — also destroying their confidence.

The reasons are less important that the beauty of this tie. One which will frustrate football writers for years when they’re calculating win/loss records over time and have to account for the ties.

I refuse to believe anyone predicted this season.

I’m going to hit you with some statements about this season, and if you believed any of these would happen prior to Week One then I’m calling you a liar.

  • The 3-0 Chicago Bears.
  • The 0-3 Minnesota Vikings.
  • The Los Angeles Chargers would scare the Chiefs, push them to overtime, then lose to the Panthers the next week. Carolina wouldn’t have Christian McCaffery.
  • The Washington Football Team would be leading the NFC East with a 1-2 record.
  • The Bills would be the highest-scoring team in the AFC.
  • Justin Herbert would have a higher quarterback rating than DeShaun Watson, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers.

So why are things so weird?

If this season will teach us anything I think it’s that we’ve learned how important consistency and preparation are for NFL players. It’s not like these things weren’t already known, but we haven’t gotten so see what true disruption in season prep looks like until now.

Might as well just enjoy the ride, because it’s getting stranger and weirder each week.

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