The Buffalo Bills' 2019 season is over after dropping a 22-19 overtime decision to the Houston Texans on Saturday in the AFC Wild Card Round at NRG Stadium.
Let’s get to the last Arrows of the season:
In 1993, there was The Comeback.
In 1999, it was The Music City Miracle.
I’m not sure what this one is going to be called, but, once again, the Bills and an organization from Houston (where the Titans came from just a few years before the 1999 game) played a wild Wild Card playoff game that will be remembered for years. For the second straight time, not positively for Bills fans. The 24-year payoff win drought will continue, at least, for one more season, and this one will be remembered for a long time.
The Bills had a season that exceeded expectations for many. They had a lot of success and great times that shows they are going to be a team to deal with for the foreseeable future.
However, they also should have won this game, and everyone knows it. They blew a 16-point lead, couldn’t finish off a team they were better than, made too many critical mistakes, and now will have to sit with it for an entire offseason. This one is going to hurt fans and the organization for a long time.
In the locker room after the game, there was no talking about what a good season they had. There was no settling for just getting into the playoffs and saying how nice it was. There was anger, frustration, and disappointment that they didn’t win a game they should have, and rightfully so.
They can't go back and replay the game, or change the outcome. All they can do is think about what happened at NRG Stadium, figure out why it happened, do what they can to fix it, and come back next year ready to take another step, because as much as this one hurts, they are in position to do just that.
General manager Brandon Beane has really set this franchise up to have a great chance for plenty of success. After winning 10 games and making the playoffs, the Bills will now go into the offseason with about $90 million in salary cap space and nine draft picks through seven rounds in this year’s draft. They also have a very young nucleus of players at key positions, such as quarterback, linebacker, left tackle, and running back.
Over the next couple months, we’ll talk a lot about free agency and who the Bills can and should sign. Then we’ll talk about the draft and who they should take. It’s the circle of life in the NFL. The difference is this year we’ll be doing it a bit later than we’ve been used to, and we’ll also be talking about higher expectations that will now come with all of it.
Saturday was, and will be tough to take for many reasons. Fans will be hurting, but hurting because of a loss means that the game mattered. That’s a lot better than not mattering because there were no playoffs, and because the expectations are changing.
Every week I write this column after the game. I always start with the Arrows pointing up after a win and down after a loss. I got to start with the Ups 10 times, and the Downs only seven, including this one. That’s been good and fun. Reading your feedback on Twitter, whether agreeing or disagreeing with me, has been a fun ride, too.