As I believe I mentioned in the last post, it’s been quite the week in sports. Thing is, it wasn’t really shaping up that way at first.
Let me back up a bit. On Sunday, I went along on IC Hillel’s pre-Rosh Hashanah apple-picking trip to Littletree Orchards in Newfield. I did this partly because I correctly surmised it would be fun but also partly because the Buffalo Bills were playing the New England Patriots and I wanted to avoid the carnage.
Because that’s what Bills-Patriots games always are, carnage. There was the 2007 game when Vince Wilfork ended J.P. Losman’s career as the Bills’ permanent starting QB. There was the other 2007 game where the Patriots mercilessly blew out the Bills 56-10. And of course there was the 25-24 heartbreaker to start the 2009 season, when the Bills were one muffed punt return by Leodis McKelvin away from winning. That was the first Bills game I saw at IC and easily one of my least favorite sports memories.
True to form, when I texted my mom to check in on the score, she confirmed that the Patriots were crushing the Bills as per usual (not that I knew but they actually raced out to a 21-0 lead). But a funny thing happened by the time I got back to campus: the Bills had reduced the deficit to 31-24 and were driving down the field. Soon after I snuck into Campus Center to watch the game, they tied it on a TD run by “Action” Fred Jackson.
The next thing I knew, Tom Brady was back on the field and on the very first play, Drayton Florence intercepted him and returned it for a g0-ahead TD. At this point, yours truly went absolutely crazy, though nobody in the room seemed to mind. One Wes Welker TD, one near-TD by Jackson and one last second field goal by Rian Lindell later and the improbable had happened: the Bills had finally beaten the team they were destined to always lose to.
After eight years, 15 losses, six different Bills QBs and two different Patriots QBs (counting Matt Cassel), the streak was over. And then things got weirder. The Lions won. The New York Giants won. The Peyton Manning and Kerry Collins-less Indianapolis Colts almost won against the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jets lost to the Raiders, leaving the Bills atop the AFC East.
And then on Wednesday night, the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox pulled the largest late-season collapses in any major sport since the New York Mets were choking away the NL East instead of just losing 80-90 games per year like they do now. Instead, it was the Tampa Bay Rays and St Louis Cardinals clinching postseason berths.
In short, unless you’re a Las Vegas casino or a Boston or Atlanta follower, it’s been a great week to be a sports fan.