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The Bills and others were bad, but they have 15 more chances

On Sports
Rochester Business Journal
September 14, 2012

Now that Week 1 of the NFL regular season has come and gone, it is obvious what will happen and not happen when the playoffs start right after 2013 arrives-if, that is, you can believe everything we heard and read earlier this week.
That is a fairly long list, starting with ...
The Buffalo Bills. Optimism gushed from Orchard Park despite Buffalo going 0-4 in the preseason. Then, in the first game that really mattered, the Bills were awful, losing to the New York Jets, 48-28. So now all that optimism has been flushed down the drain and replaced by misery. Will the Bills go 0-16? Maybe. Right, guys?
Why? No. 1 on the awful list was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He completed only 18 of 32 passes for 195 yards and a pair of threes-three touchdowns and three interceptions. It was just more evidence that whatever Fitz is, he isn't and shouldn't be a starting QB in the NFL. And he won't get any better. Right, guys?
How about Mario Williams? He got a $100 million deal to turn the Bills defense into a nightmare for opposing teams, then went out last Sunday and made one measly tackle to go with no quarterback sacks. Was he so excited about the deer-hunting season getting closer that he couldn't focus on football? Or, as Williams said, was Jets tackle Austin Howard using his hands instead of blocking Mario legally?
The New Orleans Saints. They do not have head coach and offensive genius Sean Payton on the sidelines this season-suspended for that bounty mess-which means there is more trouble coming after Sunday's 40-32 loss to the Washington Redskins.
Why? Because quarterback Drew Brees couldn't figure out what to do to beat Washington's defense, which is why he completed only 46 percent of his passes and threw for only three touchdowns. And why the Redskins had the ball for 39 minutes and the Saints only 20 minutes. That also means Brees is to blame for the Saints defense giving up 40 points, which is 14 percent of the total points the Redskins scored in 16 games last year.
The Saints were 13-3 last season and the Redskins 5-11, and after Week 1 there is no doubt that their records will be reversed this season. Right, guys?
The Indianapolis Colts. After the Colts dumped Peyton Manning and drafted Andrew Luck, the word was that Luck is destined to be the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, if he isn't already. And the Colts were considered a lock to reverse their 2-14 record in 2011, or at least come close.
Ah, but an unlucky thing happened to Luck while taking what all the guys considered to be his first step toward the Pro Football Hall of Fame: He completed 23 of 45 passes-OK, but not great-and threw three interceptions as the Colts lost to the Chicago Bears, 41-21. Hmmm. ... Maybe it was those substitute referees who gave Luck a miserable 60 minutes. Right, guys?
The Denver Broncos. Manning no doubt got a kick out of what he and his new team did and what his old team didn't do. The Broncos, an 8-8 team last year, took the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4 in 2011) out back and worked them over, winning 31-19.
To the surprise of no one or everyone, Manning looked like the same QB he was before a neck injury and four surgeries kept him out all of last season. At age 36, the Colts figured, he was toast. Instead, he burned the Steelers, completing 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards, no interceptions and two touchdowns.
There probably were many similar situations in Week 1 of the NFL season and the same will be true this weekend. But you don't decorate a player or toss him in the garbage based on what he does or doesn't do in one game-especially when it's the first game of the season. I mean, aren't you glad the Yankees didn't dump Derek Jeter when he went hitless in three or four straight games way back when?
Look, every player on every team has his moments, good and bad. That's life on the field or on the court.
There's no question that Fitzpatrick and Williams have to snap out it if the Bills are going to live up to our expectations. The same goes for Brees and the Saints. And for Luck and the Colts.
I've said and written it a thousand times, and I'll do it again: It's not how good you are, it's how good you are today. So, Denver fans, don't run out and buy your Super Bowl tickets. And all you who were bummed out after Week 1, don't put your season tickets on eBay just yet.
Rick Woodson's column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at His book, "Words of Woodson," is available at Listen to his weekly program, "The Golf Tee," at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.9/14/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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