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With football world watching, Bills mystify

By Tim Graham

A quick blog item about last Sunday as we shift our attention from the season opener to the Buffalo Bills' upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs ...

Over the past few days I've received several calls and texts from players, agents and analysts who felt compelled to vent about the Bills' performance. The football community, by and large, was eager to see what the Bills would look like.

The basic sentiment: The NFL is a better place when the Bills are winning.

Then we saw ... that.

One former player made a couple points I particularly wanted to pass along. He called just to chat and didn't want his name used, but he was a Pro Bowl performer in the trenches, and I found his defensive observations worthwhile.

These thoughts probably crossed your mind, too, but here's some validation from a retired star who can share a Bills fan's pain.

* What shocked him most was that the Bills were so thoroughly beaten even though they were highly successful in making the Jets one-dimensional. A one-dimensional opponent is an accomplishment coaches crave when drawing up their game plans. The Bills effectively stopped the run. They stuffed the Wildcat and limited the Jets to 3.3 yards a carry overall. To make the Jets one dimensional and reliant on Mark Sanchez should be a winning formula 97 times out of 100. Instead, the Bills lost by 20 points.

* With the above point in mind, the caller was stunned the Bills didn't try to light up Sanchez with a few blitzes. The Bills essentially took away the run and then never got aggressive or creative with their pass rush. Sanchez stayed comfortable all afternoon. The caller's voice went up about three octaves when he made this point.

* Like others we've heard from, the caller was taken aback by Mario Williams' performance against inexperienced tackle Austin Howard and was more disappointed Williams went out of his way to blame the replacement officials. "It looked like Mario Williams thought the game started at 4 o'clock," the caller said. In truth, kickoff was at 1 p.m.

My phone was buzzing the past few days because there's a lot of outside interest in the Bills across the country, and Sunday was their only chance to make a first impression.

I'm sure if the Bills don't make a statement against the Chiefs, then the interest will evaporate and my phone will get much quieter.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |