Fox's Barber channels frustration of Bills fans in a calm way - The Buffalo News

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Fox's Barber channels frustration of Bills fans in a calm way

After New Orleans' final touchdown in a 47-10 embarrassment of the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Fox play-by-play man Kenny Albert said there was "a commotion on the field."

He never explained what Twitter followers knew – that the commotion involved a streaker running across the field. Fox's cameras never showed him, either. According to a Fox spokesman, there isn't a network rule against showing streakers, but it traditionally doesn't show them.

It was too bad in this case because Bills fans at home could have used more comedy relief.

It's a good thing the Bills weren't required to tackle the guy because he probably could have eluded the Bills as easily as the Saints ran over them to expand their winning streak to seven games.

Bills fans exposed to some excitement late in blowout loss: 'Streaker!'

The blowout forced Albert and analyst Ronde Barber to go deep into the garbage time playbook in the second half to a laughable degree.

Barber has a great voice and is incredibly calm. To paraphrase Lou Grant's famous line about Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), I hate calm.

I wish he had gotten excited – or even better – angry at the Bills' pitiful defensive performance.

To his credit, Barber channeled Bills fans a few times in the game.

Before halftime with the Bills behind, 17-3, he questioned whether the Bills had enough offense to mount a comeback.

No question about it. They don't.

As Bills fans booed when the team was down, 30-3, Barber said: "They should be frustrated. You would expect some urgency. There hasn't been any attempt to get the ball down the field."

At another point, he noted that Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor "has to get the ball out of his hands quicker" – without the expletive many Bills fans no doubt would have added.

Barber is almost gentle to a fault, which was evidenced early during the Bills' first drive when he softly criticized Taylor for two erratic throws to open receivers.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees didn't have to throw much to beat the Bills, but he had plenty of success when he did. (Harry Scull Jr./ Buffalo News)

Barber could have earned some points late in the game if he addressed the elephant in the room – whether the Bills defense had given up. Fox's cameras also could have better showed exactly who was being dominated. But it is hard to fault any announcing team stuck with a game that John Madden couldn't have made interesting.

In a way, I felt sorry for Albert and Barber when they had to fill time for the entire fourth quarter with obscure statistics and stories.

They had to know Bills fans were tuning out at the same rate as they were exiting New Era Field.

Here are more highs and lows of a broadcast that didn't have much to shout about in either a positive or negative way.

Isn't That a Goo Goo Dolls Song? As the Saints ran the ball down the Bills' throat about 24 times in a row, Barber said they ran "over and over and over again."

A Challenging Remark: Barber's strongest statement came about the Bills offense when only behind 7-3: "This is not a team that really challenges you. Tyrod is not good at it. They don't have the receivers."

Twitter Laughs: The streaker was named the highlight of the game on the social network. Sight unseen, it is hard to disagree.

Garbage Time Special: With the help of a graphic, Albert and Barber actually noted how many coaches are named Sean, Mike, Bill, Doug and John before adding none of them is named Kenny or Ronde.

Debate Time: The Saints kicked a field goal to expand a 37-3 lead to 40-3, which seemed like rubbing it in. It was at least worth having Albert ask Barber whether it would have bothered him in his playing days or if he thought it was a good time for the Saints to give their kicker some practice from long range.

The Right Call: Fox chose not to show a replay of the scary special teams play in which the Saints' Daniel Lasco suffered a spine injury and was carted off the field in an ambulance.

More Power to Them: Before the kickoff, sideline reporter Kristina Pink noted the Saints were given a power point presentation on the history of the Bills stadium and how difficult it is to win there as the camera focused on Bruce Smith's name on the Wall of Fame. Then the Saints went out and gave the Bills one of their worst home losses in history.

Firm Grasp of the Obvious: Near game's end, Barber said the Bills have to figure out a way "to play better than they have the last two weeks." You think? Sometimes it is better not to say anything.

Garbage Time Stat Special: Albert noted that it was the first game in which the Saints rushed for more than 250 yards in about 31 years.

Left-Handed Compliment: Noting Saints quarterback Drew Brees' pregame routine of faking throwing passes with his left hand, Barber cracked "if he takes a snap and throws the ball left-handed I would say he is the most talented quarterback in history." Near game's end with the Saints well ahead, Barber joked that Brees just might throw a pass left-handed. He didn’t. In fact, he passed just 25 times in the game right-handed.

Quote of the Game: Near game's end, Barber said: "Not all blowouts are created equally." I'm not sure what his point was, but it must be in the NFL constitution somewhere. In today's NFL parity, it really is hard to lose 47-10, especially when the coaches have 10 days to prepare.

The Drive: During a 10-play, 94-yard Saints drive on the ground, Albert asked: "In the (coach) Sean Payton era, how many times have they had a drive like this? All runs."

The Trade: During the Saints' rushing dominance, Barber mentioned the Bills traded Marcell Dareus, who was known as a run-stuffer years ago when he played well.

The Benjamin Impact: Before new Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin caught a few garbage-time passes from Nathan Peterman, Barber assessed having Benjamin "added nothing" and didn't think he had been targeted since the first drive.

Grandfathered: Just when you thought the Bills might have played a game without a mention of Nick O'Leary's grandfather, the tight end caught a touchdown pass that led Albert to talk about Jack Nicklaus.

More Golf: Near game's end, Barber noted the game didn't go as expected between the only two teams playing Sunday with a winning record. "The Bills would like a mulligan," cracked Albert. Or a Brees.

The Definition of a Laugher: In the first half, Albert noted this was the first time Saints coach Sean Payton was coaching against another head coach named Sean (McDermott). Later, Albert explained that the two Seans coached on the same Philadelphia Eagles team.

The Wow Factor: When the Saints' Mark Ingram jumped into the stands for the second time to celebrate the touchdown that gave the Saints a 14-3 lead, Barber said: "Jumping in the stands in Buffalo. Wow." He added the fan he jumped into was "definitely not part of the Bills Mafia." Even though Ingram was near a Saints fan and a Bills fan appeared to douse him with beer, the Bills Mafia may have been as embarrassed as the Bills defense in allowing that to happen.

The Future: There had been speculation that the Bills game against Kansas City on Nov. 26 would be moved to a national CBS game at 4:25 p.m. if the Bills won, with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo calling it. After this Bill debacle, that risky move would appear to be less likely to happen. By the way, Fox has the Bills' next game against the Chargers, which normally would go to CBS. Wow.

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