Coming off an 11-day layoff since their throttling of the LA Rams in the season opener, it was fair to wonder if the release of getting that first W — followed by a long stretch off — would lead to a bit of a hangover… Put those worries to bed Bills fans.
These are not your grandfather’s Buffalo Bills. After an impressive 31-10 showing against the defending Super Bowl champions, Buffalo put together an even more dominant showing in Week 2. A 41-7 shellacking of the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football put the rest of the NFL on notice, and allowed fans to start dreaming of those two special words… Super Bowl.
Make no mistake, this is a championship caliber club. They have not been simply surviving against middling teams. Through two weeks, they already have a +55 point differential in convincing victories over the reigning world champs, and last year’s #1 seed from the AFC.
Let’s dig into who came up with noteworthy performances in the effort, and who came up lacking. Although the latter may be hard to find.
Riser: Josh Allen
There simply is nowhere else to start other than with the Buffalo Bills’ superhero of a quarterback. He threw deep balls like guided missiles and lept unsuspecting defenders in a single bound. Allen put his stamp on this game early and often to the tune of 317 passing yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers.
While these are phenomenal numbers for 60 minutes of football, they become downright ludicrous when you realize that Allen relaxed on the sideline with five minutes left in the third quarter. The man is on a mission, and the rest of the league should be scared.
Faller: Tremaine Edmunds
For all the fantastic plays that Edmunds made Monday night, and there were plenty, the play that will be remembered is him needlessly trying to get in on a tackle that was already made; the hit that put teammate Dane Jackson in jeopardy. Luckily for Edmunds, and even more lucky for Jackson, this looked to be more of a whiplash injury than a compression injury. And, while compression injuries are usually worse than they look, whiplash injuries tend to look worse than they are. Jackson, who left the field in an ambulance, was released from the hospital on Tuesday, and seems to have avoided major damage.
Edmunds can’t be let off the hook entirely however. Just because Jackson looks to be ok, this is a team with championship aspirations. The path to playing in February is long, and injuries will mount as time passes. The Buffalo Bills can’t afford to lose players to friendly fire, and Edmunds needs to play smarter. It’s a shame that one ill-advised tackle took away from one of his most complete games since joining the Bills.
Riser: Bills Defensive Line
A week removed from sacking Matthew Stafford seven times, this group showed their versatility, limiting Derrick Henry to a pedestrian 25 yards on 13 carries. Playing without Ed Oliver and Tim Settle, Von Miller and company collapsed rising lanes and got lower than Henry all night long. With Allen and the offense forcing the Titans to play from behind early on, this turned into a performance Henry would like to forget.
Riser: Ken Dorsey
As someone who was worried about giving the keys to the offense to a first-time coordinator, allow me to accept my giant L. Yes, it’s only Week 2. Yes, Buffalo has an incredible amount of talent to work with. I don’t care. Back-to-back elite gameplans against above-average defenses has me thinking Dorsey may be one of the brightest offensive minds in the game.
If everyone gets to be a riser, it starts to lose its meaning. The hard part of that is, after games like this, some very deserving contributors go unrecognized. So let’s hear it for Stefon Diggs, Matt Milano, Jordan Poyer, our rookie corners Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford, and the turnover forcing machine Sam Martin.
We’ll see you all next week. Let’s squish the fish!
Featured Image: AP Photo/Adrian Kraus