Niagara Gazette


November 7, 2011

Fans waive white flag, Bills surrender division lead


ORCHARD PARK — Simple symbolism. That's all it was. An intangible undertone that no football mind would consider to be a contributing factor in Sunday's sobering disrobing, but still, a striking image, one we've never seen before and may never see again.

The Buffalo Bills' faithful, 70,000-strong, waving white flags.
Next time there is a "whiteout" at The Ralph, it really should be nature's doing. I'm sure it sold some extra jerseys and looked neat on TV, but out at the stadium, the artificial atmosphere set the tone for a weak, dispassionate, lazy Sunday effort in the most meaningful game played here in years. Before long, the Bills had surrendered their status as the team to beat in the AFC East.
The New York Jets sent discarded Bills Aaron Maybin and Jim Leonhard out for the coin toss and held the emotional edge from there on out. How does that happen in a game of this magnitude, when homefield advantage was so paramount to the Bills' chances for victory?
From first down to fourth, the Bills played with trepidation. They threw a quick slant to Stevie Johnson on the first series and he got buried into the turf. They stayed far away from Revis Island for the rest of the half. Ground and pound was the game plan, but Chan Gailey quickly strayed from his strategy. Wary of the Jets' pass rush, Ryan Fitzpatrick started making anticipatory throws to imagined openings. The result was 24 passing yards, two interceptions, and no points in the first two quarters.
When the Bills were embarrassed at home by the Jets last year, Gailey marched into the postgame press conference red-faced and angry, declaring he had learned something about his team and that changes were coming. It was a different scene Sunday. He came into the interview room with his head down, an ashen expression, beaten by a better team and accepting of that reality.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page