The Buffalo Bills couldn’t ask for a better start to the season.
In their home opener, we saw the Buffalo Bills defeat the Miami Dolphins 29-10. Buffalo needed a fast start this season and moving to 2-0 is exactly what the team needed. Buffalo was impressive in all three phases of the game, and the crowd provided a real home field advantage.
Here are 10 thing I Billieve about Buffalo’s 29-10 win over the Miami Dolphins:
1. C.J. Spiller Shut Me Up
I was against C.J. Spiller returning kicks. I didn’t like the idea. No, I HATED the idea. Spiller? One of the biggest weapons on Buffalo’s offense returning kicks? Pass. I know the Bills are four deep at running back, but why risk injury?
I was wrong.
Spiller isn’t just one of the biggest weapons on Buffalo’s offense, he’s one of the biggest all-around weapons on the team. After Miami’s first drive of the second half cut Buffalo’s lead to 9-3, momentum seemed to be shifting a bit in Miami’s favor. Then the Dolphins kicked off to Spiller…
102 yards later and momentum was clearly in Buffalo’s favor. Keep Spiller on kick returns, he’s explosive and anything can happen when he has the ball in his hands.
2. We May Owe Danny Crossman an Apology
It looks like I may have been wrong about Danny Crossman… but so were the rest of you! If I’m going down, I’m taking you all with me, Bills Mafia.
Last year, I was ready to head to One Bills Drive with a pitchfork and torch. Besides Dan Carpenter’s kicking, Buffalo’s special teams play was atrocious. How could Crossman keep his job? Head Coach Doug Marrone stated they needed more talent on special teams. Sure Doug, that’ll improve special teams…
Two weeks into the season and I’m blown with Buffalo’s special teams play. Against Miami, players were flying down the field on punt and kick coverage. Boobie Dixon blocked a punt! The Bills hadn’t done that since Coy Wire blocked a punt back in 2006! Let’s not forget that C.J. Spiller returned a kickoff for a touchdown (as mentioned above), that Dan Carpenter was 5/6 on field goals and that 3 of Colton Schmidt’s 4 punts were inside the 20 yard line. Oh, and kickoffs by Jordan Gay were terrific too. Hooray for kickoff specialists! Oh, and Randell Johnson recovered a muffed punt.
There’s still plenty of football to be played, but Buffalo’s special teams is looking special. They’re helping the Bills win the field position battle and that goes a long way. Good job, Danny Crossman!
3. Sammy Watkins Can Be Scary Good
Sammy Watkins has a rib injury. You know that. Sammy Watkins wasn’t 100% today. You know that. Sammy Watkins had to leave today’s game a few times due to his rib injury… but you know that.
Yet, despite all of that, Watkins brought in eight receptions on 11 targets for 117 yards and a touchdown. Robert Woods and Mike Williams were each targeted two times apiece. Today was the Sammy Watkins Show and we were all spectators. Even at less than 100%, Watkins was able to find holes in Miami’s secondary and get open for big chunks of yards. He was clutch and scary good… and he wasn’t close to being completely healthy.
I’ve always been jealous of teams with a top-flight wide receiver. Now, the Bills have one of their own.
4. Buffalo’s Defensive Line is One of the Best in the NFL
If Steve Rosenbloom of The Chicago Tribune is reading this, the “fattest guy on the field,” Kyle Williams, picked up a sack today. Perhaps you’ll hear his name some more by the end of the season.
Mario Williams picked up his second sack of the season and Jerry Hughes also picked up his first sack. Backup defensive tackle, Stefan Charles, also chipped in with a sack. Marcell Dareus didn’t join the sack party, but he batted a few passes and made his presence known.
Buffalo’s defensive line and Jim Schwartz are a match made in heaven. Look for them to only get better with time.
5. Nigel Bradham Channeled His Inner-Kiko
Nigel Bradham flew around the field today like a man with his hair on fire. I call that channeling your “inner Kiko” and that’s exactly what Bradham did. He finished with seven total tackles and seemed to be around the ball a lot. He also came very close to notching his first sack of the season. Bradham is Buffalo’s most athletic LB by far, and he’ll play a crucial role on Buffalo’s defense all season.
6. Buffalo’s Run Defense Put a Wrench in Miami’s Game Plan
The Dolphins gashed New England’s run defense last week to defeat the favored Patriots. Many believed that’d be Miami’s game plan today as well. Unfortunately for Miami, the run game never took off.
Knowshon Moreno, the team’s top RB, was injured after just one carry. The Dolphins still had Lamar Miller and Damien Williams, but neither did much when they had the ball. Miller finished 11 for 46 and Williams was 5 for 19.
Stopping the run is key for Buffalo and today was a good performance for the Bills. Making teams one-dimensional will help the Bills win many games.
7. Corey Graham Was Buffalo’s Best Free Agent Signing…
For the second straight week, Corey Graham played outstanding football. He broke up a deep pass to Mike Wallace and contested a few other passes. He also came close to picking up his second interception of the season.
The Bills have had secondary issues for the last few years, so it’s a breath of fresh air to see how well they’ve played thus far. Graham has been the MVP of the secondary.
8. …But Brandon Spikes and Boobie Dixon Were Also Extremely Important Signings
Spikes’ stat line will show one assisted tackle. Dixon had a big punt block, but in the run game he had two rushes for three yards. So why am I mentioning them as being extremely important signings? Simple. The Bills look like a different team on the field and have a bit of swagger to them.
Spikes and Dixon came from winning teams. Spikes’ Patriots made the playoffs every year he was in their uniform. Anthony Dixon was previously with the 49ers. In the last three seasons, he’s been to the NFC Championship every year and the Super Bowl once.
These are players who don’t expect to lose and won’t tolerate it. That’s exactly what the Buffalo Bills needed.
9. The Buffalo Bills Offense Did Enough to Win
EJ Manuel was once again efficient. He went 16 of 26 for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also looked to stretch the field. Three players ended up with receptions of 20+ yards (Watkins, Jackson, Chandler). Watkins in fact had a few big gainers from Manuel. It was another step in the right direction.
The running back wasn’t extremely successful today, but they gained enough on the ground. When it mattered, Spiller was able to break off a big 47 yard run that set up Sammy Watkins’ first NFL touchdown.
They offense was able to move the ball enough to give Dan Carpenter six field goal attempts. And hey, they finished with 29 points. Only New England, Washington, San Diego, Green Bay and Houston scored more (leading up to tonight’s SNF game).
10. The Bills Need to Turn Field Goals Into Touchdowns
I just said the Bills did enough to win, and it’s true. However, today’s game should have been a slaughtering where everyone really took notice of the Bills. Instead, we saw six field goal attempts, with five being converted. Dan “Kick Rock” Carpenter is a personal favorite, but I want to see him kicking more extra points.
Offensively, this team can move the ball. Yet much like last year, they’re struggling to score touchdowns. That needs to change going forward. Next week they play a Chargers team that just defeated the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. Field goals won’t be enough next week.
I Billieve in this team and know they’re up to the challenge.
Bills Mafia, what do you “Billieve” based upon Buffalo’s victory over the Miami Dolphins? What are your thoughts on next week’s game against the San Diego Chargers? Share your “Bill-iefs” with us!