There is something a little different about the bye week this year. I can honestly say I am disappointed our boys aren’t playing this weekend. The players and coaches may enjoy the rest and extra week of preparation, but Bills fans throughout Western New York are hungry for immediate satisfaction and most want it now. Nobody expected the 5-3 start after that horrible performance in the preseason. Nobody!  Nobody expected 3 road wins. Nobody! Since Orton went under center he has lead the team and opened up a young offense that needed a spark. With two game winning drives and a blowout in New Jersey, Bills fans could not have asked for more out of the NFL journeyman quarterback. Unfortunately, we all have to wait a week to see how the rest of the story plays out.
The bye week is relatively new by football standards. The seventeen week NFL schedule started during the Bills magical season of 1990. It was a hard pill to swallow those days. All NFL fans were accustom to watching their team play every week, and Bills fans finally had a team that was a part of the national stage. The bye week quickly made us all realize how much we craved that spotlight. That season was already shaping up to be something special. The Bills played the undefeated Raiders (what?!) in week five prior to their first week off. Up until that game I thought the break in the action was a stupid idea. After watching every second of that 4th quarter, I think I needed a week off just as much as the Bills did. The Raiders dominated the trenches and took it to the Bills for three quarters on national television. The Raiders scored again early in the fourth quarter and things didn’t look good. I can still remember thinking the Raiders were really good that day. I also remembered thinking they were going to be even better in two weeks when Bo came back. Imagine worrying about home field advantage during week 5! I started to let doubt creep in and then it happened. Then the magic kicked in as it always did at Rich Stadium. Jimbo throws a bomb to Lofton, James Williams returns a blocked punt for six, and Nate Odoms takes a fumble for 50 yards to close the deal. The Bills come back to win a huge game 38-24 with 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. My dad told us before he left for Sunday Night Football that whoever won this game would most likely host the AFC championship. He was right. That win allowed us all to picture a playoff run that went directly through Orchard Park. The entire city had two weeks to dream about that while getting ready for rest of the magical ride. It was special time. It was great time.
 Having the bye week come directly in the middle of the NFL season makes it easy to breakdown the first half and set goals for the second. Injuries to the backfield will hurt pass protection and take away big play potential. The offensive line needs to use this extra time to figure out some angles and get on the same page. The defense needs to heal up and stay active. Orton has to stay hot. Most importantly, we need to stay hungry. The Bills play seven of their last eight against conference opponents starting with Kansas City. They will play a brutal stretch in December with a visit from Aaron Rodgers on the 14th and three road games.  The stage is literally set. November has to be a big month for the Bills. The Ralph hasn’t been kind but it needs to be in November. Beat the Chiefs and build some momentum for the business trip to Miami. Come home and put another one on the Jets. Send a message to the league with an overdue beat down of Cleveland. Roll into the Holidays with a chip on your shoulder. If you think the first eight weeks were fun just wait until the last four.
Now, when you watch any of the games on Sunday just remember our boys are resting up while Peyton and Brady go at each other. Our line is studying while Jamaal Charles is getting tackled by Calvin Pace over and over and over again. The defense is waiting while Andy Reid plays against one of his old quarterbacks. Be ready for the Chiefs when they come to town and watch how excited this city can get after one game. It all starts on November 9th and it starts for everyone. Use this time to prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster that concludes in Foxboro on December 28th. There isn’t much more else we could have asked for.