I might have written this before, but in Barry Sanders’ heyday, my friend and I used to sorta-kinda joke (while being sorta-kinda serious) that the Lions only needed one play in their entire playbook: “Give the ball to Barry.”

First and 10? Give the ball to Barry. Fourth and inches? Give the ball to Barry. Third and 18? Give the ball to Barry. He truly was THAT good.

The Lions handed out gifts to the opponent each time such luminaries as Charlie Batch, Erik Kramer, Rodney Peete, etc., faded back to pass. “Thank you,” said the defense, every single time they saw the QB fade back.

Coach Wayne Fontes and others used Barry, but not nearly enough. He did the opponent a favor when he put the game in the hands of Kramer and the others, instead of Barry.

And that is a lesson that Mike McDaniel has one more day to learn. He has to figure out, on Saturday January 7, who his stars are. And with all do respect, it’s not Raheem Mostert or Trent Sherfield or certainly not Skylar Thompson. It is Tyreek Hill, with an honorable mention to Jalen Waddle.

Our game plan MUST feature those guys prominently, or the season is over.

I have a good feeling that the Bills will dismantle New England. So our season comes down to can we beat the Jets and 79-year old QB Joe Flacco, who hasn’t taken a snap in months.

While the play of Thompson will be crucial, the play-calling of McDaniel will be even more important. Will he design 90% of his plays to get the ball to Hill? He should. Feed Hill until he breaks. Then feed Waddle.

In addition to being inaccurate last Sunday, Thompson’s shortcomings included not really knowing the situation. Bizarre as it sounds, a professional QB played with no urgency. He threw 2-yard checkdown passes on third and long and fourth and long with our season on the line. Yes, there is a time when a 3-yard gain is nice, but not with so much at stake so late. He seemed lost out there.

So the key is not to ask Thompson to win the game. Ask him to pitch or toss or lob or hand the ball to Tyreek Hill early and often. Wildcats, motions, trick plays, laterals. Whatever it takes, give the ball to Hill.

If we do that, I think we have a chance. The Jets won’t lay down for us. No pro athlete does that. But if we throw an array of Hill and Waddle at them, we can get them thinking about the golf course early and start coasting. A big if, but it’s all we have to hope for,


  1. Let’s just hope after the ridiculous rules changes made on the fly by the league that the bills still feel a desire to win Sunday. They may just say screw it we’ll take the neutral field. But the patsies are so bad hopefully emotion will take over and they’ll play for their fallen soldier.

    Maybe the Jets will realize it’s better to have the Fins in than the hated patsies but they’re too stupid I think. They’ll then whine how do the patsies get in every year thanks for nothing…

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      Depending on when the games end and if the Bills are scoreboard watching… If the Dolphins win before the Bills game is over, the Bills will have a choice, because they’ll be the #2 seed, and their opponent will be either Miami or the Pats. If the Bills want to play NEP in the playoffs, they let the Pats win. If they want to play Miami, they try hard to beat the Pats. Or if they see the Dolphins have lost, the Bills have their choice of facing the Steelers or the Pats.
      Either way, the Bills have this unprecedented option of choosing their own playoff opponent!
      And considering that Miami barely lost in Buffalo 3 weeks ago, I bet they don’t want to see us again.
      So the Bills will lose on purpose and ensure they face New England.

      1. Author

        I just saw this odd scenario on the Bills’ website, where the Dolphins can make the playoffs with a LOSS. I have not seen this on any other site. Although a Bills website might not be trustable:
        Miami wins a tie in this scenario: Patriots loss to Bills + Dolphins loss to Jets + Steelers loss to Browns + Jaguars win over Titans

        1. I haven’t seen that scenario but it does seem logical however improbable. I do think that the Bills would rather Miami especially if Tua’s out over Baltimore or LAC. They may not get the patsies with a loss and Cincinnati win. Plus they now know they don’t get that second game now so one game to win only and at home how do you lay an egg heading into the playoffs?

          1. Author

            I would think that Tua is better by next week, and the Bills must wonder that as well. I’d MUCH rather take my chances against Hack Jones in a playoff game than against Tua, who damn near beat them a few weeks ago.
            If the Bills lose tomorrow, they have the built-in excuse ready about how they were distracted over the Hamlin situation.

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            Also, I didn’t realize this until just now, but the Bengals cannot achieve the number one seed nor a first-round bye. They screwed themselves by quitting a game, at home, in which they already had the lead.

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      McDaniel and Jets coach Robert Saleh are friends, And you would think that Saleh (or anyone on earth) would love to bounce Bill Belichick and send him home. But you never know. Not that the Jets will lay down, but Saleh may put some scrubs into the game since they have nothing to lose and it’s the last game. He will probably try fake punts too this time of year.

    3. Author

      The Bills screwed themselves out of the first-round bye and #1 seed. Yes, the injury was serious, but Hamlin was already revived and alive (not fully healthy, of course, but they all knew he was alive) when he left the field and the Bills decided to skip the rest of the game. Like you, they figured the NFL will let them resume the game tomorrow. Nope!
      The Bengals then screwed themselves by not taking the field and warming up. In a sign of union solidarity, the Bengals agreed to quit the game as well.
      The Chiefs are screwed (and the Bills benefit from this) because if they all win out, the Chiefs are the #1 seed…but they don’t get to host the AFC Title game. That is what Buffalo wanted all along. They don’t want to play in KC in the playoffs ever again, and the NFL has said, “Ok Buffalo. You walked out in the middle of a game. As ‘punishment,’ you do not get to play in Kansas City this year.”

  2. IMHO, the key to our offensive success is not T-Hill.
    It is Waddle (see last Bills game)
    He opens up opportunities for T-Hill and gets big chunks on re

    We also need Mostert running game (again, see last Bills game). He is really good at finding those seams for big gains. We also need him for the safety pass plays for our 3rd string Skylar. Mr. Irrelevant Brock benefits from those pass plays greatly with McCaffrey

    Good luck tomorrow!

  3. Honestly-why are we punishing ourselves thinking this team with the QB lineup will get them anything more than a one and done in playoffs? They don’t deserve to make playoffs, they aren’t playoff ready. The conversation needs to be what are they going to do about the QB situation for next season. If this team doesn’t get a good QB, it will never succeed. They haven’t since Marino.

    1. Author

      Well, one and done is better than none and none. Remember, the Dolphins are really really young. A team full of 23, 24, 25 year olds going up against veteran teams who’ve been together for years. We’re still a team who has had to learn a new offense 4 years in a row, and we still see that weekly. I just look forward to next year, when we will be more used to the offense and not need to call timeouts because a few guys don’t understand the call. As of now, you can see they are still learning.
      I say we keep the QB as is with Tua, but get a better backup. Teddy made 2 relief appears and blew 2 games with costly interceptions. Nothing you can do about injuries. Nothing you can do when we are forced to play our 5th and 6th-string DBs against snipers like Rodgers and Allen. McDaniel has been good in spurts, but overall I think he’s failed as a leader. Let’s see what year two brings. Meanwhile, Brian Daboll and Doug Pederson took teams with far less talent and got them to the playoffs.
      So, yes, we may be one and done, but just getting there would be valuable experience.

      1. I agree that the playoff experience for this young group would be very good for them. Sign or draft a better backup qb to compete with Tua next year and get back those injured players. You will see a big improvement.

        Go Fins! Kick some jet asses!

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    And as the games unfolded yesterday, I keep shaking my head because of the unfair, massive advantage the NFL did for Buffalo.
    After the Bills walked out of the Bengal game, and as a result of the NFL’s scramble to figure all of this out, the Bills were left with the chance to still be the #1 seed if KC lost yesterday. (They didn’t lose), but still, the Bills could have unfairly gotten the #1 without having beaten the Bengals. That was the NFL’s first gift to Buffalo.
    Okay, fine. KC won. Now KC is #1. Now the NFL’s second gift to Buffalo is that they don’t have to play in KC. If they both advance, the Bills “at” Kansas game would be someplace neutral. The Chiefs lose home-field advantage because the Bills walked out in the middle of a game.
    And the poor Bengals!? They have the lead and are driving vs. the Bills, and then the whole world stopped. When the world starting spinning again, the Bengals were told they may have to rely on a coin flip to see where their “home” game is played.
    How is the NFL’s ruling fair to anyone except the Bills? Fair is an understatement. The Bills actually benefit from the unfairness to the other teams.

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