Buffalo Bills Snatch Defeat From The Jaws of Victory

Ronald MexicoCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2009

Every once in a while, a good football decision hurts you anyway. Monday night was a case study for why the Bills have talent every year and never get over the hump and make the playoffs. They did everything necessary to win, but the football gods had other plans.

The Pats kicked off with 2 timeouts and 128 seconds left on the clock.Β  At this point, the game still looked winnable for Buffalo. All they had to do was get a first down, or punt and stop Tom Brady from driving the length of the field in less than a minute.

While the first scenario seemed doable (the Patriot defense had looked porous all night), it was far from a sure thing. The Bills may have been eating up huge chunks of yardage all night with screen passes, but with a lead and less than two minutes left, the last thing you want to do is put the ball in the air. If they were going to move the chains, it would have to be on the back of Fred Jackson. Something tells me New England would have found a way to get the ball back.

The second scenario was more probable, and far more scary. Three and out seemed inevitable, so Buffalo tried to hedge its bets. Gostkowski kicked off, and Leodis McKelvin caught the football just inside the end zone. He thought about taking a knee, then he made a good football decision.

The Pats had 2 timeouts and a 2 minute warning, and the way Tom Brady was playing it looked like 90 seconds would be more than enough time to score. If McKelvin had taken a knee, then we probably all would have woken up this morning to Pats 25, Bills 24 anyway. Instead, McKelvin tried to nullify the two minute warning by taking it out and burning 8 seconds the hard way.

This was heads up play; deciding between giving Tom Brady 90 seconds or 50 seconds isn’t much of a decision at all. If you watch the tape, McKelvin actually hesitated at the goal line. His instinct told him to take a knee, but his brain (and probably his coaches) told him to take it out.

We all know what happened next, McKelvin fumbled, the Patriots recovered, Brady scored with time to spare, Trent Edwards got sacked and the game was over. The Bills are unlucky, plain and simple, and if last night is any indicator, they are headed for another season with heaping portions of mediocrity and broken dreams.


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