Fall means football and the Bills looked poised to give the Patriots a run for their money in the AFC east after an impressive win against the Colts in Week 1. The Bills followed that performance with a close loss to the Pats at home, an utter squishing of the fish at Sun Life Stadium, an uninspired loss against the Giants, a close win at the Titans and a loss to the Bengals at home. Standing at a respectable 3-3, the Bills have been decimated by injury and are still very much in the hunt for their first playoff berth since 1999.
A large part of their success has been the emergence of Tyrod Taylor. So far, T-Mobile has thrown nine touchdowns and run for two more. While LeSean McCoy was touted as the premier back entering the season, rookie Karlos Williams has shown why the Bills took him in the fifth round this year. Similarly, Williams’ Florida State teammate Ronald Darby has more than earned his keep by notching two interceptions on the year.
The Sabres’ season started on Oct. 1 but the Jack Eichel era was officially ushered in on Oct. 8 as the young phenom potted the first of many soon-to-be highlight reel goals against the Ottawa Senators. Two games later, he gathered an up-for-grabs puck, managed to keep it in the zone, worked his way around the defender on the left side and launched a pinpoint perfect shot into the top corner.
While the team once again occupies the basement of the Atlantic Division, the play of Eichel and others give hockey fans in Western New York hope that the team is headed in the right direction. Games have been noticeably more competitive, not to mention entertaining, and it’s only a matter of time before all the new pieces of GM Tim Murray’s team start to click. In addition to Eichel, Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian and Cody Franson put on Sabres sweaters for the first time and join a young but talented group of Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Ristolainen. Veterans Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson and Brian Gionta round out the lineup for new head coach Dan Bylsma.
One name and position absent from the list above is Robin Lehner. The big goalie was injured in the first game of the season and is likely out for the next two months. Taking his place in the crease is journeyman Chad Johnson who has shown that he can play quite well in small stretches.