The Buffalo Bills are riding high after a dominating 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night to open the NFL season. Everyone is on the Bills hype train this year, from fans to analysts to the Vegas oddsmakers. Thursday’s game was further proof why. And the scary part is, the Bills weren’t even on their “A-game”. If they can turn the ball over four times and still put up 31 points and win in convincing fashion… imagine what this team will look like once they’re clicking on all cylinders.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott knows there’s a lot of season left and that they have to keep putting in the work if they want to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this year.
“It’s just about winning one game. We came together in the second half, played good complimentary football, starting with the opening kickoff of the second half, and there’s still some things we have to work on in terms of taking care of the football.”Sean McDermott on what it’s all about
The main reason why the football world is so high on the Bills is because of the one, and only, Josh Allen. The man continues to make jaws drop, heads turn, and defenders look silly whenever he’s on the football field.
Nick Scott was Allen’s latest victim, as the Rams safety got stiff-armed out of SoFi Stadium by Allen. He now joins Anthony Barr, Kyle Van Noy, L’Jarius Sneed, and De’Vante Bausby (the Patriots cornerback who had his ankles broken in the playoff game last year) as defenders who Allen has made look silly.
Or how about when he out-muscled future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner? Allen’s feet were both in the air at the point of contact, but the guy who was third in the league with 170 tackles last year was somehow unable to keep him out of the end zone. (Don’t mind the Spanish tweet lol.)
Or of course, there was the 53-yard on-the-run TD pass to Stefon Diggs, who was “covered” by Jalen Ramsey, the guy who called Allen trash in 2018, to give the Bills their fourth and final touchdown of the night. (Ramsey allowed six receptions for 124 yards and two TDs for a perfect passer rating of 158.3.)
What The Players Said About JA17
We all know what the analysts and oddsmakers think of the MVP favorite this year. But what are the players saying about Allen?
“He’s a creature,” Von Miller said with a huge smile on his face as Allen came walking up to join him at the podium following the game.
“I’m glad he’s on our team,” Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde each said as they wrapped up their joint press conference.
Stefon Diggs also pumped up his QB.
“He’s got the dawg, that’s a quarterback with that dawg. You see it. He exudes it. And that maturation process, as far as making good decisions and keeping us in the game, it’s something you can appreciate. And as a receiver, it makes you want to play harder for (him).”Diggs on Josh Allen
He definitely played hard Thursday night, as the 28-year old caught eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Buffalo Bills Offensive Attack
It was another game where the Bills did not have to punt, as they totaled 413 yards on offense and converted nine out of 10 third downs.
“As a receiver and as a leader on this team, I feel like my job is to get it started, get the quarterback comfortable, opening it up for the other guys.”Stefon Diggs on being WR1
One of those guys who reaped the rewards of Diggs drawing so much attention from the defense was Gabe Davis. The third-year wideout caught the first touchdown of the 2022 NFL season on a play-action rollout on 3rd and 1 from the Rams 26-yard line.
“That’s a play we really like in that situation and Dorse saw it, made the right call at the right time and we were able to execute it.”Davis on the first touchdown play call
On Ken Dorsey’s Playcalling
Thursday was Ken Dorsey’s first regular season game as Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator, but judging by the flow and balance that Buffalo had on offense, you would’ve never known.
“I thought Coach Dorsey called a heck of a game,” Allen said after throwing the ball 31 times, handing it off 16 times, and running 10 more himself.
On Josh Allen’s Competitiveness
Dorsey didn’t tell Allen to stiff arm Nick Scott; that was just Josh being Josh, adding that extra bit of spice to the Bills’ already hot offense.
“Just doing what I can do to try and get a first down… I play hard. I want to win games no matter how I can do it… it’s just all in the heat of the moment and I think guys appreciate that.”Josh Allen on the stiff arm play
Davis was one of those guys who appreciated it, as he finished with 88 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.
“Josh is a true competitor and to see your quarterback running like a running back, it gives everyone juice.”Davis on Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills Defensive Showing
And of course, not to be out-done, the Bills defense was one of the key reasons why they won so convincingly. Buffalo had seven sacks without ever blitzing… They just rushed four all night.
“You got to be able to get there with four and we were able to do that tonight.”McDermott on the Bills Pass Rush vs. the Rams
On Von Miller
Miller led the way with two sacks, two QB hits, and three TFLs… He played just 52% of the defensive snaps.
“He breathes confidence for the rest of the team and, when you’re doing that, there’s no pressure on anybody.”Micah Hyde on Von Miller’s impact on the team
Diggs has noticed it from the other side of the ball as well.
“He came in and has been everything we’ve wanted him to be. And he’s a hell of a leader.”Stefon Diggs on Von Miller
McDermott said he felt the presence of Miller and the defensive line Thursday night, something we haven’t heard him say in quite some time.
“I felt the D-line, you could feel them make an impact (and) factor in the game. When you can do that, it helps you in the back end as well.”Sean McDermott on the Bills DL’s impact
On the Rookie CBs
Speaking of that back end, the Buffalo Bills started sixth-round rookie Christian Benford at CB2 over first-round pick, Kaiir Elam. However, both rookies saw action, as Benford got 39 snaps and Elam had 30.
“It’s just body of work to this point, we’re very confident in both players. We’ll just see how it goes, see how they graded out on the film. We have confidence in both players and I think both players will continue to work at it.”McDermott on Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford
Poyer and Hyde are excited to play with both of them.
“I thought they had a hell of a game, for their first game to come in there and not even blink … It’s fun to play with those guys. (They have) a lot more talent than I did as a rookie, so it’s really cool to see them continue to grow.”Jordan Poyer on playing with the Rookie CBs
What’s To Come
And that’s the scary thing – Buffalo doesn’t even have All-Pro CB Tre White on their active roster right now. So, if you thought that the Bills looked like a force to be reckoned with Thursday night, imagine what they will look like once their number one corner returns to the lineup and once they don’t turn the ball over four times.
In the meantime, the football world can continue to watch Josh Allen make highlight reel plays and prove why he is that dude. They can also watch his former critics eat their words, which was what Diggs was alluding to the other night.
“Before I got here, all the things they said about him… I don’t think they were true.”Stefon Diggs on Josh Allen
*All quotes come from the postgame press conference (via the Buffalo Bills YouTube channel).
Feature Image: Associated Press