The Buffalo Bills weren’t perfect Thursday night. This is what should scare the rest of the NFL.
Things won’t go well for any other team that plays the Los Angeles Rams this season, turning it over four times and not getting an explosive game for three quarters. Any other team that does this will likely lose. The Bills won by 21.
The Bills spent the entire offseason hearing that they were Super Bowl favorites, and they looked as good as advertised Thursday night in an impressive 31-10 victory. Josh Allen had surgery. He was 26-of-31 for 297 yards. The offensive line canceled out Aaron Donald for the most part. The defense almost never broke down but still put a lot of pressure on Matthew Stafford putting up four. The Bills sacked him seven times. The Rams had less than 150 yards of offense in the fourth quarter. The Bills outshot the Rams 413-243.
On a night when the Rams unfurled a championship banner, the Bills looked exactly like a Super Bowl team should. If it weren’t for a few turnovers, it would have been an even bigger demolition. Of the reigning champions. In Los Angeles.
Watch out, NFL. The Bills could be special this season.
The accounts have dominant performance
The Bills looked like the dominant team from the early snaps of the game. They just couldn’t stay in their ways.
Buffalo turned it over three times in the first half. Isaiah McKenzie should have hauled in a pass, but he let linebacker Terrell Lewis wrestle it away from him for an interception. Rookie running back James Cook made his first NFL carry. And Rams cornerback Troy Hill made a great play on a pass over the middle for another interception.
That helped keep the Rams in the game. Cooper Kupp’s beautiful touchdown in the back of the end zone and a 57-yard field goal by Matt Gay late in the half allowed Los Angeles to go into halftime tied at 10-10. The Rams should feel lucky. The Bills were the far superior team, but they didn’t pull away in the first half.
It was reasonable that last season’s champions would adjust in the second half and their band of stars would look much better. Then to start the third quarter the Rams went three and out and the Bills took it right down and scored a touchdown. It was clear that the first half would not be much different from the first and the barrier would eventually be broken. Did he ever.
The Rams couldn’t keep up with the Bills
The Rams had a defensive plan and executed it as well as they could. It’s just going to be hard to take away everything the bills do well.
The Rams played a lot of soft zone, taking the deep play away from Allen. That was fine with Allen, who continued to take whatever the Rams gave him. He completed 23 of his first 26 passes. He didn’t hit anything deep down, didn’t even try at three-quarters. It was the sign of a mature general who was not going to get impatient and push. He just kept picking up his first downs. Allen forced the Rams to get impatient and that’s when the Bills took over.
An opportunity finally presented itself to start the fourth quarter when the Rams punted and there was no deep help. Gabriel Davis hauled in a 47-yard catch on a post pattern. Allen finished the drive by taking off and running – he did it often and was punishing terribly – and reaching the ball over the goal line as he was hit by linebacker Bobby Wagner. That made the score 24-10. It seemed like it should have been a lot worse for the Rams.
Stafford threw an interception after that, Stefon Diggs ran from Jalen Ramsey in zone coverage and Allen darted to him for a 53-yard touchdown. The route was underway.
The result probably doesn’t say much for the Rams this season. They have been reloaded and will be very good. Thursday night’s result was much more about the Bills. They were touted as Super Bowl favorites all season. They looked the part at the start of the season.