Fox's TV crew is unbiased but at times misses 'The Big Picture' - The Buffalo News

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Fox's TV crew is unbiased but at times misses 'The Big Picture'

It often wasn't easy picking up the flight of the ball on several field goal tries on the closed end of New Era Field during Fox's coverage of the Buffalo Bills' 30-27 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.

It was a game-long issue, starting with the first field goal by Tampa's Patrick Murray that gave the Bucs a 3-0 lead.

Fortunately, at the end of the game it was a lot easier to see the winning kick by the Bills' Stephen Hauschka than several earlier kicks.

"He drilled it, a little drama but he got it through," said Fox play-by-play man Chris Myers of the kick that veered dangerously close to the left upright before sailing through.

It is doubtful that Bills fans saw this one coming when the Bucs took a 27-20 lead with a little more than 3 minutes left considering Buffalo's offense for most of the season.

It also is likely that many Bills fans who remember Tennessee's Musical City Miracle on Home Run Throwback in the Bills' last playoff game were as confident as Fox analyst Daryl Johnston when he noted with 14 seconds left that Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor had improved his record of leading a fourth-quarter comeback after trailing by four points to 3-16. Hey, there were 14 seconds left.

But after Tampa Bay's multiple throwbacks ended, some Bills fans might have thought that it was one of the better endings in Buffalo since the movie "The Natural" was shot here.

Of course, the game literally wasn't a pretty picture, with Fox camera views occasionally disorienting or missing informative replays.

Myers was decent but not flawless. At one point, he said former Bills receiver Robert Woods was traded when he left as a free agent. He also said the Bucs were "just short" of a first down when they were four yards away, making one question his definition of short.

He also missed the big picture of redemption at key points in the game. He failed to note that LeSean McCoy redeemed himself for an earlier fumble by scoring the tying touchdown, Tre'Davious White redeemed himself for earlier being beaten by Mike Evans for a Bucs' 12-yard go-ahead touchdown by recovering a fumble he forced, and the Bills maligned group of wide receivers redeemed themselves by actually catching passes in this game.

My name is Tim G., and I'm addicted to The Process

But to his credit, Myers' seemed totally unbiased and got excited no matter which team scored despite the fact that he does the preseason games for Tampa Bay. If anything, his Bucs expertise helped to relay information about the visitors.

Johnston also was unbiased. As usual, Fox showed photographs of the former Youngstown resident who is in the Buffalo Hall of Fame, played at Syracuse University and owns Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys.

He was so alert to the changes in the Bills offensive line blocking scheme adjustments that you almost wondered if he had been in the team meetings of the players called during the bye week.

Johnston isn't the most critical analyst, but he did note in the first half when Taylor missed easy throws.

And he was justifiably appalled when Taylor threw a short pass to Jordan Matthews inbounds with eight seconds left in the half without a timeout left and thereby squandered a short field goal attempt.

"Zero's on the clock, the Bills blew it," said Myers.

"What are you trying to do, take a 36-yard field goal and make it 32 yards?" responded Johnston.

It would have been nice if Johnston was more critical. After halftime, he said you can't make that throw and you can't call that play without naming anyone. Names please.

Bills fans might have been thinking it was too bad the pass wasn't intended for Zay Jones. He might have dropped it, which is what Matthews should have done.

Here are more highs and lows and blown calls in a game that was more exciting than well-played.

Make Him Defensive Coordinator: Johnston noted that the Bucs' O.J. Howard was wide open and lost by Bills defenders for the 33-yard touchdown that tied the game at 20 even though they had used the same play earlier. Of course, that play only worked because the Bills didn't have much of a pass rush all day, recording one sack. It would have been nice if Johnston mentioned that.

Best Replay: Fox didn't show a replay of the open field when Johnston criticized Taylor for not running for a first down before he threw an incomplete pass. But it had a good replay of the hold on the Bills' Jerry Hughes that negated a 55-yard Bucs completion to DeSean Jackson.

Oh, Laura: Sideline reporter Laura Okmin wasn't heard from much, but she did mistakenly call Bills coach Sean McDermott "Sean McVay," the coach of the Los Angeles Rams. After botching time management at the end of the first half, McDermott probably was happy to have an assumed name.

Jerry Sullivan: A little bit of heaven for McDermott, Bills

Wardrobe Malfunction: McDermott’s second-worst decision Sunday was wearing a long sleeve shirt on a hot day. However, Twitter followers tell me that is his usual game-day wardrobe.

Calling Tim Matheson: When Taylor threw the ill-advised pass that ended the first half, the classic Matheson line from "Animal House" came to mind: “You messed up. You trusted us." Of course, Matheson didn't say "messed up." I'm sure many Bills fans used the actual word in the stands.

Calling Marcell: Who knew Marcell Dareus was even in the game until he was called for encroachment the play before Tampa scored a touchdown and went up, 27-20? CBS' Jason LaCanfora reported Sunday that the Bills tried to trade Dareus in the preseason. That would have been a much more interesting scoop if it aired in August.

The 5 Percent Solution: Fox reported the game was going to only 5 percent of the country, which might be why the camera angles often weren't up to par. Bigger games generally get more cameras.

Florida, Florida, Florida: Myers repeatedly noted the number of players from the state of Florida who made big plays, including Bills receiver Deonte Thompson.

Not a Challenging Day: There was only one challenge inside the final two minutes and a catch by Bills receiver Andre Holmes was upheld as Fox expert Mike Pereira predicted.

The Numbers Game: On the same pass play that Johnston thought Taylor should have run, Myers mistook LeSean McCoy (No. 25) for Taiwan Jones (No. 26). At least he got Taiwan right on the trick play that helped seal the victory before the winning kick.

The Mystery Man: Would have been nice to hear why the Bears cut Thompson, the Bills star of the game. Come to think of it, why did the Bills cut him in a previous regime?

Bucky Gleason: Meet Deonte Thompson, who made a difference in Bills' win over Bucs

Patriot Games: At one point, Johnston called the Bucs "the Patriots" before admonishing himself: "Where did the Patriots come from?" he asked. Myers tried to bail him out, noting the Bucs blew a Thursday night game to New England.

A Great Pickup Line: On McCoy's first touchdown, Myers said it was a great pickup by the Bucs' Robert Ayers when he undoubtedly meant it was a great pickup by Bills blocker Patrick DiMarco on Ayers.

The Grandson Card: Early on, Myers noted that Bills tight end Nick O'Leary was legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus' grandson and he called him "Nicklaus O'Leary." Or was it Nicholas?

Early Warning: After Jameis Winston threw a 55-yard incomplete pass on the Bucs' first possession, Johnston said : “I’ll tell you what. There is nothing wrong with his (Winston’s) shoulder.” But, hey, the Bills kept him to under 400 yards passing.

What's My Line: Myers said "It is almost like Tampa Bay weather in Orchard Park, N.Y.” a few minutes after I tweeted something like that.

Wings and Things: Fox didn't even wait until kickoff to show chicken wings. In the last minute of the pregame show as wings were displayed, Myers said: “Grab some wings,” said Myers. “Good weather, good football.” Well, maybe not good football. But good TV entertainment.

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