Buffalo Bills Studs and Duds: Week 1 vs. Ravens


It was ugly. The Bills’ season opener was a disaster, and we already see overreactions all around the web. National media guys who picked the Bills as the worst team in the NFL are looking like geniuses after this week one performance. But despite a lot of bad (truly awful) things, the Bills had few bright spots. Here are the team’s studs and duds in the awful loss at Baltimore:


LB Lorenzo Alexander

The veteran strongside linebacker had a strong showing against the Ravens. Zo finished the day with 6 tackles, second best on the team. Pro Football Focus had him earning an 86.5 overall grade, best on the defense, not missing any tackles and playing well in coverage. Alongside the other two linebackers, Alexander was a bright spot on a defense who struggled all day long.

QB Josh Allen

His stat line (6/15 for 74 yards, four rushes for 26 yards) doesn’t tell the whole story, and it looks like it’ll always be this way with the Wyoming product. Since being inserted in the game, Allen was looking to move the chains on every play, not settling for short passes and trying to make something happen with his arm or legs. He earned a 73.3 PFF overall grade, team-best on offense. Allen made it clear he gives the Bills their best chance to win, and I’m sure his veteran teammates are already embracing him as the starter, at least internally. I don’t see head coach Sean McDermott keeping him on the bench for long after what we saw from both QBs last Sunday.

Honorable mention: LB Tremaine Edmunds, LB Matt Milano, RB/KR Marcus Murphy


WR Kelvin Benjamin

Entering his contract season, Benjamin was unimpressive in the first game of the season. He wasn’t helped by QB Nathan Peterman early, but he also couldn’t make plays when opportunities arose, like a huge dropped pass in the endzone, thrown by Allen, which hit him right on the numbers. His overall body language was awful all game long, and PFF gave him the lowest receiving grade among Bills WRs with a 42.1, finishing the day with one catch on seven targets. Benjamin is the Bills’ top receiving threat; he needs to be way better than he was Sunday.

CB Phillip Gaines

Gaines earned the surprising start over veteran Vontae Davis but couldn’t deliver. The former Chief was targeted by Ravens QB Joe Flacco early and often, getting beat by Michael Crabtree and John Brown consistently. After rookie Taron Johnson’s injury and safety Rafael Bush emerging as another weak link playing out of position at the nickel CB spot, the Ravens started to take advantage of Willie Snead in another mismatch against Gaines. Coach McDermott will need to reconsider his decision of benching Davis since it became clear opponents are going to target Gaines on every opportunity they get.

Honorable mention: RG John Miller, RT Jordan Mills, LG Vlad Ducasse