Aug 25, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (94) on the sideline during the second half of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Steelers beat the Bills 38-7. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE
Mario Williams and the Buffalo Bills were supposed to take advantage of an inexperienced right tackle in the season opener. Instead, the opening weekend saw New York Jets tackle Austin Howard control Williams from start to finish, leaving Bills fans irritated with the lack of impact. Williams was irritated, too.
"It’s not something that’s really going to dictate something, but what are you going to do about it? You’re getting off the ball and getting punched in the face, literally, not an accident, just about every other time. That’s a penalty. Unless they changed it with the new CBA or something, but last time I checked it was a penalty," said Williams after the game.
Williams didn't stop there when complaining about the referees."You tell somebody from the very beginning of the game and it happens. One time, that’s on me," Williams stated. "But when it’s multiple times and I tell you and you honestly act like you don’t even hear me throughout the whole game, I think that’s a real big problem."
The Bills signed the former Houston Texans top overall pick to a $100 million contract this off-season to jump start the team's pass rush. Buffalo recorded zero sacks and managed little pressure on Mark Sanchez outside of a first drive interception. Williams hit Sanchez one time in the game, per Tim Graham of The Buffalo News.
"Pass blocking doesn't include hands to the face," concluded Williams. "When someone tells the officials that, and they just walk away, or they don't call it, that is disheartening."
On the opposing sideline, Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson spoke to Toronto Sun reporter John Kryk after the game. Both Slauson and Howard were ecstatic about the offensive line's play, and Slauon shared a change in New York's game plan as the game wore on.
"At the start of the game, we were sliding to Austin’s side," Slauson said. "But after a couple of plays, we saw he didn’t need any help. So we just went with normal stuff. Austin did exactly what we expected him to. We expected to not hear his name, or Mario’s name (called over the public address system)."
Head coach Chan Gailey understandably didn't enjoy the defensive showing, as the Bills allowed the second-most points on opening day in team history. (In 1971 they allowed 49 against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys.)
"To summarize it, they were running too wide open and we didn’t get enough pressure on the passer," said Gailey. "We stopped the run pretty good until they ran it some late. We stopped the run for the most part. We’ve just got too many people running too wide open right now and we’re not getting enough pressure on the passer, and that’s something we’re going to address."
But Gailey wasn't burying the Bills yet. It was only one game, after all, and he doesn't want this loss to send the team into a tailspin before their season has even begun.
"We’re not going to go around like the sky is falling," said Gailey. "We’re not going to do that. I’m not going to do that and I’m not going to let them do that. We didn’t show it (Sunday), there were some things that we did better, but overall we didn’t show it. But I think we’ve got a chance to be a good football team before it’s over with. Nobody will change my mind until we get to the end."