The Buffalo Bills kicked off the 2013 season falling to the Patriots 23-21. There was a boisterous sellout crowd on hand for this one. The Bills faithful were loud in support of their team. You could tell the players fed off their excitement while the Patriots players were frustrated by it or their lack of execution or maybe Pettine’s defensive scheme. Either way, The Brady Bunch seemed frustrated for the better part of the game.
EJ Manuel was poised in his debut. He did nothing to hurt the team and made a couple of big plays when needed. His cause was not helped by some key drops from some of his more experienced teammates. EJ was never rattled, never sacked and seemed in control of his every move.
The biggest surprise was the lack of a ground game for the Bills, particularly when CJ Spiller was in the backfield. Fred Jackson provided a spark every time he entered the game. As much as we all want to see CJ fed the rock, it was apparent to me that Freddy needed to be on the field. He is a natural leader and his will is second to none. Freddy is a true leader of men and needs to be in that offensive huddle as often as possible.
I would like to see this coaching staff do what the former staff refused to do and get both of these backs on the field at the same time. They are every bit as good in the receiving game as the teams’ WRs are and present a unique challenge to opposing defenses if they both need to be accounted for. Seems like a no brainer to me and I hope we see this look sooner rather than later.
The defense provided the most excitement as they were able to hold the Patriots to just 23 points. They even added a TD of their own as Searcy ran back a fumble recovery to paydirt. They did look suspect at times on third downs and in run defense but for the most part they exceeded my expectations.
Oh Carolina! The Panthers come to the Ralph in a battle of 0-1 teams.
Carolina’s front 7 looked solid in defeat holding Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks in check. The Bills will need to get creative to produce on the ground in this contest. That is exactly what we need to see. Is this coaching staff capable of game planning against an opponent to achieve results? We need to see some wrinkles and this staff needs to find a way to get CJ Spiller going. As Thurman Thomas pointed out, some I-Formation might be the key to opening holes for CJ and increasing his line of sight. “IMO they need to be in the I-formation or the Pistol. CJ needs to see the entire field. Can’t cut back when you’re going sideways,” tweeted Thurman.
The few veteran players on the offense need to do everything right to help ease the growing pains that a rookie QB is certain to go through. Penalties need to stop if this offense is going to be productive. The one glaring weak spot was the inability to get into a rhythm and penalties played a big part in that. You won’t beat many teams when you commit 13 penalties.
Pettine will need to continue his creativity on defense this week as Cam Newton will present a unique challenge. The Bills must keep him in the pocket and have their heads on a swivel in the event that he takes off running. I think the defense will have a huge week dialing up a variety of blitzes designed to keep Newton in the pocket.
I expect a much more consistent effort from the offense this week. There are some players looking to atone for their mistakes and that should bode well. The Bills will find a way to get CJ Spiller more involved and their commitment to him will be fruitful.
The Ralph is rocking once again and this time they are rewarded with a reason to celebrate and a victory.
Bills 27 – Panthers 17.