It’s almost December, five meaningful games remain, but the return of the '60s or '90s Cold War has left Bills fans bone-chillingly numb; and frosty to each other, even after a hotly contested huge road win.
It’s a QB controversy like no other. No longer Tyrod vs. Peterman but Tyrod vs. The Fans — because there really isn’t anyone else to put in his place.
First the game on Sunday…
To his credit, coach Sean McDermott righted a sinking ship, although luckily the Chiefs had recently become the Bills. Karem Hunt took an early handoff into the middle of the line, was swarmed by numerous Bills defenders and never came out the rest of the game. Andy Reid, known as a smart head coach, somehow decided it was best to neuter his best players.
For the Bills, LeSean McCoy alternated between minus-3 and 7 yards a carry to average just over two yards a clip, and yet still managed to make plays. Tavaris Cadet looked like an actual backup RB with an assortment of handyman skills that will hopefully power-bolt Mike Tolbert to the bench when McCoy needs a breather, which is often.
I love Shady, but every time he gets 10 he takes five.
Zay Jones, who just became an internet sensation for being videogame Gumby after a sideline dive, showed more flashes, including a nifty TD catch. It was a smartly designed and nattily executed play by Taylor, the best dressed dude in the league who undressed the Chiefs on that reverse pivot and throw.
That play started and ended the offensive inventiveness of OC Rick Dennison, who inexplicably calls some well-designed ditty, or astute game plan, watches it work, and then immediately abandons it forever.
The Bills' defense, which took a surprise and reckless three-week midseason vacation, returned to work in K.C., and dominated from the opening kick. The Chiefs had one good drive all game and Reid coached like he had an arrow though his head, all but ignoring not only Hunt, but Travis Kelce and Hill the entire game, his only three threats.
Fan favorite Matt Milano had a decent game although his best play was made by Jerry Hughes. Both Preston Brown and Ramon Humber in the middle stood their ground and stood out. In fact, for the first time in a month, the front seven all played well, as did the entire secondary.
E.J. Gaines returned to form and clearly helps the defense even counting his shaky outing against the Chargers. The Bills are 1-3 without him and 5-2 with him.
Gaines was also called for a mysterious 15-yard Impersonal Foul call, impersonal because he more ignored the Chief runner than hit him, which had Bills fans in an uproar. You know it's a horrendous call when the other team's message boards, full of bitter fans like us after a maddening loss, all agree the call was criminally bad even though it went their way.
Doctor Poyer and Mr. Hyde also returned to terrorizing receivers downfield, breaking up passes and nearly some bones. Cold-blooded Tre White iced the game with a big play break on the ball, timely interception, and zigzag return deep into enemy territory.
And our agony quickly became ecstasy.
But all the talk after the game—and what will continue until this coming Sunday in a colossal divisional battle against Satan—will envelop if not engulf Taylor. The quiet and unassuming field general is somehow more polarizing than any Bill since Doug Flutie.
The Taylor debate has become Alt-Right versus Alt-Left in an Alternative Universe, likely caused by his (debunked) inability to throw down the middle.
The two-party system in this fan base is broken; the (self-proclaimed) realists against the apologists. This isn't Kemp vs. Lamonica in the '60s or RJ/Flutie in the '90s, this is Tyrod vs. Sanity—and neither side is looking good.
The Alt-Left says Taylor never does things he clearly, repeatedly does, like throw to guys who are covered, throw guys open, hit guys in stride, take chances. The Alt-Right says when we lose it's because of him and when we win it's despite him. And both sides have a decent argument.
Proponents say watch that play he made on third-and-long, miraculously escaping two guys right on him, stepping up, cirque-de-soleiling, still looking downfield, poking upright and hitting a tightly covered Shady McCoy perfectly in stride for a miraculous first down. Doing 4-5 things in one play that he allegedly never does once.
Opponents extrapolate the 14-yard completion to Nick O'Leary who went to his knees — likely to cry because he was so wide open — and was stopped a couple yards short of the first down—to say that single play is not only a microcosm of, but everything in the world wrong with Tyrod.
A 14-yard completion off-target by about two feet was said to be his worst play. And they have a demented, hyperbolic, and yet fairly decent and understandable point.
That's how stone-cold crazy and polarizing Tyrod Taylor has become, which was made exponentially worse by the red-hot Peterman Fiasco the previous week.
Will this Sunday against the Pats, and this coming December/January become the winter of our discontent, or will it be dashing through the snow full of holiday cheer?
For Bills fans, prepare for a long, cold snowball fight that nobody may win.
Pete Rosen is a screenwriter in Los Angeles, lifetime Buffalo fan, and may be found blathering daily at twobillsdrive.com.