The Bills opened the 2018 NFL season losing 47-3 to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bills were horrible. In all three phases, pretty much the entire game.
In the NFL, no teams are ready for opening day. They haven’t installed enough, they haven’t practiced enough. Still, the games count, and the mantra in the NFL at this time of year is “find a way to win.” You won’t have your best game; some things will work for you, some won’t. Some things will work for your opponent, some won’t.
At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Not for the Bills on Sunday. Nothing worked.
If I’m not at the game, and if it isn’t on local TV, I watch the Bills at my local sports bar. I buy my wife lunch, we watch the Bills and other games. My wife likes football but isn’t a Bills fan, except through me. Nevertheless, I get a running commentary during the games.
Before the end of the first quarter against the Ravens, over a vegetable quesadilla, my wife was calling for a change at quarterback. She knows good quarterbacking when she sees it, and she wasn’t seeing it. It looked the same to me, over nachos.
Quarterback? One thing we learned in this debacle is that Josh Allen needs to start for the Bills. Not because he was lights out against the Ravens; he wasn’t. But if you’re going to have a QB on the field with limited experience, and the Bills are, a QB who just doesn’t get everything that’s going on on the field yet, and neither Peterman nor Allen does, then you may as well play the guy who can make plays. Allen throws better, Allen has better pocket presence, Allen runs better. The Bills have two incomplete quarterbacks; they need to play the guy who can win games despite his inexperience.
The Bills game was on a screen beside the Patriots game. My wife complained. “It isn’t fair to put them side by side. The Patriots do everything right; the Bills do nothing right.” By the time she made the comment I was well into my second beer, but I was still smart enough not to argue with her.
One thing I noticed on side-by-side screens: Kelvin Benjamin is not Gronk. As a rookie, Benjamin had good hands. He seemed to catch everything around him. Either my memory is faulty or Benjamin forgot something. He’s gotta catch balls with his hands, and he doesn’t, not enough. At least not against the Ravens.
Oh, and Robert Foster was as billed – stone hands.
Brian Daboll’s debut as offensive coordinator was, well, maybe it’s best not to search for an adjective. Daboll’s job is to send his team onto the field with something that will work. Nothing worked. Running backs had no holes. Quarterbacks had time to throw, sometime, but rarely could find open receivers. Yellow flags flew.
If you don’t have overwhelming talent, and the Bills certainly don’t, then you have to win with scheme. There was no scheme visible.
The offense was unprepared. Nothing worked.
Nothing worked for the defense, either. The Ravens don’t have the best receiver corps in the league, not by a long shot. But those guys were open, wide open, all afternoon. The Bills looked confused, all afternoon. Joe Flacco had no trouble.
Tremaine Edmunds? Long way to go against the run. He should get some kind of award for standing beside the pile, after the tackle, more than any player in the league. For heaven’s sake, can’t the guy HIT someone? He can run with receivers, but he can’t be a middle linebacker in the NFL if he isn’t going to stick someone once in a while. He needs to watch Milano fly to the ball and stick his shoulder into guys. Milano was one of the few bright spots for the Bills.
“It looks like the Bills aren’t trying,” my wife said. “It looks like they aren’t running fast,” That hurt. McDermott’s team is supposed to heart, and it there wasn’t much heart on display against the Ravens. Get mad, please, and hit someone!
My wife has a theory: McDermott started Peterman so that when he switches to Allen, whatever Allen does, no one will want Peterman back. All part of the process?
It starts with Allen on the field.
We’ve seen this before. Last season we saw a team that was just as bad, for three weeks. That team figured it out and played some good football down the stretch. They need to figure it out again this year.
Everything needs to be fixed. Does McDermott have a process for that?
The Rockpile Review is written to share the passion we have for the Buffalo Bills. That passion was born in the Rockpile; its parents were everyday people of western New York who translated their dedication to a full day’s hard work and simple pleasures into love for a pro football team.
Editor’s babble: I was relieved to see Mark’s article on board this morning because I’m still trying to “process” what happened on Sunday. It’s never ideal to start the season with a crisis, but here we are. I’ll be letting the inevitable gnarly mood on social media fester and for the masses to let the gas out of their bags before responding to the hostility of the moment. Life goes on, and the Bills will as well. Thanks to Mark Korber for his contributions to our blog and helping us keep some perspective about the Bills season opening disaster. Mark is wise enough to avoid social media, so you’ll only find him here from time to time sharing his wisdom. Thanks, Mark!
Disclaimer: All views written by authors are their own and not necessarily shared by the owners of the billsmafia.com website.