The Bills Are One Day Closer To Greatness

It is a city that is due for it.

Jim Rome
January 18, 2021 - 11:45 am
Taron Johnson

USA Today

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Kansas City advanced to the AFC championship game yesterday and they are about to find a bully waiting for them. I’m talking about the Buffalo Bills.

And I’m asking you, Buffalo: how you livin’ right now? How was it getting up this morning, knowing that you are one day closer to the Bills being one game closer to the Super Bowl?

That has to feel good. That has to feel damn good. Because I know I could hear you on Saturday night. Or at least some of you. The State of New York allowed 6,700 Bills fans into the stadium against the Ravens, but you can’t tell me that was only 6,700. That sounded way more like 67,000. That crew was feeling it. If there were just 6,700 of them, there were 6,700 Rick In Buffalo’s.

The only thing more Bills Mafia than the fans sounding ten times as loud as they should have was the fact that after their team knocked Lamar Jackson out of the game and ended his season, the Bills fans were donating to his favorite charity. That is amazing and yet so on-brand for the Mafia. Nothing but respect for that crew.

And nothing but respect for how they showed up on Saturday night, especially on this play. Because as loud as they were throughout the game, there wasn’t a better moment to lose your bleep than right here:

Taren Johnson, if you need him. The interception was great. And if that’s all that happened on that play, it would’ve been tremendous. Because it would’ve meant that the Bills defense came up with another stop to prevent the Ravens from tying the game.

You want to know what made that play so amazing. It was the first red zone turnover of Lamar Jackson’s career. Since he arrived in the NFL, he had never turned the ball over in the red zone. And then Johnson picks him off in the red zone in the playoffs.

If Johnson had just picked off the pass and taken a knee, that would’ve been the play of the game. And he was thinking about it, he was thinking about just intercepting the pass, taking a knee and turning the ball over to the offense. But instead, he made the play off the season and maybe even bigger than that.

"I kind of looked down, but then I looked up, and I saw a whole bunch of green grass to the right side. So I figured if I could race over there -- I know Lamar is fast, but if I have lead blockers, I feel like I could take it."

I love the play and I love the swagger. I know Lamar is like the fastest quarterback ever, but if I have lead blockers, I feel like I could take it.

That is pretty much how you sum up this Bills team. I know (insert opposing player or team) is good, but I feel like I could take it. And they just go out and take it.  Whatever the the hell it is. They just rip it. 

When I said that was the play of the season, I might not have been going far enough. Because this is what Josh Allen called it: “A play that people are going to remember for a long time here in Buffalo, potentially a franchise-altering play.”

That was just one play in a masterclass from the Bills defense. Remember when everyone was questioning their ability to stop the run? Remember when people were talking about the Ravens coming in and running all over the Bills? Remember when folks were picking against the Bills, at home, in the playoffs?

Jerry Hughes did. He remembers all of it. And he took it all personally.

“We took it as a challenge. A lot of us, just because we had this late-night game, we sat around, we watched TV, we enjoy football. It’s our job. It’s our passion. So, you know, when we see the guys on TV talking about how they don’t play defense in Buffalo, we’re going to give up 30 points. That’s a challenge that we all see. We take it as a challenge and we accept it, so I think we went out there and we played like we had something to prove, and that’s how you’re supposed to play football at your house, especially in the playoffs.”

That defense that was supposedly going to give up 30 points and a ton of yards, gave up three points, had four sacks, and six tackles for loss.

Sean McDermott is incredible. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, whatever the Bills are paying him, it’s not enough. Just give him a blank check and let him do what he wants. But as long as we’re doling out the love, it shouldn’t just be for McDermott, you better give some to Leslie Frazier as well.

Because the defense that McDermott and Frazier put on the field put on an absolute clinic. And that was against Lamar Jackson, who was playing at an elite level coming into the game and had some freaky moments early.

But the plan from McDermott and Frazier was to get the Ravens into third and longer situations, and force Jackson into tough spots. And it worked.

And you know there’s no way I’m doing a take on the Bills without checking in with my Bills correspondent, the Schno-man. Because Dion Dawkins sums up this team and its mood every single week. And this time, he dropped this gem: “There are so many guys on this team that are due for greatness.”

That is the truth. That is a team that is due for greatness. It is a city that is due for greatness. And it is a fanbase that is due for greatness. Bills Mafia, you are one day closer to greatness.

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