The Bills opened up their 2015 season with a bang. After an offseason full of big moves and hype through the roof, the Bills were finally able to show the hype wasn’t just hype. Facing the AFC runner up, the Bills faced a team with Super Bowl expectations in the Colts. The Bills laughed at the media hype of the Colts and showed why the Colts are the most overrated team in the NFL.
Up and Down Offense
The Bills offense got a reboot after the dreadful play the prior two years. With Greg Roman as offensive coordinator, the Bills have an actual coordinator instead of someone pretending to be one like the last one. They got a brand new running back and TE and upgraded the guard position. To wrap it all together, they embraced the new age QB and went with Tyrod Taylor.
The run game continues to be a work in progress. The Bills struggled to run the ball and LeSean McCoy was getting hit a lot of times in the backfied and was having to make some really shifty moves to even get to the line. The right side of the line struggled mightily as John Miller seemed to have a tough adjustment to the NFL and Henderson looks like he still needs a lot of work. Backup running back Karlos “Los” Williams had the best run of the game and the left side of the line did a far better job than the right in run blocking. The run game still needs some work, especially in regards to opening up running lanes for the backs, but they have to happy with how well Los did.
Tyrod Taylor made his first start since getting blown out by Andrew Luck in the 2011 Orange Bowl. It was a very conservative gameplan for Taylor as he threw a lot of short passes, primarily to the flats. He made two pretty good throws, one an out route to Woods on 3rd down where he dropped it over the corner and a deep go route to Harvin where he dropped it over tight coverage for Harvin to run underneath. Also Tyrod made his one big run a game, getting a thirty yard gain when the pocket started to collapse. What I liked about Tyrod is he stayed in the pocket and when pressure was coming, for the most part he didn’t try to run, instead moving around the pocket to make the throw. For a first start, it was a pretty good one. He didn’t make any throws that could be picked off, and outside of a seam pass to Clay and the deep TD to Harvin, none of his completions traveled more than 10 yards through the air. It’s an encouraging start for Taylor and the hope is he can build off this to become a better QB.
In other news, Sammy Watkins had zero catches today. It wasn’t until the end of the 3rd when Watkins got targeted to meet the target quota. When watching the game a second with the All-22, I noticed he was open a few times, beating Vontae Davis, but Tyrod didn’t look his way. It might be Tyrod wasn’t comfortable throwing against Davis but in the future Watkins has to be involved in the offense as he is the best WR and far better than Percy Harvin.
Blitzing like it’s going out of style
Rex Ryan now runs the defense and that means lots and lots of blitzes. Going against Andrew Luck, Rex had his defense get constant pressure, forcing him to make quick throws. It was very successful as Luck struggled mightily in the first half, rushing his throws or making horrible decisions. The front four without Dareus had a great game and Nigel Bradham joined in on the fun. Even the run game didn’t do much as the Colts gave up on the run pretty quickly. The front four while didn’t get a lot of sacks, did clearly make Andrew Luck uncomfortable which is just as good.
The secondary was able to do its job and with the blitz happy scheme, were forced in man to man situations. Stephon Gilmore was primarily on Andre Johnson and for the most part shut him down. Ronald Darby was put on TY Hilton and for the most part contained him to primarily short catches. Darby also got an interception which has to be the most shocking thing in the world. The Bills also got their depth in the secondary stretched as starting Corey Graham was injured early and Darby and Rambo got nicked up. Mario Butler came in for Darby and did just as well, even tipping a bad throw by Luck into the hands of Aaron Williams for an interception. The defense played really well when it mattered and until the fourth quarter when Luck was getting garbage time stats, shut down one of the best offenses in the league.
Overall it was solid team win by the Bills. All three phases of the game were won by the Bills and against a team with a pretty good QB, did a really good job. The defense looks playoff ready along with the Special Teams which did a great job too. The offense isn’t serviceable yet, but it’s getting there and if the offensive line continues to improve, it has the potential to be average, which is all the Bills need.