Unlike the Bills, Nantz and Romo perform like a No. 1 team - The Buffalo News

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Unlike the Bills, Nantz and Romo perform like a No. 1 team

I was at a Florida airport on my way home Sunday afternoon and was unable to watch the New England Patriots' 23-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills live.

But looking at Twitter as it was played, I felt like I had seen it all before.

Twitter kept me alert to what was happening and warned me about what a "joy" it would be to watch the game later on DVR.

Notably, there weren't many tweets about the performance of CBS' top announcing team, play-by-play man Jim Nantz and rookie analyst Tony Romo. That usually suggests they were doing well, since Twitter usually focuses on mistakes.

Alan Pergament: Unlike the Bills, Romo lived up to the hype

Twitter also made me eager to see many of the things being tweeted about, including the performances of Bills quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Nate Peterman, the overthrow by the Bills' Joe Webb on what could have been a touchdown, a cheap shot by Pats tight end and former Western New Yorker Rob Gronkowski, and a foolish replay challenge by Bills coach Sean McDermott.

Nantz and Romo didn't disappoint addressing all those issues and more.

Like the Patriots, they performed like a No. 1 team.

In the first half, they raised the hopes of Bills fans that a victory might actually be possible before Romo explained in the second half why it wasn't going to happen.

Nantz was a terrific storyteller and asked his partner all the right questions.

Romo has a pleasant, relaxed manner and offers some analysis that may have even expanded the knowledge of armchair fans who think they know everything.

Here are some highs and lows of the broadcast:

Job Security: Nantz was quick to realize that Taylor was injured on the Bills' first drive even though he played into the fourth quarter. CBS' cameras caught Taylor being sent to the medical tent shortly after the game started. "I think it will be really hard to take him off the field," said Nantz. "He is going to do anything to stay on the field." Romo added it was about "job security."

Best Invented Dialogue: When CBS' cameras caught New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady yelling at offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Romo clued fans in about what they were saying to each other. Romo said McDaniels told Brady he missed an open receiver and Tommy Boy said he knew and wasn't happy about being told. "I'm glad it is that civilized," said Nantz.

The Small, 8-Foot Tall Man: Early in the game, Romo slightly  exaggerated by referring to Gronkowski as an 8-foot tall receiver. Near game's end, Romo agreed with Gronkowski's post-game claim that he was interfered with by Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White before White's interception. But Romo looked at the replay of Gronk's cheap shot of White and quickly assessed: "There's a chance he'll get suspended. That was completely not OK." That hit made Gronk look like a very small man even if he was frustrated. It wasn't civilized.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) antagonized the fans by waving his arms and sticking his tongue out as he walked into the tunnel at the end of the game at New Era Field. (James P. McCoy / Buffalo News)

A Tangled Webb: When Webb missed an open Travaris Cadet down the middle, Romo defended the third-string quarterback: "When you only throw one pass it is hard to be perfectly accurate."

A "Dreadful" Moment: When Taylor's pass was intercepted on the Bills' first drive, Nantz called it a "dreadful throw." But Romo noted that Taylor was hit when he threw and added he has to learn how to slide to open spots before throwing.

The Peterman Effect: Since he was a star quarterback in Dallas, Romo's analysis of the Bills quarterback situation was highly anticipated. He was pretty gentle. At game's start, Romo said Taylor was the starter on a "game-to-game" basis. Later, he said he understood McDermott's decision to start Peterman in the game against the Los Angeles Chargers because he must have showed something in practice. However, he added that despite Taylor's flaws, he has "unique" abilities that were illustrated almost simultaneously with his scrambling for a first down. He said Peterman has to learn to make good decisions, which can be a problem when he makes quick decisions as he did when a pass over the middle was almost intercepted.

Best Line: After one of several plays by Eric Lee, who had been on the Bills practice squad a few weeks ago, Nantz cracked at this rate he was going "from Buffalo to New England to Canton" (where the Hall of Fame is located).

Bucky Gleason: Pats' Eric Lee (who?) returns to torment Bills

The Smile: As the game ended, CBS' cameras caught Pats Coach Bill Belichick go over to ex-Bill cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who flashed a big smile rarely seen in his days as a Bill hammered on Twitter.

Buffalove: After Nantz noted that Bills back LeSean McCoy hated the trade from Philadelphia but now loves it here, Romo said: "It is a great place, You can't help but fall in love with this place." Romo reprised that love near game's end when Nantz asked him about his first game in Buffalo as a broadcaster. "I like it. You feel the energy of the crowd … They (fans) were great. Very enjoyable."

Gronk History: Nantz told the story of Gronkowski growing up 20 minutes from the stadium and playing in it for the first time around age 10 when he was in a punt, pass and kick contest.

Lee's History: In an amusing moment, Nantz told how Brady was cheering after Lee made a big play in the previous Patriots possession before asking: "Who is that?" Bills fans probably never heard of him two weeks ago, too.

Challenging Explanation: Romo was quick to note the folly of a replay challenge by McDermott that claimed Brady was down before throwing a pass. Romo noted the quarterback fell after being hit by a teammate and he would have been considered down only if a Bill hit him.

Channeling Jon Gruden: Romo doesn't go as far as ESPN's analyst in tossing out superlatives. However, he praised several people, including Patriot lineman Shaq Mason and the Bills' rookie coach. "McDermott is a great coach," said Romo. "That’s a really good hire."

Judge Tony: Romo repeatedly praised Gilmore for improving since the season's start, adding he is an example of the mistake of judging someone too quickly after he changes teams.

Free Advertising: It was nice to see a change of pace from the freebie the Anchor Bar usually receives to Charlie the Butcher in addressing Buffalo's food. "Forget the wings," said Nantz, before advising people to get Charlie's "signature beef on weck." Full disclosure: I laughed because I stopped off at Charlie's on my way home from the airport. But forget the wings? Never.

Best Sign: A fan in the stands held it. "All I want for Christmas is playoffs." "That's been a Christmas wish here since 1999," said Nantz.

Scratch That: Remember when Bills fans were upset over losing backup back Mike Gillislee? Nantz noted he was a healthy Pats scratch for the fourth straight week.

Trade Secrets: Romo explained that Brady taps the center on the left side several times to try and draw an opponent offsides before placing his hand under center to actually get the snap. Romo didn't predict any plays, but he did tell viewers several times how quarterbacks know whether teams are playing man-to-man or zone defense.

Very Smart Analysis: Romo noted the Bills' "very smart" game plan to stop big pass plays made them vulnerable to the Pats running game. Later, he noted the Bills became more aggressive rushing Brady, which made them vulnerable to the pass. That's very smart analysis.

The Makeup Call: With the Pats ahead, 16-3, Romo said: "I'm pretty sure Brady and McDaniel made up earlier."

Livid is the Word:  Nantz and Romo thought the Pats were unjustly awarded a first down on a bad spot a few plays before a Pats touchdown. "I'm livid if I'm a Buffalo fan or McDermott," said Romo. Bills fans have had plenty of practice.

Separation Anxiety: Romo defended Taylor by noting that he doesn't have many receiving weapons. "They need to get guys to create some separation," said Romo. "Not a lot of people helping him."

Poor Tom: Nantz told the story of Brady having to chart plays as a fourth-string rookie quarterback in 2000 when he made his first appearance in Buffalo on a day so "cold and rainy" that his hands froze and he couldn't chart anymore. C'mon. Like it doesn't get cold and rainy in New England.

Sympathy for the Devil: No, not Brady, Belichick or Gronk. When Nantz jokingly said of Lee "allow me to introduce myself again" after another pressure on Taylor, Romo started singing the lyric and added he knew it was on Nantz 's play list. I'm pretty sure Romo was referring to the Rolling Stones song. One thing is for sure: Every Bills fan knows "you can't always get what you want."

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