Moeller: Bills Transforming From Pretender To Contender

When I think about the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs, one of my first thoughts in “The Comeback.”

You remember.

The early January game in which the Bills rallied from a 28-3 and seemingly dead halftime deficit to a thunderous 41-38 victory over the then upstart Houston Oilers that set Buffalo on its ear that night.

It was a chapter in the Bills’ historic four-year Super Bowl runs.

Now, they appear to be taking the first steps toward that direction.

Outside of the greater Buffalo area, you didn’t need a calculator to figure out how many fans believed the Bills had a shot at the playoffs this season.

They had the much-maligned Tyrod Taylor back at quarterback and had lost four starters apiece on both sides of the ball from a 7-9 team.

Rex Ryan was out and Sean McDermott was in. Rebuilding wasn’t going to be easy.

Somehow, though, they stayed underneath the radar all season to flip over to a 9-7 campaign.

They opened some eyes beginning the season with a 3-1 record, but then slipped back to sense of mediocrity, winning back-to-back games on two separate occasions and snapping a three-game losing streak with a key 16-10 against the then streaking Chiefs.

They had their blowouts – 47-10 against the Saints, 54-24 against the Chargers, and 37-16 against the Patriots.

But they rebounded after the Patriots’ one with a 22-16 win at Miami in the last game of the season and then needed help.

Their televised locker room scene watching Cincinnati beat Baltimore to help them clinch was priceless.

It symbolized the character and togetherness that sewed this team together all season.

Much like the Jets, the Bills played a solid sixty minutes of football for McDermott from start to finish despite some bumps along the way.

McDermott instilled a new-found confidence and cleaned up the remnants and mistakes from the Ryan regime.

Taylor has silenced his critics with a respectable season, throwing for nearly 2,800 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions.

LeSean McCoy has been the heart of the offense with over 1,100 yards rushing and a team-high 77 receptions. His recent ankle injury could drastically slow the offense.

Their defense was ranked seventh overall in the league and fifth in interceptions behind Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, who both swiped five each.

The Bills enter Sunday’s playoff game as much as a nine-point underdog to the rising Jaguars and they could be easily overwhelmed, especially if McCoy can’t play.

Whatever the case, they are back in the Big Dance for the first time since 1995.

They are also in the position to have their history repeat itself with plenty of “comebacks” ahead.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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