This is arguably the greatest week to be a Bills fan, ever – at the very least in my lifetime.The pending sale of the Bills to Terry and Kim Pegula for an NFL-record $1.4 billion was announced, meaning the Bills will be in Buffalo for years to come. Ralph Wilson’s name was enshrined in golden letters atop the Bills Wall of Fame in the stadium that bears his name and in front of a sold out crowd as the Bills improved to 2-0 for just the sixth time since 2000.
In the Buffalo Bills’ win over the Dolphins, the team’s play perfectly encapsulated the excitement surrounding the city and organization, especially considering the Bills never trailed the Dolphins at any point during the game. It kept the Ralph rockin’ from start to finish. In grading the team though, I’ve tried to filter out my personal excitement to be as accurate as possible in my analysis. As I did last week, I’m going to start with the play of the offense.
EJ Manuel wasn’t breathtaking in this game, but he didn’t have to be. Why? Because Sammy Watkins was. Manuel went 8/11 when targeting Watkins, gaining 117 of his 202 passing yards and his lone TD – the first of what is hopefully many in Watkins’ NFL career. Some will label Manuel’s performance as a “game manager,” but how that term is used negatively is something I’ll never understand. Manuel made plays, got the ball into the hands of our best offensive weapon, didn’t have any turnovers, and we won. I’ll take that every week. Additionally, the run game looked better than expected. C.J. Spiller had an explosive run for 47 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry on the day. In total, the team got 113 yards on the ground to keep a decent balance with the passing game.
All that being said, there is still room for this unit to improve. They must continue to grow and do more to score points. Scoring 29 points is okay, but when 15 of them come from the leg of Dan Carpenter on drives that stalled in or on the fringe of the red zone, you can see why I’m concerned. A FG/TD scoring ratio like the one the Bills posted isn’t going to cut it most weeks. That’s why the Bills offense grades out at a B+ for week two.
The defense was lights out in the game. I’m grading them at an A. The defensive line played great and sacked Ryan Tannehill four times for a loss of 31 yards. They were constantly getting pressure and causing hurried throws, which made the man coverage by the Bills secondary even harder to beat. The secondary was continually in the right position to deflect passes and make catches difficult. Even the Mike Wallace TD came on a play where Wallace had to make a great catch. Also, let’s not forget that Leodis McKelvin registered an INT. Against the run, the Bills were even better. They held Miami to 80 yards rushing. Some of the success can be attributed to the Dolphins missing Knowshon Moreno for most of the game, but still, anytime you keep an NFL team under 100 yards rushing you’ve done something right.
Samuelson Slant Grade: A
*While the grade should have come out to A-, Spiller’s 102 yard kickoff return TD bumps them up a notch. Plus, they remain in first place in the division and won in front of a sellout home crowd. I did pretty well at keeping the excitement from biasing my grades for the Buffalo Bills win over the Dolphins until now.
Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts on the Samuelson Slant grade for the Bills week two squishing of the fish?