Well, that was embarrassing.
The Buffalo Bills traveled to Maryland only to be trounced on opening day by the Baltimore Ravens, losing 47-3 in what was the worst first-game loss in team history. The Bills did not manage a single first down in the first half, and their quarterbacks combined for fewer passing yards (98) than the team had penalty yards assessed against it (100). Yeah, it was that kind of day.
Each week, we provide a look at five players to watch during the upcoming week’s game, and this week, we couldn’t have guessed that one of those players would not even suit up for the contest. Although, upon further review, it might have been better if at least one other player on the list didn’t play in the game, either.
Here is a look at how our five Bills to watch performed on Sunday.
CB Vontae Davis
Davis wasn’t a Bill to watch, instead serving as a Bill who watched during this one. Davis was a healthy scratch on the afternoon, ceding the starting snaps to Phillip Gaines. Rookie Taron Johnson then manned the slot. Davis watched as Gaines allowed touchdown receptions to John Brown and Michael Crabtree in the first half, and when Johnson left the game with a shoulder injury, head coach Sean McDermott turned to safety Rafael Bush as his slot corner.
QB Nathan Peterman
Peterman completed 5 of his 18 passes, totaling 24 yards, and he added 2 interceptions on the day, which mercifully ended in the third quarter. When accounting for the 3 sacks Peterman took, losing 12 yards, he netted 12 yards passing. On his career, Peterman is now 29-for-67 (43%) with 2 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. His career quarterback rating is 25.7 after yesterday’s goose-egg. He has yet to complete a game he has started, having left two due to poor performance and one due to injury. After a stellar preseason, Peterman once again flopped when the game mattered.
WR Zay Jones
It’s difficult to evaluate a receiver when his quarterbacks struggled so mightily in doing anything, but Jones had the best day of any Buffalo receiver. That’s not saying much, but it is saying something. Jones caught 3 of his 6 targets for a team-high 26 yards receiving. All other Buffalo receivers combined for 4 catches and 31 yards on 12 targets. If Jones can provide whomever the starting quarterback is next week with a solid option, he can help to turn the offense around.
DE Trent Murphy
Unfortunately, Buffalo’s pass rush looked a lot like it did last year. Joe Flacco had eons to throw, moving the pocket and using his athleticism to elude would-be tacklers in the pocket on the rare occasions when Buffalo did provide any sort of pressure. Murphy made one tackle, and he was also credited with a half-sack in garbage time against rookie Lamar Jackson. Murphy displayed a good motor throughout the day, and he looked like an upgrade on the outside over Shaq Lawson. However, his presence did not instantly pay dividends in the game, as Buffalo had only one “sack” when the Ravens had their starters in the game. (Flacco fell down at the line of scrimmage and was touched by rookie Tremaine Edmunds for a loss of around a foot.)
C Ryan Groy
Buffalo’s offensive line was as-advertised yesterday. They could not open holes in the running game, as Baltimore stacked the box and played press-man on the outsides, daring Peterman to beat them with physical tools he doesn’t possess and receiving weapons that aren’t on the roster. As a result, the quarterbacks were under constant duress, and when they did have some time it was because Baltimore had locked up all of Buffalo’s receivers, leading to an eventual hit on the quarterback as he stepped up in the pocket. It was not a good day for anyone wearing blue, and Groy might not have been the worst offensive lineman on the field for the Bills, but he did not have a great debut as the team’s official starting center.