When the 2016 Buffalo Bills schedule came out, the first thing I did was circle the Bills - Ravens game. As a resident of Baltimore for the past 16 years, this game meant more to me than any other Bills game, mainly because of the constant ridicule I get from Ravens fans.
I immediately hopped on the computer and purchased tickets to the game, and started to plan what I called "The Most Electrifying Tailgate in Tailgating History." I reached out to my friends and friends from Buffalo that will be making the drive to see the game.
The atmosphere at M&T Bank Stadium was electrifying. Bills fans represented well as they flooded the parking lots, chanting our signature chant. I was impressed as fans came out in droves as they showed Ravens fans how to really tailgate. Music was blaring and you can smell the barbeque in the air. I had the pleasure to meet up with some Bills fans that I know from the Twiterverse and here at Buffalo Rumblings. We had a great time partying, talking football, and eating some good food and drinking some "grown-up" juice.
Heading into the stadium the Ravens fans were pretty optimistic, I guess that's not much of a surprise considering it was opening day and they were playing a team that's had zero success for the past 16 years. Nonetheless, the fans were pretty nice, and outside the occasional jeering, it was a pretty calm and mild crowd.
As far as the actually performance on the field goes, my perception of the game might be a little different from those who viewed it at home. I had a full-field view, which is a nicer way of saying my seats were crappy, nonetheless I saw enough to determine that the game plan on offense was vanilla. My thoughts after the game was recalling Rex press conference when he said the practice wasn't as crisp as it needed to be. Immediately, most of us thought that he was referring to the defense since Buffalo's defense has been the topic of conversation all off-season, and Rex hardly ever talks about the offense in those terms. It was clear to me that the offensive game plan was a bit basic and remedial. In my opinion this was due to the fact that the offensive starters hasn't really played much since Week 2 of the preseason. McCoy couldn't get into a rhythm in the run game because he and the offensive line didn't play much together in the preseason. Taylor and Watkins really never established a rhythm, which hurt the passing game.
I think the focus going in to the game was to not suffer any more injuries, thus the reason for a lot of the conservative play calls and the max-protection sets. Once Glenn went down with his ankle injury, I think the offense packed it in.
On defense, I didn't get a chance to see the first and only touchdown, and retrospect I'm glad that I didn't. But what I eventually saw from the highlights, is that a wide receiver of Mike Wallace speed was one on one against a safety, and the Bills only rushed three. That only happens if it was a blown coverage somewhere, or a missed call. If the defensive calls and alignment is still being handled mostly by the safeties on defense, not having Aaron Williams in there and having Duke Williams instead, could be the reason why that touchdown was scored. Once again, Rex erred on the side of caution, started Duke rather than Aaron to protect him from injury, and the Ravens were able to jump out to a 10-0 lead early in the game.
I don't think what we saw yesterday was indicative of the team that we will see for the rest of the season, as I believe it's going to take a week or two for this team to reach it's stride on offense. I also believe that defense will improve as well. The question is whether we fans can hang on that long, as our patience with this team, general manager, coach is razor thin.