The first week of the National Football League's 2008 season is in the books. The injuries, the surprises, the beat-downs, and the squeakers. For one Buffalo Bills fan, this was a week of firsts.
It was my first game as a season-ticket holder. It was my first opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It was my first game with my new wife.
And it was the first time I saw the Bills, in person, dismantle a team.
Just to clear up, it was not the first game I've been to. Nor was it the first win. In fact, the three regular-season games I had attended prior to this game were all wins for the Bills (Kansas City, where J.P. tossed the two TDs to Evans; Minnesota. where we barely held on in the dying seconds; and then last season where McGahee made his not-so-great return to Buffalo).
But none of those games, not even seeing McGahee getting hit four yards deep in the backfield, lived up to this game. I admit, I was nervous heading to the game, even with the Seahawks' woes on offense.
However, even with the weather, the place was electric. From the chorus of "Lou" as former Bills wide receiver Lou Piccone came out to sing the National Anthem, the stadium was loud.
When Roscoe Parrish spun out of the last man to get even a glove on him on the punt return, I thought the upper deck was going to fall in. Never have I heard one place that loud.
Does this mean that the 12th man has returned home to make Buffalo the hardest place to play in the NFL? Maybe not. It sure seems like the Ralph may just have come back into the upper echelon, though.
The defense was dominant and the special teams provided the spark. The offense was efficient. Could this be the year of the Bills? Who knows. All I know is that I plan on being at the Ralph for every home game this year, lending my lungs to the cacophony of sound cheering on our Bills. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year.
Hey, Donte Whitner said so. You going to argue with that man? Be my guest. I think he's got 10 other men on his defense ready to back him up. Each of them has their own reasons to prove him right.
Marcus Stroud, a man who his former coach said would never be the same. Paul Posluszny, a man who broke his arm and studied endlessly so he could be the next great middle linebacker. Ko Simpson, sidelined with a broken ankle and desperate to prove himself. The list goes on, but it all adds up to one thing:
This defense is hungry, and the Seahawks were the first ones on the menu. Next up, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Some people have already called this the Marcus Stroud Bowl. He looks like he might just have the game of his life against his old team, missing all three of the projected starters on the interior offensive line from the start of the offseason.
After what the Titans did to the Jags, expect Stroud, Whitner, and company to have another dominating day.