Well the Buffalo Bills have left Toronto for another year, and now everyone can start debating again about whether or not this is a worthwhile venture. I did not attend the game last year, but this year I was lucky enough to partake.
First and foremost, Windows Restaurant at the Rogers Centre is a fantastic place to watch a game. Being in the Bud Zone had its perks, but what I enjoyed most was the view of the field. Being able to see how plays developed (and fell apart) was a treat. And nothing was better than having Braylon Edwards running in my direction, wide open, and dropping a sure-fire touchdown pass. Having tv’s around to watch replays was also nice, seeing as I was below the video screen.
To me, the Bud Zone had the feel of an NFL game. People sitting/standing around, drinking beers, eating food, and talking football. There were fans of both teams, although easily more Bills’ backers, and even people who could care less for football were having a good time (I’d know, I was with one). It only took until halftime before some Bills fans were threatening to beat the (insert your own term here) out of a Jets fan, and the Jets fan was promptly removed from the scene.
As for the game itself – not a banner presentation. Ryan Fitzpatrick was horrid, and when Kellen Clemens replaced Mark Sanchez in the second half the game became a punting battle. Three players really impressed me however, Marshawn Lynch for the Bills, and Thomas Jones and David Harris for the Jets.
Lynch finished with six carries for 60 yards and a touchdown, but his greatest play was a 35 yard scamper that got the Bills in the red zone. When Lynch was selected 12th overall in the 2007 Draft, he was supposed to be a feature back. Now he’s stuck behind Fred Jackson, but last night he looked ready to re-assume a larger role in the offense. Jones finished with 109 yards on 23 carries, and was pivotal in the second half. Without Sanchez, Jones was able to run all over the Bills defence to keep the clock moving for the Jets.
But the player of the game was David Harris. He was all over the field making plays, including a sack/forced fumble combo in the first half on Ryan Fitzpatrick. He finished with eight solo tackles and three more assisted, and was the key to the Jets stopping the Bills offence.
(I am aware that Darrelle Revis had an interception and several pass deflections, but in my opinion Terrell Owens gave up on a lot of balls so Revis was able to make easier plays)
The only thing missing from my Bills in Toronto experience this year was actually sitting in the stands. From my vantage point, the Rogers Centre looked pretty full – especially in the lower bowl. The crowd seemed pretty into the game, and the marching band in the endzone was a nice touch. So if you were in the stands, please comment and let me know how it was.
With 40% of the Bills in Toronto experiment down the drain, the jury is still out on the feasibility of the NFL in Toronto. But I’m sure of one thing – I’ll be going back next year if I have the chance.
TWO POINT CONVERSION
– can’t wait to see the Minnesota @ Arizona matchup Sunday night. I’m curious to see how Kurt Warner does coming off a head injury against Jared Allen and the rest of the Vikings D
– sorry Titans fans, I think this is the week your luck runs out