Never underestimate the importance of a good introduction.
In the business world that means a well-prepared resume, a firm handshake and a nice suit. But in football there’s no better way to say “hello” than with three interceptions, a sack and a shutout of your opponent.
And that’s just what Buffalo Bills’ Lawyer Milloy, Sam Adams and Takeo Spikes provided for their new team on Sunday. As a result, their introduction to Ralph Wilson Stadium couldn’t have gone any better.
Milloy, playing against the Patriots team for which he was the defensive captain just a week ago, had no problems fitting himself into Gregg Williams’ defense at strong safety. He threw himself around the football with his requisite reckless abandon, more a missile than a human being. His sack of former teammate and good friend Tom Brady was the perfect way to get revenge on New England, who had pointed out that he had no sacks all of last season when they released him. (Though officially the cut was made for salary cap reasons.)
Spikes, signed in the off-season to shore up the Bills’ linebacking corps, expressed his gratitude for his release from Bengals purgatory by picking off Brady twice. The charismatic Spikes also intercepted the attention of the fans and TV cameras, making them aware of his considerable presence after every big play.
Last, but certainly not least, there was the gargantuan figure of Adams, (Am I the only one who thinks his alcoholic namesake may help him maintain his physique?) who not only fulfilled his role as the immovable object, but also became the unstoppable force, picking off one of Brady’s passes and taking it 37 yards to the house, waggle and all.
With the new players on defense delighting the crowd, Drew Bledsoe played efficient, unspectacular football. Razor-sharp to start the game, he bogged down a bit as the game went on. Yet it was refreshing to watch a well-protected Bledsoe in a pressure-free situation, considering the number of shootouts he was forced to participate in last season. Also solid was tailback Travis Henry, whose continued emergence makes me wonder why on earth the Bills would have picked Willis McGahee, especially in the first round. Bledsoe’s wide-receiving corps was out in force as well, though Josh Reed dropped a couple balls that should make fans wonder whether it might have been worth paying a Peerless Price to keep their old number two wideout.
Nonetheless, the defense was so dominant, and the 31-0 score so shocking, I’m tempted to say brash things about the Bills chances at the Super Bowl. But since most of my earliest indelible Super Bowl memories involve the words “Bills” and “lose” in inexorable tandem, I will make no such damning predictions. Instead I am merely content to put the team-whose-mascot-is-its-city-name-and-thus-whose-team-name-has-nothing-to-do-with-its-mascot at the top of my first ever Top Five Power Poll.
The top five going into week 2:
1. Buffalo Bills — Nobody circles the off-season defensive acquisitions like the Buffalo Bills.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Tough matchup tonight against the hungry Eagles.
3. Philadelphia Eagles — The line on martial law at Lincoln Financial Field? +/- one quarter.
4.ÊKansas City Chiefs — Fantasy geeks thank the injury gods for the safe return of their high Priest.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers — Somehow nothing seems less Steeler-esque than a stadium named after ketchup.
And the Kelly Stouffer award for general ineptitude in Week One goes to:
Kurt Warner. You fumbled six times, and lost three of them. You also threw an interception. Congratulations Kurt, you’ll be back working at the grocery store soon!