When a football team runs for over 200 yards in a given game, they're going to have opportunities to make big plays down the field almost by default. The Buffalo Bills had three such opportunities, of the golden variety, in Sunday's 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens - and only hit one of them.
Flip through the gallery above for a detailed look at a picturesque 42-yard touchdown pass from EJ Manuel to Robert Woods. Continue for a very similar route combination in the fourth quarter that left Woods nearly as open, but had a much different result on what could have been an outcome-altering play. Finally, flash back to the second quarter, when Manuel overshot a wide open Stevie Johnson down the right sideline on an equally frustrating missed opportunity.
We learned two things - or, at minimum, had two things re-affirmed to us - about the Bills' offense on Sunday. One: they have to run the football well to succeed. Two: in more than just this phase of the offense, the Bills are agonizingly close to being very good. Things are not quite in sync yet.
The biggest concern, of course, is the fact that Manuel has struggled to sense pressure, move within it and maintain technique in the face of it. He had the cleanest pocket he'll ever see on his touchdown to Woods, but also created pressure for himself on the interception and made a bad throw while taking a hit on the long incompletion. As you would expect out of a talented rookie quarterback, Manuel has been deadly this season when not under pressure - but his play deteriorates drastically when there are defenders bearing down on him.
Still, we know the Bills are going to keep running the football - and if they do it well, we'll see many more opportunities down the field like we saw on Sunday.