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Complimentary Narratives

The dust has finally settled in the AFC East at the quarter-pole, and while not a few talking heads are still busy picking crow-feathers out of their teeth, it’s time that we’re on to Duval... I mean London... I mean Jacksondon... for a “home game” against the Redcoats... errrr... Jaguars.

Satire aside, what I want to focus on is the narrative of this season, four games in. Way back in the day, when seasons were sixteen games long, the pundits, fans, coaches and teams would use this point of the season to start vision-boarding their brand. At this point, the Bills mind-trust has enough tape under their belts to point to some trends. In The Bills Mafia, we have to look to our intellectual leaders for definitions. As the ever-intellectually-honest Bills podcasting legend, Bruce Nolan, noted in his 9/30/2021 podcast, “The Bruce Exclusive: Three Games is a Trend”:

“The Buffalo Bills were one below-average game from Josh Allen away from being, with him, where the Washington Football Team fans are with their defense, which is: ‘Okay, what’s going on.’ If you ascribe to the belief that three games is a trend; which I do. There’s a reason why I believe three games is a trend: And it’s because the magic happens in the third game...”

Although that was then, and this is 2023, the parallels are eerie: In both years, our Buffalo Bills got off to a somewhat specious start, and in both years we played A Team from Washington D.C., in our third game. Although V.2023 Allen didn’t look spectacular (Reminder: We were only up 16 - 0, going into the fourth quarter against the Washington Whatever-They-Ares), our Defense was a bloodthirsty tribe of berserkers, led by an unknown 3rd round pick that most everyone in the Bills Mafia doubted–present company included–that ultimately dragged our offense back into the game. In the fourth quarter of that 9/24/23 Washington game, we witnessed precisely what Sean McDermott delineated in this season’s 10/1/23 Dolphins Postgame Interview. McD lead with a number of rightfully-earned compliments, but perhaps none were so telling as the following:

“I’m really proud of the way they played complimentary-wise, and effort-wise, too.”

The recent Washington game–where our defense reinvigorated the offense in the fourth quarter, jump-starting Allen and the offense–just may have been McDermott’s complimentary style of ball that led to our absolute dominance of the media-darling, 70-point-scoring Tuna Phins. It just may have been Bruce Nolan’s “three games is a trend” magic that we all witnessed–through a Miller High Life Baptism–this past Sunday. It just may have effectively altered the 2023 narrative.

One can argue that the Stef-magic we witnessed as the Bills annihilated the Dolphins was brought about by McDermott’s “Humble and Hungry” style of complimentary football that began in the win over the team from Washington. One can argue that Bruce Nolan’s “three is a trend” is in good hands, with this 2023 Buffalo Bills team, and that the trend is trending upwards. Go Bills!

–Tim Avery - 10/5/2023

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