Southtowns Clowns eke out a dub

I think I’m just as shocked as you are, but the Clowns managed to weasel their way to victory over the ALB Men of Mayhem by 5.2 points. It was the team’s second win of the season, bumping their record to 2-1 overall.

--- Pregame politics ---

After Donald Trump made headlines on Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday decrying NFL players who kneel or sit for the national anthem, tension was high at One Clowns Circle and across the league. After an emotionally-charged, late-night team meeting Saturday, players, coaches, and management felt it prudent to voice their displeasure at such abrasive and abusive comments from the president. After management released a brief statement of support for the players on Twitter prior to kickoff on Sunday, Several players knelt or stood with their arms linked to demonstrate that they supported the fight against racially-based injustice in the criminal justice system.

And then they played football.

--- An over-performing bench ---

Wow. It’s hard to leave 90 points on the bench. It’s even harder to leave 90 points on the bench in a losing effort, but here we are, and I’m going to Monday Morning Quarterback this guy’s lineup to shreds.

First, Cam Newton over Kirk Cousins? I know Washington was playing the Raiders, but Cousins was born to play big. Newton’s not bad by any stretch, but we all knew he was headed for another bad week after breaking out the dab in a 9-3 win in Week Two.

'Dab' spelled backwards is 'bad.'

I would’ve started Le’Veon Bell over Carlos Hyde 10 times out of 10. But I would have never started Bilal Powell over Hyde too, especially with the Jets in full-on tank mode this season. And yet, the Jets got the win and Bell did a solid job. But that Thursday Night shootout proved to be just a missed opportunity for the MOM and that’s all you can really say.

How better for Jets fans to embrace tank mode than by sporting this awesome tank?
Is this 2009? It must be, because somehow the Raiders and Broncos both wound up hitting the road and delivering absolute clunkers while earning boatloads of cash. And it cost the MOM dearly. 0.6 points from Amari Cooper? 0.6? While Stefon Diggs goes Scandinavian on the Bucs for almost 30? Even Kenny Britt scored more than any of his starting wideouts. Woof.

Nothing to say about Gronk, considering he’s the only tight end on the team, and a very reliable one when healthy.

Rough day all around for his defense and special teams. Boswell only kicked him four points in Nashville, and the Pats gave up far too many points to make their win helpful for him. But at least he started them and not the Bucs.

--- Clownin’ around ---

Tyrod was solid. Scramblin’ to find completions and posting 200-plus with a pair of tuddies. I didn’t watch the game so I can’t tell you if I thought he played well or not, but I hear he could have should have had more completions if he was more accurate with his throws (this seems to be a recurring theme).

62 rushing yards from the team’s top two backs is inexcusable. And it’s the second week in a row they put up miserable numbers. Plain and simple, I could have roasted the MOM had the ground game not held us back.

I’d love it if the receivers combined long throws with touchdowns on the same plays. Andre Holmes catching two-yard TDs is fine and all, but it really wastes the effort when a 31-yard pass to Nick O’Leary isn’t supplemented by equally-impressive numbers from the starting wide receivers.

The defense did its job and sealed the deal with a couple of takeaways in the second half. Props to them for doing their job.

And then there’s the kicker. Stephen Hauschka shouldn’t necessarily be the top scorer, but any time you want to put 19 points up, I’ll be happy to take them.

--- Reaction in a gif ---

Actual footage of Broncos receivers on Sunday.

--- Next time out ---

It’s going to be a rough go all around. The Bills head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, where no road team has won a game yet, in any sport. The Falcons won their regular-season debut over the Packers in Week Two (despite dropping both preseason games, but those never count) and Atlanta United has a five-game unbeaten streak (four wins, one draw) dating back to September 10. All in all, the Bills will need to take the home crowd out of it early if they want to have a chance.

Meanwhile, the Clowns will be facing a stiff test, as Aaron Rodgers will be putting Team 10’s undefeated mark on the line. Team 10 looks strong on both sides of the ball, with players like Tarik Cohen and T.Y. Hilton coming off big weeks while the Jaguars defense will almost certainly be replaced for their bye after playing lights out in London.

--- Prediction ---

In Atlanta and facing Aaron Rodgers? Two things you do NOT want to hear. Team 10 wins handily, 99 to 50.

Editor's Note: Matt Birt is a former Buffalo Bills employee and possibly a future one as well.

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