The City of Buffalo loves their bleu cheese. Because of that, I’m beginning a series of articles where I’ll recap the Buffalo Bills’ games with two categories:
- Bleu Cheese (The good)
- Ranch (The not so good)
The Bills earned a 38-10 bounce-back win over the Las Vegas Raiders in their home opener on Sunday. Bills head coach Sean McDermott moved to 5-2 for his coaching career in home openers.
Let’s take a look at the good from Sunday — and there’s a lot of it.
Running Back Trio
The Bills’ backfield trio was dominant on Sunday. Lead by second-year running back James Cook, the Bills rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Cook ran the ball for 123 yards on 17 carries (7.2 YPC). His best run of the day came in the fourth quarter where he was able to break some tackles and use his speed to get to the third level.
Latavius Murray and Damien Harris were both able to find the end zone on Sunday. Murray and Harris bring a different play style to Buffalo’s backfield compared to a guy like Cook. Murray and Harris run more north to south, and aren’t afraid to put their shoulder down.
Look for this trio to continue dominating next week against a good Washington Commanders front four, which had seven sacks on Sunday against the Broncos.
QB Josh Allen
Josh Allen had one of his most efficient games in recent memory against the Raiders. Allen found nine different guys in the passing game. He was 31-of-37 for 274 yards and three touchdowns, and he completed 83.7% of his passes.
Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey was excellent in this one, drawing up plays to get the ball out of Allen’s hands quick. When the offense is efficient and playing turnover-free football, the Bills will be a hard offense to stop.
OT Spencer Brown
Spencer Brown had a big test going up against one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL, Maxx Crosby. Brown held his own. He allowed only two QB pressures and two hurries according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). Brown had a great run-blocking grade of 71.4 per PFF.
Dorsey did a great job of putting Brown in position to succeed by giving him help on the edge from Dawson Knox. Brown looks to keep his positive momentum going into Week 3 against the Commanders, where it won’t get any easier.
LB Matt Milano
There are people who might say that some of the players on Buffalo’s defense have lost a step, but that’s not Matt Milano. Milano was flying around the field on Sunday, doing what he does best. He had one of the highlights of the game when he “Mossed” running back Josh Jacobs for an interception. Milano now has two interceptions in two games, and was the best player on defense according to PFF with a 91.0 defensive grade.
Although the Bills’ defensive line didn’t record any sacks against the Raiders, they applied constant pressure on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and forced a couple of turnovers. Defensive end Greg Rousseau got his hands on a ball, and tipped it in the air as linebacker Terrel Bernard came away with the interception. Defensive end A.J. Epenesa also batted a ball down in the first half.
Defensive tackles Ed Oliver and Da’Quan Jones were elite in the middle of the defensive line. Josh Jacobs ran the ball nine times for -2 yards. This is the first time in NFL history that a reigning NFL rushing champion ran for negative yards in a game.
The defensive line was dominant.
After a quiet first game, wide receiver Gabe Davis got back on track with six catches for 92 yards and one touchdown. Davis has eight receptions on the year, and they are all either for a touchdown or first down.
Tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox didn’t disappoint. Knox hauled in a touchdown in the second quarter, while Kincaid made some key catches to move the chains. The two combined for eight reception, 53 yards, and one touchdown.
Let’s take a look at the bad from Sunday, which there isn’t a lot to note.
First defensive drive
The Raiders jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown from star wide receiver Davante Adams. It was a quick three-minute drive, but the Buffalo’s defense only allowed three points the rest of the game.
First offensive drive
The Bills went three-and-out on the first drive of the game. Two handoffs to Cook, and Allen getting out of bounds around the line of scrimmage resulted in only five yards on the first drive.
Turnover on downs
The Bills’ offense was almost perfect against the Raiders, but they did have a mishap. On a 4th & Goal in the red zone, Allen tried to squeeze a ball into Knox, but Knox couldn’t reel it in. Allen had other players open on the play, but didn’t go that way.
They were still efficient in the red zone, reaching it seven times and scoring a touchdown five times (71%).