By Ethan Kimmel
It was a strangely calm opening Sunday for the Buffalo Bills. While the New York Jets are not the cream of the crop in the NFL, they are a still a division rival who is always a tough matchup for the Bills. What made this Sunday feel out of the ordinary is that it didn’t have the occasional highs or devastating lows that a Bills game typically consists of.
In Sean McDermott’s coaching debut, the Bills were able to effectively executive their game plan, play to their strengths, and minimize their mistakes. This team looked more disciplined compared to those under Rex’s reign. The Bills played a smart game of football despite the six penalties. I felt more at ease watching the Bills than I have in the past knowing that McDermott is calling the shots. He doesn’t make irrational decisions, holds the team accountable, and is aggressive without being careless.
The most noticeable difference in this year’s team is the energy from the defense. They were the best unit on the field this past Sunday and credit that to the new regime. Once thought to be a position of need, the Bills safeties shined against the Jets’ underwhelming offense. Safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer each had interceptions in their Bills’ debut. In fact, Jordan Poyer was the highest graded player in the game per Pro Football Focus (90.7 overall grade). The run-defense was strong throughout, though I feel Marcell Dareus has the ability to disappear at times.
Much like their effort on defense, the Bills were just as efficient on offense. Despite an early redone interception, Tyrod Taylor was able to play to his strengths and not try to do too much. He spread the ball around and had good chemistry with Charles Clay throughout the day. The Bills we be as good as Tyrod can take them.
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison let the ground game set the tempo. LeSean McCoy was his typical-superstar self, totaling 159 yards. He looked every bit as explosive as Bills fans had thought. He is a Hall of Fame running back who is has the ability to make people miss in open space like no other running back in the league. The Bills powerful rushing attack was complimented by the likes of Tyrod Taylor and Mike Tolbert. Both have distinct running styles that add a much needed dimension to the Bills offense.
I have a funny feeling One Bills Drive is going to be pretty crowded on “Victory Monday.” There is a lot of film to be watched and adjustments to be made as the Bills look ahead to the Panthers. One win is great, but two wins is better. Go Bills