Bills make statement, run over Rams in NFL season opener, 31-10

09/09/2022
DB+

The Buffalo Bills have made their opening statement for the 2022 NFL season, and it was a big one. Traveling to Los Angeles to play the defending Super Bowl champions, the Bills throttled the Rams in a 31-10 victory. The Bills showed exactly why they are the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl this year and made a huge statement to the rest of the NFL that they are unequivocally the team to beat in 2022. The roster that this team has put together is almost incomprehensibly strong in all three phases and is being led by one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL. 

Simply put? The Bills are who we thought they were.

And they weren’t about to let the Rams off the hook.

As is tradition with this post-game recap, we’re going to take a look at the most inspiring aspect of this game, a decision that left us inquiring, a position group that requires a better performance moving forward, and the most irksome part of the game for the Bills.

Inspire – The stars, Von, Diggs, and Josh:

Holy. Moly. Josh Allen is who we remember him being: a superstar QB that’s becoming damn near impossible to defend (26/31, 297 yards passing, with 3 TDs, combined with 10 rushing attempts for 56 yards a TD). Von Miller was precisely as advertised, disrupting the Rams’ game plan all night, throwing his masterful ghost move multiple times on a single play to get a sack and showing relentless pursuit all night, finishing with two sacks, and three TFLs. Stefon Diggs had a difficult matchup on paper against Jalen Ramsey, but he made Ramsey pay all night long, beating him short and deep, not letting the relentless trash talker get in his mind as he finished the night with eight catches on nine targets, including a 53-yard TD. Ramsey allowed a passer rating of 158.3 when targeted – a perfect score for a quarterback.

The greatest edge rusher of the past decade still has the juice. The greatest QB of his supposedly loaded draft class is getting better every year. One of the best route runners in the NFL is cooking one of the best corners in the NFL. The stars of this team are performing at incredible levels and it is a joy to see.

They were certainly not the only ones though, as returning Bills DT Jordan Phillips also had one-and-a-half sacks, and last year’s top two draft selections (Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham) each notched a sack for themselves. In addition, Gabe Davis had a couple of big plays including the opening score, and Devin Singletary ran hard all night and was easily the most consistent back all game long.

Inquire – Khalil Shakir:

The Bills’ initial depth chart coming out of the preseason and cutdowns had Khalil Shakir as the starting punt returner. Against the Rams, Shakir wasn’t just relieved of his punt return duties, he was inactive altogether. After a very strong preseason as a receiver and solid play as a punt returner, it was surprising that the Bills decided to inactivate him. It may be he was simply a victim of numbers (wanting more coverage players on special teams) and the team felt comfortable enough with veteran Jamison Crowder as both a receiver and returner.

Require – Running backs (not named Devin Singletary):

The Bills wanted more out of the running back room. The Bills used their second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Georgia running back James Cook to provide a spark in the passing game. In his first NFL play, Cook fumbled and received very few subsequent after his turnover. Zack Moss played relatively well, showing some signature contact balance and physicality on his runs and consistent hands… until he promptly fumbled the ball while the Bills were trying to run out the clock. Singletary played extremely well all night and deserves to get the majority of touches moving forward, but the other RBs need to play much more consistently and have to secure the ball. 

Irk – Turnovers:

Quite possibly the most obvious thing of note from this game for the Bills to work on is turnovers. A flukey INT off a McKenzie attempt at a double catch was tough, but not awful. James Cook’s fumble and Josh Allen’s second INT where he seemed a bit late in getting the throw to Jamison Crowder over the middle were the most problematic turnovers. The Bills won this game by 21 points, an incredibly impressive feat in Week 1 against the Super Bowl champions. The reality is that it should have been by much more, and while the Rams are, and will remain, a tough team to contend with throughout the regular season, they were clearly not ready to take advantage of four turnovers from their defense. Not every team the Bills face will only get 10 points from four turnovers. Protecting the ball is a must moving forward, especially against a very opportunistic Titans defense coming up on Monday Night Football.

As was just mentioned, the Bills have their next game on a Monday Night doubleheader, at 7:15 PM. The Titans are a bit of a mystery team this year as their offense needs Derrick Henry to return to form and rookie Treylon Burks to step up and assume the role that AJ Brown has left after his trade to Philadelphia (coincidentally also playing on Monday Night). 

The Bills could have been better tonight, but honestly, not by much. A relentless defense and a smart, creative, multiple offense gave way to a stellar performance and a key victory. The Bills are off to a hot start in the 2022 NFL season.

 

1 Comment

  1. Michelle McGovern

    Nice job David!