I’m neither a Pats nor a Bills fan, but I’ve always rooted for the underdog, and tonight’s game between New England and Buffalo was no different. A rusty Tom Brady and a solid Bills defense were giving Buffalo a chance to upset the vaunted Patriots, much to my astonishment. I found Trent Edwards poise under center promising as was the impact of the team’s largely rookie offensive line. As the game wore on and I realized that the Bills could actually pull this off I began silently taking sides between two teams I care nothing about. Go Bills!
The Bills did not play a flawless game by any measure. They were called for nine penalties for 71 yards. To that end, they were perhaps their own worst enemy. Yet they hung in there, made plays, and held the lead for 59 minutes.
Then a few unfortunate turn of events went the Patriots way. First on the Patriots' drive with five minutes left in the game, officials handed Brady and company two very generous, if not questionable first downs, on back-to-back plays. From my point of view both plays came up about a yard short, but neither was measured to be sure. Even the commentators made mention of it the first time, and the second time was even more obvious. A few moments later the Pats scored.
On the ensuing kick-off, a back-pedaling Leodis McKelvin made the ill-advised choice of trying to run the ball out rather than take a knee. He was subsequently gang tackled by three Patriot’s defensemen who did everything but pry his arms apart in an attempt to release the ball. They succeeded. McKelvin fumbled, and the Patriots recovered. The golden God, Tom Brady won a game he certainly didn’t earn. That’s the way things go sometimes in the NFL. Ask the Bengals, who lost their game on a fluke tip into the arms of the Broncos' Brandon Stokely, on Sunday.
Brady knew he stole a cheap win. This was clear from his desire not to talk about it as he walked off the field, rudely attempting to dismiss ESPN reporter Suzie Kolber as he marched to the dressing rooms. When his dismissals to Kolber failed to dissuade, Brady pulled his best Ronald Reagan, “I can’t hear you” move, before finally relenting and acknowledging the weak win.
I found his behavior in poor taste and unlike the convivial Brady we’re all used to. I’m sure no one will mention it nor will he be admonished by the team or the league, because he is after all, Tom Brady, golden God. But he should be held accountable for such behavior which is detrimental to the image of the team and the game. Speaking with the media goes with the job, especially on the first Monday night game of the season. A winning quarterback acting like the loser? Disappointing. But perhaps I’m being too hard on the guy.
My perspective on the game’s outcome is perhaps colored by my disappointment that the Bills were robbed of a victory they weren’t expected to get, but one that they certainly earned. By the fact that guys like Brady seem to trip over good fortune, while the underdogs are always standing in the way of the bad luck locomotive. Or perhaps it was simply that the only exciting part of an otherwise dull game was the slim hope that the Bills might upset the immovable force that is Brady and the Patriots.
Of course I was rooting for Favre to lose to Cleveland this week on the same principal. So there ya go.