Two weeks into the 2018 NFL season, and the Buffalo Bills (0-2) appear to be a flawed team on offense, with a defense that has (for the most part) struggled to keep opposing offenses off the scoreboard.
The disturbing trends from Week 1’s blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens carried over into Sunday’s home opener as the Bills dropped a 31-20 decision to the Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) at New Era Field.
Buffalo Rumblings podcast host John Boccacino is joined by co-host Anthony Marino to dissect the Bills loss to Chargers in a game that served as rookie Josh Allen’s first-career NFL start.
Much like the Week 1 debacle, there is plenty of criticism to go around, starting with the play of the defense, which allowed three straight touchdowns en route to a 28-6 halftime deficit.
The good news for the Bills? Once head coach Sean McDermott took over defensive play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in the second half, the Bills defense seemed to adjust and made improvements against a potent Chargers offense.
For whatever reason, with McDermott calling the plays, the pass rush came to life, the Chargers’ running backs were bottled up, and quarterback Philip Rivers both had less time to find open targets, and enjoyed less success directing the attack.
The other positive to take away from the game came from Allen, who definitely had his struggles in his first start, but did enough to convince Bills fans that he can be the franchise quarterback this team has sorely lacked since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired.
While Allen did make two drive-killing interceptions in the second half, he also engineered a nice, seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the second half, Buffalo’s first TD of the year.
He uncorked a beautiful, 57-yard deep ball to Zay Jones that set up Stephen Hauschka’s 40-yard field goal before halftime, part of a display of poise and pocket presence that should provide a silver lining to another disappointing loss.
Of equal importance is the leadership Allen displayed, and how well Buffalo’s veterans seemed to gain confidence from Allen’s presence. After Chris Ivory’s one-yard touchdown run, Allen went up to Kyle Williams and Lorenzo Alexander, giving them a pep talk and motivating his teammates to keep fighting and keep battling.
Conversely, our podcasting duo discussed Vontae Davis’ stunning decision to quit/retire at halftime, a selfish gesture from a veteran who was supposed to be a role model and mentor for members of Buffalo’s secondary.
Lastly, we handed out our commemorative Billy Buffalo bobblehead celebrating the end of the playoff drought to Canandaigua’s Ian Hurlburt. If you want to get your hands on this bobblehead, visit the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store.
Check out our Buffalo Rumblings podcast for our thoughts on Buffalo’s loss in its home opener.
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