People can argue all they want about whether or not the Bills are for real, whether they’re the team that started 5-2 or the one that lost four of five or something in between, but everyone could agree on this and perhaps only this: It has been a weirdly entertaining football season in Buffalo.
Let's remember that the Bills were a borderline penalty on a two-point conversion, in a crapshoot game in the snow, from losing to the Colts last week. They would have been in deep trouble if they lost to the Dolphins on Sunday in New Era Field with a road game against the Patriots waiting for them next week.
And now after their 24-16 victory over the Dolphins in the home finale? Well, with the Bills 8-6 for the third time during the postseason slump and two games remaining this year, it's still not clear.
The game Sunday was yet another example of not knowing what to expect on a given week. Miami's defense dominated last Monday against Tom Brady and the Patriots before the Bills pushed them around Sunday. Buffalo looked like a playoff team while building a 21-6 lead at halftime.
If we've learned anything over the years, it's to never expect too much. The Bills have shown a propensity for caving when the standings get tight, buckling under the weight of the drought and their long and sordid history. They have been in good shape many times before crumbling like a bag of sugar.
How many fans out there can imagine the Bills needing a win in the season finale and losing to the same Miami team they dominated Sunday?
The Bills have shown this season they can beat any team in the league, but they are plenty capable of falling on their faces. And the Patriots, despite their hiccup against the Dolphins after winning eight straight, are still the class of the division.
And yet there's hope because, well, there's always hope in Buffalo.
It's hard to fathom New England losing at home to Buffalo with playoff position on the line. Miami was in ruins Sunday, but it's the same team that managed to climb back into postseason contention. The Bills were a mess in November before they collected themselves and resembled a respectable team.
The vast majority of teams have been inconsistent this year, which has made for a fun and entertaining year on a strange level. Heaven knows how many seasons were over in Buffalo before reaching December regardless of what the math suggested. They showed up ready to play Sunday.
You had to believe the Bills were amped up while feeding off their veteran leader, Kyle Williams, knowing it could be his final home game after 12 NFL seasons. He has watched hundreds of players and coaches come and go during his career. He has been through an ownership change. He also has never played a postseason game.
Williams' future remains uncertain after this season. At age 34, he showed signs of wear during the second half of the season. He'll be a free agent after the season and may not want to come back. The Bills may continue restructuring their roster without him. Everybody in the stadium knew as much Sunday.
If the Bills somehow wiggle through all the scenarios and end this dreadful playoff drought, they can thank LeSean McCoy. He has been their best player since he arrived, and he helped make the difference Sunday. He surpassed 10,000-yards rushing on a 14-yard run in the second quarter and gave the Bills a 14-6 lead when he made a nice catch over his shoulder for a 16-yard touchdown.
The Bills scored on the opening drive after marching 81 yards against the Dolphins, which made you wonder how Miami pummeled New England. The Bills made it look easy, too, after Tyrod Taylor avoided a sack and extended a play that resulted in a third-down pass to McCoy and finding Nick O'Leary for a 25-yard gain.
Miami settled for a 28-yard field goal after Kenyan Drake carried the Dolphins deep into Bills' territory with a 31-yard run. Cody Parkey kicked a 41-yarder after the Dolphins drive down the field after starting from their own 8. Drake had 53 yards rushing in the first quarter and net-zero yards in the second and third quarters.