After two years of frustrating, dumb losses to the Tennessee Titans, the Buffalo Bills emerged staunchly victorious over a bitter non-division rival. The TItans appeared like they could make the game interesting, but ultimately the Bills’ offense was too strong, and the defense too overpowering to do anything outside of a single drive tonight. This was a resounding win for Buffalo and a sweet victory to have in primetime as their home opener.
As usual we will look at the players who gave the most inspired performance, an aspect of the game that left us inquiring, a coach who requires a better performance, and the part of the game that was most irksome.
Inspire-Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs:
How many players have the connection that these two have? How many players can be targeted play after play and still be unrecoverable? How many players can uncork a 40 yard throw on a rope while just simply drifting away from pressure? How many Quarterbacks can barrel roll over a defender like they’re playing Starfox 64? The answer to those questions is the unrelenting duo of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs.
Allen finished the night early with 317 passing yards, 4 TDs, and a paltry 10 rushing yards. Stefon DIggs finished with an astounding 12 catches for 148 receiving yards and 3 TDs. This duo is simply unstoppable; they are seemingly always in sync, and for two players that are in the top tier for their respective positions, it is scary for NFL defenses to defend against.
The concern for the Bills offense would be what the Bills would have to do without Gabe Davis in the lineup. That question is easy to answer when you have one of the best WRs in the NFL, it must feel almost impossible to defend against a team like the Bills with these two on the field, there is simply too much raw, physical skill, combined with an incredible chemistry that is unrivaled in the NFL.
A shout out to Jake Kumerow, who stepped in tonight in the absence of Gabe Davis and had two excellent catches, and was effective as a run blocker all night.
It’s hard to say anything about Buffalo’s run game considering they dominated so easily in the passing game that it didn’t make sense to lean on the run. But it seemed like the Bills leaned a little more towards Devin Singletary on early downs and non-short yardage down, Zack Moss for short yardage situations, and James Cook came in for a few plays here and there.
Ultimately not too much to complain about, but also not much to get excited for either. It’s possible they simply wanted to go with what was working (which is what good NFL coaches do) but it also raises the question of when the run game will actually begin to get going, and will they actually lean on Singletary or continue a strict rotation of Singletary, Moss, and Cook?
A great win, but a strange night for Sean McDermott’s decision making process.
An early challenge was burned on what appeared to be a very clear catch to setup a Titans’ 4th & 1 near the goal line. Then taking a timeout while seemingly trying to execute a dummy call on 4th & 1 to draw the Titans offsides (which worked, but was negated by the timeout). A 4th & 1 that was botched even before the snap due to miscommunication from the sideline about whether to go for it or not.
For a coach that is rarely unprepared, it seemed like McDermott was trying a bit too hard in some of these circumstances, succumbing to the classic NFL coach problem of overthinking. It ultimately didn’t cost the Bills much of anything other than some frustration, but the decision making process is something that is going to need some questioning and answering on the part of McDermott.
It was hammered all night on the broadcast, and for good reason; the Bills simply sucked on short yardage situations. Didn’t matter if it was a run, or a pass, the Bills could not convert in short yardage situations. On four different occasions, the Bills were in a 3rd & 1 scenario, and they ended with a run for zero yards, two incomplete passes, and a penalty, albeit a very weird one, against Mitch Morse. More than that, had the Titans offense been in sync at all tonight they would have dominated the Bills defense in short yardage, as their interior OL was getting consistently strong movement throughout the game. The defense gets a slight excuse as they were a few men short tonight. The offense however does not. There is simply too much talent, and good coaching to be struggling this much in short yardage situations. Football is a game of inches, and some solutions need to be found to figure out what it takes to get that extra inch or yard.
The Bills’ next game will be their first divisional matchup of the season against the Miami Dolphins who are coming off a dramatic victory against the Baltimore Ravens. Both the Bills and the Dolphins are 2-0 and both teams would love nothing more than to prove who is the team to beat in the AFC East. The game will be in Miami at 1PM, which will be the first time that the Bills will be playing football on a Sunday in 2022. It is certain to be a tough game, but if you want to win the decision, you have to beat the division teams.
The Bills have been fortunate to pick on the AFC East when it’s been relatively weak, but they will face a tough challenge in Miami next Sunday.